Shoved 180 Degrees by Massive Wave

Evening All,

Well last night the barometer plummeted to 970 mb at its lowest so I must have been quite close to the centre of the low-pressure system.  My efforts of sailing south for all of yesterday must have paid off because the winds through the night were averaging 40-45 knots but not much higher.  The swell however was well into the 10-meter range and even though I was hove too for the night I did get hit by a couple of big waves.  One in particular, left me with the fridge lid on the other side of the boat from the force of the impact and another while I was sleeping must have been huge.

I woke with a shock and found the boat was facing the other direction.  I can’t recall any wave but something must have woken me and for the boat to have suddenly done a 180 degree turn it must have been a doozy.  It took me a minute to shake the sleep and realise that the wind was now on the other side of the boat, the main reason that I picked this up was because I was almost falling out of bed with the boat leaning the other direction.  I laid in bed for another minute or so to see if the boat would sort itself out and put itself back through another gybe - the helm was lashed to turn the boat to starboard so as soon as I built momentum the boat should have self-corrected.
 As I was laying there the thought occurred to me that I didn’t have the running back stay set on that tack, this would mean that the mast was largely unsupported where the pressure from my main sail with its 4th reef and from my storm job was applied.  This got me out of bed quick as I simply couldn’t risk another dismasting.  So, in 45 knots of wind with the boat healed right over at 2am in the night I was madly putting on my foul weather gear and trying to get back on deck as quickly as possible.  Just as I reached for the hatch again to climb on deck the boat started to finally turn away from the wind and put itself back through another gybe.  I looked outside but we were back to being in the hove too position and the only thing that i can think of that would have pushed us off course like that is one massive wave.  I am kind glad I slept through the sound of that one.

When these waves hit the boat they can hit with such force that the boat is shoved 5-10 meters through the water.  My boat weighs 10 tons so imagine the pressure involved in shoving that much weight through the water.  It’s like I hit a brick wall.  But thankfully they are few and far between and apart from the occasional love slap from the sea Climate Action Now fared well through the night.

At sunrise I looked out my little dome to check on things and the boat looked in order apart from a few ropes trying to get washed away.  The winds were still 40-45 knots and the swell was still very very large so the decision was made to remain hove too until the conditions eased a bit more.  Monitoring the winds through the day and they haven't dropped much.  I am still sitting hove too and it is now 8:30pm local time.  I have to admit; the winds have dropped off to 35-40 knots and in the occasional lull they drop out to 30 knots but those squalls are still giving me 45 knots.  The other thing is that the winds have shifted direction.  During the storm, the winds were mostly from the NW - W direction.  They are now coming from the SSW - SW direction so for me to sail in this much wind I would only be able to make a wind angle of 70 - a close reach sail angle and I would still be over shooting my restart point.  So, given that the winds are due to turn to the west early in the morning I am going to look at starting to sail then.  I can easily sail south then in the westerly winds meaning that I don’t over shoot the restart point.  I am currently 140 nm from that destination and would likely round that point sometime tomorrow night if I can make good time tomorrow.

Aside from that I have watched a few DVD's and added some more layers to my clothing.  The current outside temperature is 2.5 degrees Celsius and the inside cabin temperature unheated is 7 degrees Celsius so a little nippy I'd say.  And while I was tired from not managing much sleep the night before I did struggle to get any today.  I think I am just a bit wired being so close to the point that it all came unstuck last time.  I really just want to get past this point in the ocean and be able to keep sailing home so hopefully tomorrow is a big day.