Wind Change.. Sail change.. Repeat..


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

Presented by Pivotel

Good Morning All,

Wow, what a busy 24 hours. Yesterday afternoon after taking a closer look at the weather it seemed that I might be starting to get into some rougher conditions soon so I decided that it would be a good idea to make sure everything around the boat was in order before said weather arrived. The winds had shifted to the North again so I was sailing in a fairly flat boat with the code zero up in 10 knots of wind while I completed my chores. I ended up getting my washing soaking, re-organised the bags on the bunks so that I could collect things easier, re-packed away any tools and just did a general tidy up. I also ended up sponging out the bilges in all compartments however there was only really water in my lazarette. I was worried that it may have been bleeding down from my rudder compartment but that compartment thankfully was completely dry which is a first for this boat I think. As the water is centred in the Laz compartment I can only guess it is either a slow leak from one of my water tanks or that my water-maker leaks while it is in use. I know that this does leak a little and would have easily acclimated the amount of water I had over the week so I am not too concerned but I just wanted to make sure everything was in order before I am pounding upwind in 3-meter seas which is likely in my near future.

One I had complete all my jobs I was so sweaty and gross that I decided to get in a bucket bath. I normally use 3 kettles of water and just have a quick bird bath off the back deck. It was almost sunset and I was expecting the winds to build and move from the N to the NW shortly so I was trying to be quick. Lucky I was because as soon as I was done washing my hair the wind had a dramatic shift of about 60 degrees and it was time to put the code zero away. So far I have been simply furling the code zero sail up and leaving it furled on the bow as the conditions haven't been too bad but given that there is wind and swell coming I decided that after using it today I would actually pack it down completely. I needed to bare away from the wind to furl the sail up so I ended up sailing on an SSE course and in the time it took for me to furl the sail and get out my J3 the winds were blowing in at 20 knots. I scrambled around the deck to get the code zero packed away and the whole time I was actually sailing the wrong direction. Finally, I had the sail below and put the boat through a gybe before coming all the way around to sail close hauled again on the Port tack.

By this time that little burst of wind had disappeared and I was again in 10 knots. So another sail change from the J3 to the J1 before settling in for the night. The winds continued to be difficult through the night going from 20 knots to 5 knots and back to 20 knots but they did eventually settle on a Southerly direction at 15 knots and I was finally able to get some sleep.

Today, however, the same games have continued with the winds changing from the S to the W and then to the N before dropping out to 5 knots from the S again so it is safe to say I have been doing my fair share of sail changes. I am also in the middle of the criss-cross of main shipping lanes that go from Port Headland North up to the Oil Rigs and around the islands. They are filled with ships transiting and as they are using a dedicated laneway I will be required to be the give way vessel. So far it hasn't been an issue but I am approaching the really busy one which currently has 9 ships using it as you can see from the AIS on my B and G display. This on its own isn't the issue but the winds have dropped right out so I am worried that I might get some wind and sail into the 3nm shipping lane only to have the wind drop out again and I find myself drifting in the path of all these ships. I am still 10nm away from needing to do anything and hopefully, by then the new winds will have arrived and I will be able to coast through no worries.

I also still have over another 100nm of navigating with this level of traffic so I don't think that sleep is on the horizon tonight. Aside from this and all the sail changes things are going well and I will be soon rounding the bend and going south to cooler climates again. Oh, and I have also been hugely inundated with hundreds of flies... They haven't seemed to want to go inside the boat yet but they seem to love the little-shaded cuddy under my cabin top on deck. Funny thing is this is also where I hang out for the day as you can stay out of the sun but now I have to share and they are driving me up the wall.

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