7 Meter Swell.......Hatch Firmly SHUT!

Evening all.

Well what a day I have had...  Last night before I went to bed I was sailing on a course of 040 T or NE in a SW wind of 20-25 knots.  I had 2 reefs in the main sail and the no 2 Jib out, partially furled.  As I am already quite high on the race track I needed to be very careful not to over sleep and sail past the boarder. 

After a few short hours sleep I got up and gybed the boat away from 'The Border' at 45.09 South to a course of 100 True.  I was 9 nm from the edge at the time so close enough.  The reason for the climb north again was to try to get into a better position for a frontal system (a small low pressure system) to pass that was forecast to arrive at 10am and was to bring 40 knots of wind.  Playing it safe I also put in the third reef in the main at the same time as the Gybe.  I was thankful to have done so, because within 10 minutesI was sailing in 30 knots.

The swell has also been gradually increasing all day and I am now sailing in waves up to 7 meters.  I have decided to play it safe with my bed and have kept the water tight main companionway hatch closed all day.  This increases the condensation in the cabin but is a lot less moisture than a big wave flooding my bed again……. especially if I was still in it...

I went back to bed after my morning gybe so when I finally woke around lunch there were not that many hours left in the day. Given that the outside conditions of windswept spray and rain were not that inviting I thought that I would use today to catch up on some computer work.  I also had the pleasure of doing a live interview with Annie Gaffney of the ABC Radio Sunshine Coast.

With my tasks for the day completed and the sun setting I was thinking about going on deck to do a final check before I lost the last of the daylight.  As I was sitting there contemplating this and thinking to myself that I would rather not as it was quite wet outside I was knocked down by another bossy wave.  Not too badly and not close to 90 degrees but I was knocked over enough to put the boom in the water again and snap the preventer line.I guess the boat was trying to tellme to get on deck and took the decision away from me...

Geared up in my Zhik Isotak Ocean foul weather gear I braved the wind and cold on deck.  I needed to once again go to the bow to retrieve the front end of the preventer line but given the swell size I wanted to take my time doing so.  I watched the swell for a while and tried to pick a gap between the larger sets and off I set.

 I managed to get to the bow and back with little issue and loosely tied the forward end of the preventer line off near the cockpit.  I now needed to retrieve the end attached at the end of the boom.  To do this I needed to winch the boom in close enough that I could reach out and grab it.  As I was doing this I was again shoved by a bossy wave and my loosely tied off preventer line came loose…… bugger was what I thought.

Just before it went in the water and would require me to make the climb to the bow again, the bowline knot on the end caught on the safety rail. With a quick leap, I managed to grab it just before it was pulled over again... Wheww!  I retrieved the boom end with little hassle and re-set the preventer and main sail again.

That done I took a moment to just watch the water from the back of the boat.  Most of the waves were 4-5 meters but every now and again I was climbing over a wave the size of a house.  I don’t know why but I still enjoy watching these incredibly large waves.  I have always found the seascape in its roughest form to be so beautiful to look at.
Not many others would agree with me I am sure but there is something about it that captures my heart every time.  I stayed hanging on the back stay until darkness fell and I could no longer see the waves…….. with frozen fingers, I made my way back inside the boat.