d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update
Presented by Pivotel
After the easing winds yesterday it was quite the nice surprise when the winds started building at sunset last night. I was sailing in a Northerly wind on a beam reach so when the winds started to build I very quickly needed to change my large jib out for the no 3 jibs. My larger jib is only rated to 15 knots of wind and I was soon getting over 20 knots. I decided to take the pressure off the sail while I furled it away and so I altered course so that I was now travelling with the winds. I was able to change out the jibs without too much hassle and went back to course before going below out of the cold.
Not even an hour later and I am starting to get rounded up to the wind again as the wind built to over 25 knots. Back on deck again and I put in the 1st reef in the mainsail. I deliberated on that for a while as I really wanted to make the best use of the winds knowing that there is some light weather on its way but the autopilot just wasn't able to take it so reefing it was.
Everything seemed to be going good and I was sailing well on the beam reach with winds gusting up to 30 knots. I filled in the time with reading and even watched an episode of a TV show I have on-board and it seemed like all was well for the night. I was just starting to think about getting to bed when the winds started to build again. 35 knots, 36 knots, 37knots, 38 knots it just kept climbing. The autopilot was having great difficulty in keeping me on course and every gust of wind I was sucked up to the wind and pinned on my side as all the alarms triggered making for a howling noise. I went on deck again and watched the weather for a while. I was hoping that the winds would only stay above 35 knots for a short time so I waiting and I waited. Every 30 seconds the boat was rounding up and the sails would flap as the alarms tripped screaming out that I was off course.
Normally I would put the second reef in the mainsail and balance the boat however again I was very conscious of the fact that I was likely only going to have wind of a day and a half before the light winds of the High-pressure system were going to catch me and I knew that if I put the second reef in that I likely wouldn't take it out until there was a marketable drop in the wind strength. In the end, I half furled away the headsail and eased a bit more of the mainsail out and waiting to see if that was enough. After watching for some time I decided that it was going to do because even though I was still rounding up into the wind it was only every 5 or 10 minutes rather than every few seconds so it was good enough.
Now I was fairly frozen so I went below and climbed into my sleeping bag where sleep eluded me until the winds dropped below 35 knots and the alarms stopped going off. So finally at around 3 am, I was able to catch some naps. I slept in and when I woke this morning the first thing I noticed was that it was cold... Single digits cold and that the winds were now below 30 knots so it was a good time to put more headsail out and speed up again.
I think that this is the first time that I went on deck and it was raining. It was a pretty bleak morning with this drizzly rain and the cold winds blowing so I wasted no time on deck easing the headsail out before making a hot breakfast. For the remainder of the day the weather has been very slowly easing so I am almost at the time when I need to shake out the 1 st reef and go back to the full mainsail. The winds have also shifted around from the N to the NW allowing me to run with the winds a bit better and so far I have been still able to make some good speeds holding an average of 8.7 knots and my top speed since midnight is 16.6 knots so I am travelling well. I also have now sailed over halfway across the Great Australian Bight and am now closing in on Tasmania which is a little over 600nm away. I am so close I just hope that this wind doesn't drop out altogether with this high-pressure system as it would be so good to be able to finish this record on or before my birthday on the 14th but only time will tell.
I also had an awesome chance to talk with Dad today on the phone. This is the first time that I have been able to speak with him since he went into hospital almost 2 weeks ago and while he was tired and his voice was scratchy it was great just to be able to say hi and send him my love.
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