Yesterday afternoon after I just finishing my blog I was slammed out of nowhere with 40 knots of wind. I'd spent the day "umming" and "arring" about shaking out to reef 2 and an hour after the fact I have 40 knots.... Ahh. I put the third reef back in and 10 minutes later I was rewarded with 15 knots of wind and back to my 5 knots of boat speed.
This is such a juggling act because every time I am caught out like yesterday afternoon it is all quite a lot of extra wear on the sails and ropes. I still have 14,000 nm left to sail but at the same rate I don’t want to be sailing 5 knots the whole way around...
Once the winds dropped off I decided that for the night at least I would leave the reef in and sail slowly in the lighter winds in case there was another blow on its way. Turns out I had a very uneventful night and could have easily shaken the reef back out to reef 2, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Come sunrise I had not had much sleep sticking to my usual pattern of not falling asleep until after midnight so after a quick check and course correction it was back to bed for me. I was still sailing around 6 knots of boat speed in a SW 15 knots so I felt that it was acceptable speeds for the time being.
As the day got underway my whole focus has once again been on the debate. To shake a reef or not too??? Every time I finally made the decision to shake a reef as the winds have been 15 knots or less I would get on deck and be greeted with 25 knots and the boat would once again be maintaining an acceptable speed... It is a slightly maddening situation and one that is hard to ignore. I sit in the boat and watch the B&G instruments tell me I am going between 4-6 knots in a racing yacht that should be going 10 knots ……but again with the squally clouds all around I am still plagued with the question of do I or don’t I...
The boat can easily sail with the 2nd reef in at 30 knots should it be needed. With such a long way to travel the wear on the equipment is the focus. Finally, after hours of indecision and seeing nothing over 22 knots all day I decided to shake a reef out... Yes, ……I grew a pair...
So now I am happily sailing in 15 knots making much better speeds and averaging 7 knots which is my goal speed and feeling much happier that I have taken some action for the positive. I am also only 10 nm off the edge of the continental shelf below New Zealand where the depth is about to go from 4500m to 172m so I can expect the sea state to get a lot messier and much much bigger. Currently I have about 3m swell.
Aside from that I have moved the clocks forward again another hour so I am now matching New Zealand Standard Time which is UTC +12h and have less than 100 nm to sail before I cross the next great cape. The South West Cape off New Zealand. This will be the second cape of the trip with only 4 more to go. The next bit of land following this will be Cape Horne off Chile and Argentina more than a 20-day sail away. It is nothing but blue water to come and I still haven't seen any shipping on radar, AIS or by my eyes.