Frustration has set in but first let me tell you about my day. The winds last night were 15-20 knots from the west and easing. I was sailing with the number 2 reef in the mainsail and the stay sail. The winds were forecast to ease to below 10 knots ahead of a change in the winds so at midnight I gybed the boat in 12 knots of wind. The winds were backing from the west around to the south east as I am in the middle of a forming low pressure system that is giving me a headache with all the shifting winds... After the gybe, the winds settled at the south east and remained at 8-10 knots for several hours. By mid-morning the winds had backed around further and were blowing from the east south east causing me to have to fall off towards the north on my course they also built back up to 20-25 knots. As my goal is to sail east as often as possible it can be difficult when the winds are blowing directly from the place you are trying to get to so I ended up sailing for the rest of the day in 20-25 knots close hauled.
When we sail upwind the boat leans over making life on-board difficult, the simplest of things can become difficult like trying to use the toilet and not having everything splash out of the bowl.... There is a skill involved in that. Also, things like trying to use the sink to fill up your water bottle? the boat will lean over just a bit more, right when you need it to be flat and you lose half the water out of your bottle before you can get the lid on. Making my morning porridge on the high side of the boat was especially difficult... There is not much to hold on to as I try to remain close to the stove so that I can stir the oats and not burn them to the pot. Easier said than done... Most days I will have a book up on my phone and be able to hold on, stir the pot and read a chapter or so of my book... Today I needed to literally wedge myself in so that I didn’t go flying across the cabin when we hit a wave.
So that was my day, gripping on, smashing off waves as the sea state formed from the SE. The swell was really messy with the overlaying chop as the swell was still from the west and the sea state was from the opposite direction making it hard to predict when the boat would come to a crashing halt off a wave. In amongst gripping on I did manage to play a little more with the generator and we had a success. I was down to my last fuse and if this blew it was recommended that I just use the main engine to charge the batteries as a new control panel was about $850 dollars, an expense I can’t afford at the moment. So, we had one more shot at trying to identify the culprit that was blowing the fuse. I again was on the phone to Chris at SLR and his suggestion was these watertight connectors on the power supply could be wet. I crawled back into the aft locker and pulled them apart. One was indeed wet however I didn’t have any spray to clean the connection with so I just had to rely on the good old blowing method to try and get enough water out. When I thought that I had all I was going to get out I reconnect it and returned to the main cabin. I called Chris back and explained what I had found and we talked through the options if I blew the last fuse. Chris said that we could bypass the control panel if needed should the main engine fail to start so I would still have a backup option. So, with Chris on the line and my fingers crossed we gave it a shot. I flicked the switch and what do you know the fuse didn’t blow... Wahoo. Success.
That was a relief. Though I don’t like using the generator I did keep it on the boat as a redundancy system and I am very glad that I did as most of the other systems have gone down. So, I was thinking things were looking up but as it is with life at sea I was in for a day of ups and downs... When the winds are light I get so frustrated as I simply can’t get to where I am going. When I have months at sea to look forward to I don’t tend to let it get to me so much however when I am closing in on the finish line it gets me so riled up……. I just can’t help it. So tonight, the winds were expected to ease off to 8 knots and shift around from the ESE to the NW and then the W to the WSW. This shift was meant to occur at around early evening. I have been waiting for it all night. After the shift with the new winds I would be able to get some sleep. It never works out as planned. I went on deck to shake out to the full main sail and prepare to put the required tack in. I was looking at the angles and it looked like I would still make course if I tacked now so I decided to go for it. the winds were blowing from the ESE when I tacked however as soon as I completed the tack the winds started to blow from the SE and SSE making my direction of sail actually backwards. I tacked back and decided to keep sailing NE for as long as I had too. The winds maintained their direction from the ESE for a lot longer and then decided to drop out to 2 knots of wind... I was drifting around in 2-6 knots of wind with the auto pilot alarms blaring. The sails flogging in the swell making a hell of a racket for over an hour. I was on deck in the drizzling rain that has been around all day and put my best effort in to making the boat go somewhere at least...
Then all of a sudden, the winds were blowing from the West. Then the WNW and then the SW they were all over the show but at least the shift was here. So, I re-trimmed the sails and tried to make some ground to the ESE. I just got so annoyed and frustrated that just before the shift I had a little shout at the sky. I was shouting at no one in particular, just screaming for some steady winds or at least wind... I was even tearing up with angry tears. I am just short of 1000nm until I cross my original track entering the 45 S line and I would have completed a full circumnavigation and be able to turn left for home. This is a huge milestone of the trip and one that I have been counting down to from Cape Town... With the right weather, I can sail that distance in 5-6 days but with the wrong winds it can be a whole lot longer and right at the moment I am getting the wrong winds. So, I am just getting sooooooooooo frustrated, being so close and within reaching distance of my goal only to be drifting around a 2 knots in no wind... So, a shouting match at the sky was needed, to vent. Whilst it changed nothing I felt a tiny bit better.
The winds are now jumping around between WNW and the SW so I am sitting by the controller altering course with the shifts, once things calm down a bit more I will then look at going to bed and getting some sleep. I now have 8 knots of wind so at least I am moving again so I am a little calmer. I do know that tomorrow will bring me wind... I just hope to skip all the wind holes between here and Australia so that I don’t have to go through this again.