Last night was again a night of little sleep. I went to bed around 9pm but it was well after midnight by the time I managed to get to sleep. I was sailing out of a system and into another one so the winds were shifting around a lot. At one point the winds would be 13 knots and then the next second blowing 27 knots, I was sailing with the third reef in the main sail and the storm jib up so when the winds were above 20 knots the boat was making good time, however when the winds would drop to 13 knots I would suffer on the boat speed. I debated for ages on if I should shake out another reef in the main sail but ended up playing it safe for the night. I was sailing on a run so almost completely down wind and my thoughts were that if I had less main sail up and the boat was pushed too far by a wave causing an accidental gybe then I would cause less damage.
When I did get to sleep I must have really needed it because nothing woke me for hours. I finally woke at 4.30am to see that I was now sailing in 8 knots of wind and I still had the storm jib up and the number 3 reef in the main sail. It was no wonder I was doing between 2-4 knots of boat speed. I shook of the sleep and went on deck. It was all calm but there was still a reasonable swell rolling through. I new that in a hour or so the winds would be back up to 20 knots so I decided only to shake out to the 2nd reef, I also put out the stay sail to help push me along. Until the new winds from the NW arrived I was happy to cruise at 6 knots. This was also the time that i had reached my gybe point. I had been sailing a course of 100 True overnight and during the shift in the winds I was to gybe and start going 070 True to get towards the north of my next islands, The Crozet Islands. By the time I had finished getting the stay sail out and shaking the reef in the main sail the winds had veered from the SW to the W so I knew that they were on their way around and I could gybe. Once all done I went back below, completed a log and then went to bed again.
Just as I settled into bed I checked the instruments on the B and G Zeus that is in front of my bed and noticed that the wind shift was complete with the winds coming from the NE now at 12 knots. It was 5.30am and sleep called me back. I woke an hour and a half later only to notice that the winds were now at the 22 knots range. I had the whole of the stay sail out and while the sail should be fine in that much wind I don’t like to push it too much given how far I still have to sail. I went back on deck briefly to furl half of the sail away again on the Pro Furler supplied by Wichard Pacific. I was now too awake to sleep so I decided that I would just get up and get on with it.
A steaming bowl of hot porridge later and I was warm again and content. Whist at the beginning of this trip I had a difficult time settling in with the sea sickness, cold and then getting hammered by all those storm systems but now I feel like I have had the change to adjust and the days have now formed some sort of a routine. Porridge, some light reading on the kindle. I pop on deck to check all is well, maybe a movie or TV show to pass a little of the time, some snacks, then dinner, blog and bed mostly. My world has again been reduced to what the winds and waves are doing and what do I feel like eating next... Yep…..that’s about it. It’s a simple life but I also know that after spending so many months living like this it will be quite the wake up, when I return to the real world. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
For now the winds have continued to build as the next low-pressure system passes below me. At sunset, I furled away the stay sail completely and put the third reef in the main sail in preparations of the increasing winds tonight. They are now at 30 knots plus so I am about to put the fourth reef in the mainsail before retiring to bed. I will likely lose a knot of boat speed by doing this but at 3am I am expecting a cold front to hit. This will mean stronger winds with gusts in the 40-knot range. The sea state is also increasing to 6 meters plus overnight so I would rather set the boat up now for the incoming conditions. I will also have to keep an eye on things from bed as I have the islands of Crozet coming up in 80 nm and will pass this tomorrow morning when the winds are at their highest. I won’t be able to fall off or hove too until I am clear of the shallows around the island and I really want to get clear of them before the swell gets too big. After this island, there is more than 500nm until the next piece of land so it will be clear sailing for a few days at least.
Update 45.16S 50.08E - Boat is trucking along nicely. Winds 30 - 35kn - swell still building, currently 5-6 meters. Sailing beam reach with storm jip and 4th reef in main. Temps back down to 5 degrees, cleared small 53m deep sea mount and continuing on a course of 095t for awhile. All ok on board. (Lisa via Mum)