Winds Were Screaming!

Evening All,

Well I certainty have had an eventful 24 hours.  The last little storm system that was around last night ended up peaking at 40 knots of wind and 6-meter swell.  I remained in the heave-to position until the winds started to abate at 11pm.  Given my previous comments on wanting to make the best time to the east I decided to start sailing again.  The winds had dropped to 25 knots and were blowing from the W-WSW direction making a good course to the east.  I didn’t bother tacking the jib over instead I just took the boat through another gybe to get out of the heave-to position, eased sheets and carried on.  I was very happy with this progress as I managed to cover 75nm in the night.

The next morning at 10am I got up ahead of when the new winds were due and the larger of the two storms was to hit.  I was expecting the winds to shift from the W to the WSW and this would herald the arrival of the main winds of the storm.  The Barometer was already at 990 mb and was forecasted to start rising from there so I knew that the shift was happening soon.  To make it a bit safer and keep me a bit drier I went and put the boat into the heave-to position at 10.30am and it turned out to be almost perfect timing because within 30 minutes the winds went from 25 knots to 40 knots.  My storm had arrived.

As I was heave-to there was very little boat stuff that I could do.  I was watching the winds blowing between 30-45 knots and was content to just ride it out.  I filled in the day by watching a movie.  'Lion', it is well worth a watch if you haven't seen it, but I warn you, it is a bit of a tear jerker.  I also finished my 9th book of the trip.  The forecast was for the winds and swell to peak around early evening and then the winds were likely to drop out to a sailable speed around midnight.  I was still tired from not getting much sleep the night before so I opted for a nanna nap to pass the time given I was likely to be up on deck in the middle of the night.  I laid in my little pipe cot listening to the storm rage around me.  The winds built from 45 knots to 55 knots and peaked at 59 knots of wind.  That is a whole lot of wind and it also meant that my swell was also building.

Not having much success with sleeping I was lightly dozing when a huge wave picked up Climate Action Now and threw us down to the trough of the wave.  The boat groaned on impact with the flat waters of the bottom.  I was out of bed in a hurry and checked once again to see if I still had a mast.  I didn’t hear anything but since my dismasting I worry a whole lot more about it when things like this occur.  After checking that the boat seemed okay I decided that the safest place for me was my bed.  This is a small area with a lee cloth to stop me flying out and would be the best place to be in a roll over.  My heart was still hammering in my chest when I crawled back into bed.  I didn’t get back out for several more hours.

The winds were screaming outside and every time I got shoved by a wave I would brace myself for the worst and my heart would start hammering again.  Sleep remained elusive as I watched the winds continue to howl at 50 knots.  Most of the storm was blowing 45-50 knots but there were several peaks where the winds were blowing 55 or more knots...  My body was getting restless from laying down for so long but there wasn’t much I could do about it except roll around and get twisted and tangled in my sleeping bag.  I set an alarm to wake me at midnight hoping that the conditions would have eased enough for me to eat some dinner and write this blog but it was still blowing steady 40-45 knots so I set the alarm for another hr and tried again.

At 1.30am local time the winds started to show signs of abating.  I am now getting mostly 35 knots with the occasional 40 knots of wind so I decided to brave the wide-open spaces and get some dinner.  Making my way to the galley was like walking up a mountain where I needed to constantly hold on, but my dinner made the mission worth it.  Mashed potato and baked beans from the can, quick warm and filling for these conditions.  And now that the blog is done I am going to brush my teeth and go back to bed.  Bob (METBob) Sent me through an update in the forecast this afternoon and it now looks like I won’t have the chance to sail again until mid morning when the 8-10 meter swells abate.