Windy Woes..


d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon all,

Yesterday you may remember that I signed off my blog in a little of a haste. When the winds had suddenly started blowing well above the sail selection and Climate Action Now was laying right over on her side with half the decks submerged in water. I really had to put my rock climbing skills to use to get safely on deck and start about shortening sail.

When I got on deck I could see what the problem was. Either side of me there were two very nasty looking squalls filled with rain. A squall is a local low-pressure system, Basically a very small storm that is often a few miles wide. What happens is that in the approach of this Squall you end up getting smashed with 30 knots out of nowhere and then after you get all the sails under control you get dumped with heavy rain and as the squall passes on the back end you find your self-wallowing in the swell with not a breath of wind to move you.

So here I was with a full mainsail and the J3 headsail up and two squalls around me. I quickly got the first reef in the mainsail and re-trimmed to hold against the winds and almost as soon as I was done the winds were back to 20-25 knots and Climate Action Now was sailing happily again. I was quite shocked to see squalls as all the way down the west coast I hadn't seen any but now I know that they are here and so I needed to keep a better cloud watch. You can tack around them if you like so it is worth keeping an eye out.

I ended up going through 3 squalls before dark and somehow managed to miss them all in the night. The winds ended up settling out at 20 knots and I was able to hold the Mainsail with 1 reef and the J3 through the night. By the morning the winds had eased considerable blowing at no more than 15 knots and the swell had settled out as well. First thing in the morning was to shake out the reef and I also changed to my larger headsail the J1. The winds would sometime drop right off to 10 knots and other times give me 18 knots so it was the best balance.

The moderate conditions held all day and I have even managed to enjoy blue skies and sunshine. I was expecting it to continue to remain light conditions however as I was halfway through writing this blow the winds jumped from 13 knots all the way up to 25 knots and I still had my light weather jib up. Eeek I once again mountain climbed on deck and dumped a lot of the pressure out of the sails by easing the sheets and bearing away from the wind. until I was running with it to take out the apparent winds. As I was now going directly for Perth I set about getting the boat under control and furling away my large J1 sail. That done I altered back to a course of 140 degrees Magnetic and checked the wind angles. I was able to make course sailing on a close reach rather than close hauled which was a nice change as it flattened off the boat. Long gone were my blue skies and all around me are the stormy clouds with dumping rain in them, however, I still wasn't really getting much wind over 20 knots on average and I was happy to leave up the full mainsail in that as the B and G autopilot was handling it all okay. After taking stock of the winds and clouds I have re-trimmed for 60 wind angle taking a bit of the pressure out and unfurled the J3 3/4 of the way out. As this shift literally just occurred in the last 15 minutes I am just going to hold fire and wait to see what happens over the next hour. There are some pretty heavy cloud banks in front of me so I will wait to see what winds they bring.

So aside from the now stormy seas I am also sailing into much colder weather and have even gone so far as to put a set of base layers on. Outside temp is around 20 degrees and the sea temp is also dropping every day. And now in the time, it has taken me to write this the winds are back to 12 knots... Oh, the joys of west coast sailing.

Also just an update for the interested parties but Dad still hasn't woken but he remains in a stable condition.

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