Heading East Again...........Yahoo!!!


Evening All,

Well after such a long day yesterday the night was quite uneventful.  The winds maintained 25 knots gusting 30 knots from the S to the SSE but by 7.30 in the morning the winds were getting up around the 35 knots range so I put the third reef in the main sail.  The boat was still handling the conditions well but I didn’t want to put more pressure on the sails, The Storm Jib has been working a charm even though I have been sailing upwind all night.

The swell through the night has continued to build to around 4 meters with isn’t much however they are short sharp waves with a really nasty cross swell. The boat has had a couple of waves hit just right to dump a huge amount of water over the boat.  I wasn’t taking any chances with another wet bunk so I have been keeping the main companionway hatch firmly closed.

At lunch time the barometer had begun to rise and the clouds had shifted from the dark and nasty looking storm clouds to the nice inviting white fluffy Cumulus clouds indicating that I was exiting the storm.  I had been sailing mostly on a course of 200 through the night so SSW with the storm moving over me to the east so as soon as it pushed me out the back I tacked the boat over and am now sailing east again……………Yahoo!

The winds maintained between 30-35 knots for most of the day from the SE occasionally dropping below 25 knots in the lulls but by sunset the winds were only occasionally touching 30 knots so I felt that it was okay to shake a reef out of the main sail.  I got on deck only to realize that the weather has gotten so cold that I should take a minute to get some gloves on…….  I didn’t.  I was thinking to myself that I will be quick but the whole time I was on deck my hands were on fire from the cold burn.

When I first sailed the boat over to Albany from Sydney I found there were some rather large chafe issues found due to how I use my reefing lines.  I didn’t want to have to go forward to the mast for every reef as I felt in rough conditions this was an additional risk that wasn’t needed.  I had set up the reefing lines so that I have one line to pull down the front of the sail and another to pull down the back of the sail and both lines can be controlled from the cockpit.  With the chafe issue, I still use the clutches in the boom that are designed to hold the outboard end of the reefing line.  What I do is complete the whole reef from the cockpit and then when it’s safe I walk forward and shut the clutch on the boom, back in the cockpit I transfer the load on to the recently closed boom clutch. I have found that I have had little chafe issues until now.

So this afternoon after I shook out the reef I went forward to close the clutch only to notice that I have stripped the cover off the no 2 reefing line...  The cover is what gives the line its 'grip' so to speak to hold in the clutch.  Without the cover it would continue to slip on the clutch.  One option for me was to keep the reefing line on the winch in the cockpit however I was worried that the exposed core of the line would chafe even quicker and I might snap a reefing line in the boom. This would cause a whole world of trouble and I wasn’t prepared to take the chance. So, I went with option no 2.  I put the third reef back in... It is such a bummer. I am now going much slower than I need to and I have been sailing backwards for a day so. I was keen to make some time up but it was already dark when I noticed the issue. I will wait until tomorrow to replace the line.
 I think I may replace them all as the other two lines are also showing signs of chaffing from this last month and a bit of use.  I am actually surprised that I haven’t had more issues with them so far. It was very lucky to have noticed the problem before I snapped the line.

Another issue that has identified itself today is the generator is once again not turning on.  It is showing all the same signs as last time indicating that it is a solenoid issue. I will take a closer look tomorrow after I fix the reefing lines and hope for now that it is an easy fix.

Also today is officially the end of my 5th week at sea so another milestone of the trip with the next one being Point Nemo in a few days.  Point Nemo is the point in the ocean that is the furthest from land in the world and I get to sail past it this week.  I will be more than 2000 nm from land on either side and right in the middle of the south Pacific Ocean.......