When 30knots Feels Like a Calm Day on the Harbour.

Evening All,

Last night Istayed for the night in the hove too position.  I had hoved too at sunset in preparations for increasing winds and seas.  The forecast was for the winds to reach 50 knots and for the swell to be reaching 10 meters I ended up being hove too in winds of 35 knots and waves of approx. 6 meters. So even though it wasn’t as big a storm as expected I still was in enough conditions that i would have struggled to get a decent night sleep without being Hove too.  I utilised the time well and got some much-needed sleep. The rigors of the past week had caught up to me and everything from making food to simply getting dressed in my foulies was difficult so when I woke this morning I was pleased to see much of the muscle aches had faded.

As I wasn’t really going anywhere in a hurry and I had my AIS (a ship identification system) on and my new B and G 4G Radar going with their guard zone alarms I wasn’t that concerned with traffic and slept in 3 hour bursts allowing for me to get a deeper sleep than normal.  When I awoke this morning Bob (Metbob) had sent me an email to say that I should be able to start sailing again by mid-morning.  The barometer was forecast to drop to 992mb but when I ready Bobs email it was at 990mb so I wanted to wait until it was rising again before carrying on.  Also, I have found that often the worst of the winds will be encountered when the barometer starts to rise again - not when it is falling - so I wanted to just hang out and wait to see if the forecast gusts of 50 knots were going to arrive.

I spent the morning in idle leisure, reading another book on my kindle.  This one I was especially excited about as I had the pleasure of meeting the author.  E.Earle was on a tiny dingy offering beer when I motored into Cape Town under jury rig.  An English lass who had just recently joined up with the crew of S.V. Delos.  They left a few weeks later to continue on with their world adventures but I had learnt that Miss Earle was an, author so I had made a point to download her books for the journey home.  So now I am being entertained with her crime novel that includes a talking cat...  Right up my ally.  If anyone is interested the first book in the series is 'The girl with nine lives'.

Even though I had spent the morning in bed (its warm in there) I was watching the winds and when I had not seen anything over 35 knots for a long time I figured it was time to start sailing.  The Barometer was back up to 1000mb but unfortunately this would mean that I would need to brave the cold.  When I completed the first part of the trip I always wanted to know what the outside temperature was but didn’t have a way of measuring it, so when I was in Cape Town, with the help of a friend we tracked down a temperature gauge for fish tanks so I now have a reading on what the inside and outside temperature is.  I am already starting the think that I was better off not knowing as I looked up this morning to see a chilly 7 degrees outside and I still have a long way south to go.  I am already starting to get heavy condensation issues, everything is wet from the damp.

Eventually I sucked it up, got kitted up in all my Zhik clothing and went out on deck.  As the winds were lightish, (25-35 knots) I had been toying with the idea of shaking out the 4th reef and putting in the 3rd reef.  At 35 knots the boat still handles fine with the 3rd reef in but if I was to get anything over that I would need to get back on deck and put the 4th reef back in.  The winds have been very inconsistent…… long lulls at the mid-twenties, averages at the thirties and then the bullets coming in around mid-thirties.  I had yet to hit 40 knots today.  So while I was tacking the jib over and getting the boat out of the hove too position and starting to sail again I was also looking at the clouds and the winds trying to make a decision.

The boat was sailing now on a course of 135 True in SW winds and was still making 6 knots easily with the sail configuration of the Main sail with the 4th reef in (this is smaller than my storm trysail in sail area) and the storm jib so I decided to wait a few hours to see what happened.  If the winds didn’t get worse than I would shake out the reef.  So, I went back below and began rubbing some feeling back into my hands and once again crawled back into my warm sleeping bag.  I again whiled away the time by reading my new talking cat crime novel.  About 2 hours later I had noticed that the winds were starting to drop to the low twenties and only occasionally hitting the mid-thirties.  I figured it was almost time to shake a reef.  I started to get out of bed and get ready when I was hit with a massive squall. Out of nowhere I was sailing on an extreme angle in 48 knots of wind.  I couldn’t have got out of bed it I wanted too, the boat was leaning over so much.  These were the exact winds I was wanting to ride out hove too but at least they made the decision for me.  The 4th reef can stay in tonight...

The boat took the beating and I would listen to every creak and groan waiting for a sail or rope to snap but amazingly Climate Action Now took it all in her stride.  I think that my strong winds had decided to arrive late to the party because the rest of the evening was filled with moments of just gripping on as Climate Action Now laid over in another squall.  Even while I have been writing this blog I have needed to stop twice just to wait until the boat righted itself enough that I could type again....  The forecast is for these interment gusts of wind to be dropping off by the morning and I will then maybe be able to shake that reef out.  It’s a strange day at sea when 30 knots in the Southern Ocean starts to feel like a calm day on the harbour compared with the rest. So my sleep will be broken tonight.

I wish I had recorded me trying to make dinner.  I felt like I was a rock climber clinging to a cliff face trying to make my porridge.  My Stove is on the windward side making anything galley related difficult…. but I managed in the end.  Once it was cooked though I did have the dilemma of not having a bowl that I would trust not to spill the contents over me in these conditions so I settled for a spoon and the saucepan as the bowl.  You are also probably wondering why I would be making porridge for dinner, well its warm and sweet and just what i needed. 
Good night all.