Last night the winds thankfully managed to stay above 8 knots even in the lulls, allowing me to at least get some shut eye. As you remember me saying yesterday I was sailing though a cold front and on the back side, the winds went from 30 knots to 10 knots in the space of 30 minutes. The 10 knots did manage to last most of the night. Occasionally the winds dropped right off to 5 knots or less but I was lucky that these times were few and short in duration, allowing me to get a relatively good night sleep last night. It was also the first night that I have made it to bed before midnight in a while, giving me a good rest.
In the morning the winds started to build a bit and the day settled into a routine of 10knots of wind, rain squall and 20 knots of wind and then sheeting rain followed by the 10 knots of wind again. For most of the day I kept the 1st reef in the main and the No 2 jib up with a tuck in it however in one particular squall at sunset I saw 27 knots in the gusts making me err on the side of caution. I put the second reef in the main sail. This has impacted my speed dramatically with my close reach sail angle which is frustrating. The winds have been veering all day from the NE to the ENE to the E and will eventually make it’s way around to the south, so in order to make any ground in the right direction I need to be sailing close hauled and follow the wind around.
I was also sailing on a port tack for most of the day heading on a southerly angle and only put a tack in once I saw the winds settle on 100 degrees wind angle. I watched the winds for more than 30 minutes and figured that they were settled on the ESE direction enough to put that tack in however almost as soon as I tacked the winds backed to 070 degrees again causing me to be sailing almost North and mot be making much ground in the right direction. My consolation prize is the fact that the shift is on its way so by having the reef in now just before bed I can simply adjust my course and follow the winds around.
Meanwhile today I managed to wire up an extension to the frequently breaking electrical wire on the generator solenoid so hopefully this should help prevent it from breaking again. It is such a thin wire and pulled at right angles where it attaches, on top of that it looked like the generator cover was vibrating on it and with little time would snap it, once fixed the generator has been purring like a dream.
Also in the lightish winds I did my normal boat checks. I am soon to be sailing in to a part of the ocean that has claimed so many lives over the years that I want to make sure that the boat is in its best possible condition. I have gone over the rigging, sails, steering and just generally looked for anything out of place, I didn’t find anything so that is a good sign.
The only other thing that I have noticed is that one of the bilge pumps in the steering compartment has died, I have a spare and will replace it however I am not looking forward to that particular job. The space is cramped and hard to move around it without getting in harm’s way on the steering system. It is not an urgent job as there is a manual bilge pump pick up and also another electrical pump in that compartment but I will get to it over the next few days, weather permitting.
Speaking of manual bilge pumps, I have a manual pump in line with the main electrical bilge pump on a manifold system (valve system to select what compartment to pick up from). This is a backup system, however I have found that it speeds up the bilge pumping process if I use it at the same time as the main electrical pump.
My rudder has leaked from the get go and has been a constant annoyance to me, hence why I have so many electrical bilge pumps in that compartment. To help keep the water ingress down I have gotten in the habit of using the main bilge system twice a day to drain that compartment, the water is often trapped from the shape of the boat in a place that the submersible bile pumps can’t reach however I can get to it via this main bilge system.
Anyway last night I was pumping away and using the manual bilge pump at the same time and found out exactly how strong I am... I was just pumping away when the housing for the pump handle snapped in two and I even managed to bend the 3mm aluminum tube that is the pump handle.... It was an easy fix and is all sorted and operational again but I will need to take a bit more care in the future.
So now I am sailing on a starboard tack with a sky full of stars. The winds are 20 knots and I am sailing with 2 reefs in the main and the no 2 jib with 1 tuck in it, the winds are coming from 080 degrees so I am managing a course of 030 True. Not ideal however I will just need to wait until the shift has completed and then hopefully I will be able to make better speeds than 6 knots... For now it is 2am here locally so I am to retire and try for some shut eye.
Oh I almost forgot to mention when I said it was cold before that was a light chill to what I have now. My breath frosts even when sitting inside the cabin with all the hatch's shut. I can only imagine how much colder it will get over the next 2 weeks. Burr.