Trying to Out Run the Storm at the Horn

Evening All.

This morning in the first tinge of blue showed in the pre-dawn hours I found myself going very slowly in 5-7 knots of wind again so I spent some time on deck looking at the sails and wishing for wind.  Once I had managed to eeak out a low 5 knots of speed I returned to my bed.  I had the first reef still in the main as it had been dark but I did have the whole of the No 1 head sail out adding to the boats speed.  Most of the night I was sailing 130 True for a course however I needed to come up with the lighter winds to get some speed so I began sailing on a course of 100 True.  By mid-morning the winds were still light but I was at least seeing between 8-10 knots and began to make a steady progress of 7 knots in the right direction.

After breakfast I went again on deck and finally decided that the conditions were light enough to risk putting the full main sail up.  I haven’t yet had the whole of the main sail up this entire time. Last time I was about to hoist it the batten was loose and I needed to repair it.  I have been holding off this time because there is a small hole in the main sail in the bottom section and I wasn’t willing to risk it tearing.  Given that the ocean looked like a pond I figured that it would be okay to hoist the whole sail today. Further encouraging the decision is the forecast for Cape Horn and the fact that I am trying to sail as fast as I can over the next few days to try and beat a storm there.

Given that I have had a storm on my mind I once again went over the boat looking for anything that needed work.  Yesterday I managed to change out the Silentwind wind generator blades that were broken in the last storm but the unit wasn’t functioning as it should. The blades weren’t freely spinning, so I decided to take a look.  It ended up being that there was a little gunk on the shaft catching as the blades spun and it should now be working perfectly.  In the sunshine, I also took the opportunity to glue the missing board back on to the central hatch.  You'll remember in the last bit of wind that the protective cover of the hatch was torn off.. I have re-sika flexed it down.

 After completing these jobs I settled down to a huge meal.  When I know that there is bad weather due I tend to ensure that I eat heaps in the lead up to it as I often don’t feel hungry when I am stressed trying to see how the boat is handling it.  I get asked a lot if I get scared.  It’s not something that a lot of people would admit to but I don’t think that you could be in my shoes sailing around the most infamous cape in the world right at the same time as the largest storm of the voyage hits you and not have a bit of fear in your heart.  It doesn't stop me from enjoying the experience but I definitely think about everything. I go over my mental list of storm survival.  Once I can see that I am in the peak of the storm and the boat is coping okay then most of the tension and nervousness recedes, but my habit of not biting my nails normally doesn't survive.

Trying to out run the storm. The red dotted line represents Lisa's anticipated position in 48hours. The image is of the weather as it is currently predicted winds in 48hours. The blue on the pink represents 50-60knot steady winds with gusts much higher.

Trying to out run the storm. The red dotted line represents Lisa's anticipated position in 48hours. The image is of the weather as it is currently predicted winds in 48hours. The blue on the pink represents 50-60knot steady winds with gusts much higher.


The current forecast for cape horn is that I should be sailing past the Horn around midnight on Sunday night my time. That is roughly 5-6 pm Monday afternoon on the east coast of Aus.  In Bobs (METBob) email about the weather today he said that this will be the biggest storm of the trip so far...  Conditions are expected to be between 50-70 knots of wind and the barometer is likely to fall to 975 mb.

Aren't I just so lucky that I get to experience this in one of the most isolated…. and cold…. and rough…. place in the world.  I will get the drogue out very early, lash the main sail to the boom and sail under storm Jib alone. 

Tomorrow the winds are expected to increase with a cold front from the NW with gusts up to 37 knots, back to the West after the cold front and then veer back to the North ahead of my storm. So I will likely have a busy day tomorrow as well..  Anyway, I need to ensure that I get as much rest as possible since I won’t be sleeping for a few days so off to bed for me. 

From Mum
I think Lisa's family is getting a little stressed.  I thought I was ok and handling everything fine and then at lunch (I had to work today) I thought I would just have a quick look at some of the comments on yesterdays blog. I read a comment put their by JC. JC said nice things about Lisa and what she was doing and then finished of with P.S. Hey Mum, she will be fine!

Well, just out of nowhere, the tears just started pouring down my face. I could not believe it. I did not even know I felt this way. I was just having lunch and catching up with the Lisa news. That comment just unleashed a moment.

I also had a big chat tonight with Lisa (who thought my storywas hilarious)  and she said that she had just got of the phone with Shelley (her sister) and she said she spent the whole call trying to stop her crying as well. 

Lisa, however, sounded fine. She phoned us tonight, as she figured she is going to be a bit busy over the next few days. She sounds totally under control, excited and ready for what ever the world is going to throw at her.  I really am confident that she will be fine, and she has the skills and the boat is perfect, but obviously my inner brain doesn't quite believe me.

A very exciting (and stressful) few days ahead.l