Passing Prince Edward Islands

Evening All,

Some good news thanks to Siims at Windy Ty we now have a live tracker once again.  I am now using my irridium go from Satcom Global as the tracker.  The irridium Go itself is quite neat as it turns any mobile into a sat phone and is one of the primary ways I keep in contact with everyone out here at sea.  The system allows me to send a text with a position on it to an email and Siims has worked his magic and got it automatically updating now, so thanks Siims.

Last night I managed to get in 2 really good little sleeps so when I woke in the morning I was feeling well rested which I guess is good as there is some more weather on its way, no surprises there.  The winds were still at 20 knots from the NW this morning with blue skies would you believe.  It was a balmy 10 degrees outside and the boat was doing great at 7-8 knots.

But there was a change in the air.  The Barometer has started to fall and throughout the day the cloud cover started to fill in with come small fair-weather clouds, but these quickly moved off by the afternoon in favour of a heavy sea fog.  I am assuming that there were clouds there but I couldn’t get past the fog to see.  The winds started building so at 4pm I decided to get the boat prepped for the night. I donned my Zhik Isotak foul weather gear and went on deck.  I decided to put the third reef in. So far  I had been sailing with the no 2 reef in the main sail and the storm jib.  I also still had the stay sail out.  In an effort to keep  dry I decided to furl half of the stay sail away on the Pro furler sponsored by Wrichard Pacific.  This would hopefully stop any splashes of water.  I had only put on the sallopettes not the jacket so I was working hard to keep the top half of me dry.

Once the stay sail was half furled I set about putting in the third reef.  This is normally a normal process of lowering the main sail to the reefing mark, taking in on the luff and then securing the back of the sail.  Today though it wanted to be difficult, so I am very glad that I decided to be conservative and reef in the daylight because it took me almost 45 minutes to get that reef in.  The third reefing point is about 30cm forward on the boom where we added a new slot to allow for me to have 4 reefs in the mainsail - typically the reefing line will run through the back of the boom but given the arrangement on Climate Action Now the line when I am on a port tack can get blown by the wind and annoyingly tangle itself around the back of the main sail.  Hard to picture but it happens and it is almost always when I am on this tack.  The only way to clear it is to either hope that it will flog itself free as I am reefing or lower the sail to the reefing point, then winch in on the main sheet to get the back of the boom within reach and clear the line.  This does involve me leaning way out over the safety rail looking at the ocean rushing past so I always make sure that I am tethered at the further point possible so that should I fall or loose my balance on a wave I would not be able to fall overboard…. but this is still a job I don’t  enjoy, but have to get done.

So I did all the right things, lowered the sail, cantered the boom, leaned out and freed the line and ease the boom back out, once that was done I started trying to take in on the line again to finish putting in the reef.  I thought that I was almost finished winching when the line started to get tight, I looked over at the sail and I couldn't believe it.  Somehow it had managed to re-tangle itself on the wrong side of the mainsail...  Bugger.  The only thing I could do was perform the whole exercise again.  These sorts of things really annoy me because of all the wasted effort however it is a job that can’t be ignored. So, I again winched in on the boom, freed the line, eased the boom out and finally I finished putting in the reef.  By the time I had finished it was almost dark and the winds were reaching 28-30 knots.  I was at the very start of 30 hours of stronger winds that given the forecast will be steady at 30 knots and gust up to 45 knots so I also decided to furl the stay sail the whole way away in preparation for the increasing winds.

I then went below and heated up one of my lovely freeze-dried meals.  Lentils and rice with Indian spice. It has actually become one of my favourites and is ready 10 minutes after adding boiling water.  After I enjoyed my meal it was nearing 8pm and I was starting to think about getting ready for bed.  I was going to be passing Edward Islands in the early morning so was wanting to get an early night. The winds were starting to get to 35 knots from the North.  This puts me on a beam reach to the weather and the boat was starting to round up in the bigger gusts so instead of not getting any sleep listening to the boat round up I decided that I would get ahead of the weather and just get that 4th reef in now.  So again, back on deck only this time the reefing lines all played nice and I was out and back in within 5 minutes.

So I am now sailing in 30 knots Northerlies and the 4th reef in the main and the storm jib.  with the forecast increasing winds tomorrow I am already to go.  It does mean that I have lost about a knot of boat speed overall but this should increase with the winds.  Tomorrow is going to be a big day, I will be sailing past the Edvard island however I will be too far offshore to see them and I will also be sailing past a fishing boat...  The AIS shows a fishing boat operating off a sea mount to the NE of the Edvard islands and with my course I should pass between 10-15nm of them.  It is unlikely I will actually see them as the weather is due to be bad…. but it is nice to know there is someone near.  I have had no real vessels close to me since I got below 45 South.  All the same company is company.  Night all.

PS - Lisa has passed Prince Edwards Islands and winds are currently at 25 Knots.