Happy dancing my way around the boat!


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

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon All,

I just have to start off by saying that I have been doing the happy dance around the boat because finally I have following winds and am able to get some miles under my belt. I have already sailed since midnight the same amount of miles that I was doing in 24 hours down the west coast so to say I am a happy girl is an understatement, however, a little more sleep last night would have been the icing on the cake.

I ended up getting ready for bed by 11 pm local time however as I laid in bed reading the winds started to ease quite a bit and poor Climate Action Now was struggling to keep a healthy speed. After monitoring for a while I decided to download one last grab file to check that there wasn't going to be 30 knots of wind again soon. The grub file showed that the light wind section had moved since my last forecast and that I was now entering light winds. The barometer agreed to show 1022mb so I dragged myself from my nice warm sleeping back to go on deck at midnight and shake the reef. I was in to minds about if I should also change the jib over from the smaller one to the larger J1 sail however as I watched the winds gusted 20 knots again and made the decision for me. I figured that I would change that sail in an hour or so and I could get some sleep in the meantime.

By 4.30am the winds had eased enough that I could change out to the J1 headsail. This sail is only really meant to be used in winds up to 15 knots and is made from a lighter fabric than the J3 sail so I am always careful not to use this in too much wind otherwise it will blow out but the winds were all below 15 knots at the moment so I went for the change just as the first of dawn crested the horizon.

Back inside the boat and warm again in my sleeping back I tried for some more sleep. Not even an hour later the winds started reaching 20 knots again and I could feel that headsail working hard. Back on deck and I changed it again for the J3 headsail. I was also now able to ease the sails out and bare away from the wind to maintain course. The winds now had changed from the S direction to the SW and as I came away I was able to finally start reaching. My boat speed jumped up as I sailed and I re-trimmed for 60 degrees wind angle before trying to get another nap in.

After another short nap, the winds had come around a bit more so I went on deck again and re-trimmed the sails for a beam reach. This is when the wind is blowing across the side of the boat. Another hour later and I was so excited that I was now able to sail a broad reach and actually sail with following winds.

It makes a huge difference to not only the boats speeds as I was now easily sailing 10 knots and surfing waves at 13 knots but it also makes a huge difference to the comfort as now instead of my life being lived on a 45 degree heal I am somewhat flat and able to move around the boat without rock climbing. At the end from all the ups and downs in the night, I totally forgot that I was supposed to do a radio interview with ABC Esperance at 8 am. Woops. Sorry Guys.

By 9 am I was up as I was unable to get back to sleep. The winds now were blowing from the WSW at 25-30 knots and the boat was occasionally getting shoved around by one of the large 3 meters + waves that were coming out from the South. Every time they shove you the boat leans over just enough that the boom digs in the water and on one rather large shove I heard the snap of the preventer line.

The Preventer Line is a line that I attach to the back end of the boom and run all the way to the bow of the boat to a block and then down the deck of the boat to a winch. When I am in rolling swells it is important that the boom doesn't accidentally come crashing across in a Gybe so I use this preventer line to pin the boom out. When the boom drags in the water it applies tons of pressure to that rope and sometimes they snap. I purposefully make a weak point in the rope so that this would snap first and prevent the boom from snapping.

I also was thinking it was time to put the first reef back in. Although I was now sailing in 30 knots of True wind because I was sailing in the same direction as the wind my boat speed cancelled out some of the wind so I was actually only experiencing 20 knots of wind. This is what we call the apparent wind and 20 knots was still fine for the full mainsail but with the rock of the swell I would sometimes get shoved up to the wind and that pressure would increase. As I was also going to be going to the bow of Climate Action Now to retrieve the broken preventer line I decided that I would need all my foul weather clothing. This is the first time that I have needed to put this on since leaving Sydney but it is also now getting cold so I don't wish to get wet.

Geared up I carefully made my way to the bow and retrieved the preventer line before coming back and putting in the first reef. One this was all sorted and the decks were cleaned away again I finally went below for a hot bowl of porridge for breakfast. Although it was almost lunchtime now. And now we are trucking along often surfing waves at 13-14 knots and keeping a high average so Tasmania here I come. Oh, I also saw my first Albatross of the trip this morning, these are by far my favourite bird.

Update: There has been no change to Dad yet but the doctors are trying something else so we should now in a couple of days if this is going to be more serious than we originally thought. I will keep you all posted.

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