d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update
Presented by Pivotel
Wow, I cannot believe it is December already, how the time fly’s when you alone on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Last night was a great night sailing and I managed to complete a 200nm run over 24 hours. The winds were blowing mostly at 30 knots true wind and as I was travelling with it I was sailing in 20-25 knots Apparent winds. I kept the 1st reef in the mainsail and the No 3 Jib up for the night. We were flying surfing waves and occasionally getting smashed sideways by the large 4-5-meter swell rolling in. I was mostly holding a course of 110 degrees T for the night to skirt across the larger of the swells and the winds were mostly blowing from the SW however at one point in the night I got completely smashed by a squall. I hadn't managed to get to bed until late as the winds were sometimes reaching 35 knots and this was overpowering the boat, so I would need to go on deck and ease all the sails to try to get control before waiting until the winds eased again and trimming back on. I really wanted to make the most of the winds while I have them after going so slow for so long...
So it was not really a surprise when I got smashed by this squall at 2 am. I had managed about an hour sleep, so I was all bleary eyed as I squinted at the instruments. It took me a couple of seconds to work out what has woken me. I finally realised that it was because poor Climate Action Now was pinned almost on her side getting winds over 37 knots. Not only this I had been rounded up so my sails were flapping in the winds. Often these types of wind increases are short so I wait a minute before scrambling out of my sleeping back and throwing my life jacket on and crawling on deck. It is quite a feat climbing out of my main hatch when we are leaning over so far and after a few miss-fires, I was finally on deck. I had the mainsail trimmed to a wind angle of 110 Degrees so there was plenty of lines that I could release to ease the sail out. I scrambled as the boat heaved in the swell and dumped the mainsheet out which was just enough of a pressure change to allow Climate Action Now to bear away from the wind and run with the squall. The squall lasted for another 20 minutes of this roller coaster where I would be running with the wind and a wave would catch the stern of the boat and flip me up towards the winds increasing the pressure on the sail. Everything would flap and then we would be able to dive back away from winds and resume course only to have it happen again 2 minutes later.
I decided to go inside as I was now quite cold on deck only wearing a base layer and my sea boots and so I went below and waited for another 30 minutes until the squall had passed before going back on deck to assess the sailing trip. A soon as I was back on deck I could see that there were thousands of stars above me with a clear night sky and in the distance the dark black cloud that gave me such strong winds. I deemed it safe enough to trim back on and finally went and got some sleep.
This morning the winds have abated to 25 knots and I am expecting that they will ease further. When I went on deck, however, I could see some massive rolling waves coming across, some of them were standing 5 meters high. It is one of my favourite seascapes this brutal rolling sea with waves the size of houses and it reminded me so much of the many months I spent in these conditions sailing solo around Antarctica that it almost felt like coming home. For me, there is a raw beauty with this seascape that only I am witnessing that I will always want to enjoy. I spent over an hour just watching these monster waves roll under us before going below to warm up with some porridge.
The rest of today has been rather uneventful, I am still making good speeds and I will likely be shaking out the reef before nightfall. I have made some good speeds and the top wave of today has been a surf at 15.7 knots. I have also heard that there has been some improvement with my Dad and I am about to call my sister to get the full update but it is looking like good news.
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