d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update
Presented by Pivotel
Well, the weather simply can't seem to make up its mind at the moment on if it wants to have really strong winds or not so strong winds... It has made the last 12 hours slightly hellish. Yesterday was a lovely day the sun was shining the winds were 15-20 knots in a happy range and the swell was down but somewhere after dark it all went down the drain. I was expecting an increase in the winds and was thinking that it would likely settle around 25 knots so when the breeze started to fill in around sunset I went back on deck and put the reef back in so I was now sailing on the 1st reef. Putting reefs in on this boat along is a rather simple task and only takes me a few, however, shaking them out always take so so long. Anyway, so I was on deck and put the first reef in. Climate Action Now seemed happy just sailing along with the 1st reef and the J3 smaller headsail so I went and made some dinner.
It was another freeze-dried dish of a tomato, cheese (the powdered kind), a rice dish. It was okay and edible and I was sailing along at 6-7 knots doing well. Around midnight the winds decided to increase to 28 knots so I was once again back on deck and partially furled the J3 headsail away so the sail was a bit smaller. It was still a push at 28 knots with that sail configuration but the winds were mostly at 25 knots and the boat was going okay in those winds.
What followed next was 6 hours of me trying to get some sleep and the weather gods and doing their best to keep me awake. You see the winds simply were not consistent so one-second Climate Action Now would be completely overpowered laid over on her side so far that the rudder comes out of the water and she rounds up into the wind. The next second she would luff her sails and the deck would wallow before the Auto Pilot could steer me back to the course and fill the sails again. This would go on for 5-10 minutes sometimes 20 minutes and then we would wallow in 18 knots of wind travelling at 4 knots on the back end of a cloud. The boat would rock back and forth and stall almost completely with the slap of a wave. I would lay in my pipe cot bunk wondering if I would need to go on deck and re-trim the sails and just as I was about to get up or sometimes after I got up the winds would fill in again 20 knots, 25 knots and again 28 knots and we were off into round up world again. Not only this when I would get some speed up we would crash off the backs of the waves with such violence that Climate Action Now would shudder and vibrate with the jarring force of it and we would almost come to a complete stop.
This went on all night long as if it was on a bad repeat cycle and the whole time I am up and down from my little pip cost of a bunk as wind shift alarms are going off or radar alarms or off course alarms. This morning I have some decent bruising on my hips and ribs because my bunk was on the high side of the boat as we are sailing on a Port tack. What this means is that you end up sleeping mostly against the lee cloth that stops you from getting flung out of bed and on top of the aluminum tubing that makes up the frame of the bunk so every time we were airborne and would come to a crashing standstill I would also be crashing down on that aluminium tubing as I tried with all my might to get some sleep.
I dozed most of the night and don't actually think I managed any sleep until after 8 am this morning when the winds eased just a touch so I am feeling a little sleepy today. The plus side of all of this is that the winds have shifted from the S to the SSE and are now blowing in at a wind angle of 140 degrees allowing me to sail almost directly course heading south. It is so much better like this because every mile sailed is a mile made good in the right direction so I can put up with the bruises and the smashing of the waves for that. I am now just over 100nm west of Geraldton so I did manage to make some ground though last night. I am not expecting the conditions to change that much in the near future so I will keep at it as best as I can.
Just a little update on Dad. He is still stable although it is taking some time to wake him because of the medication and his ongoing liver issues it is slowly heading in the right direction and the doctors are all still happy.
Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft