Code Zero is up again!

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

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon all,

I hope that you are all enjoying your weekend. Last night again ended with me not crawling into bed until 5 am this morning. I somehow and the weather has somehow gotten into the habit of being up all night just to test me...

Yesterday afternoon the winds shifted around to the NE allowing for me to unfurl the code zero light air sail and run with it for a bit. This only held for a few hours before the winds shifted further around and ended up blowing in from the NW. I was aiming to make a course of around 220 to get a little south in my track before the Southerly winds arrived that was due later that night. I was struggling to hold the code zero so I changed this for the larger No 1 jib on the bow and carried on. 30 minutes later the winds had built to 17 knots apparent and I was testing the limits of that sail so I again changed. This time from the J1 to the J3 which is a smaller sail that is on the inner-forestay furler. It was a good thing too as not 10 minutes later and the winds were up at 23 knots and I was re-trimming to de-power the boat so that I wasn't healed over so far. Inside the cabin, I could hear my dishes that were drying on the shelf go flying across the cabin with a bang.

The winds stayed blowing at 18-23 knots for the next few hours and while this was happening I finally decided to make some dinner. I haven't been eating all the much as its been so hot and also without my poor cheese its rather tasteless however that being said I have noticed that I am getting tired a lot easier when handling the sails so I made a conscious decision to make a proper meal rather than just living off protein shakes and crackers.

Before I left I wanted to try these new meals made in NZ from Tent Meals. They only have 4 options but they looked so healthy and yummy that I ordered a bunch. It turns out that they are amazing as far as freeze dried meals go and last night I had a coconut curry that is filled with almonds and herbs. I also went the extra mile and toasted up a wrap on the frying pan and added some butter and salt and pepper to this and it was almost like I had a naan bread on-board. It did bolster my spirits and I felt much more content by the time I was finished.

The evening was getting on by now and I was reaching midnight so I was starting to think about getting some sleep. The only problem was that the winds were starting to shift around and I knew that it was to blow to the W and then eventually around to the S. I kept altering course as the winds came around and finally put a tack in travelling NW while the winds continued to come around below me.

By around 1.30am the winds started to back off and I was suddenly drifting in 7 knots of wind with not enough sail up and the boat was stalling out. The winds went back to the NW a touch so I again Tacked towards the South. Then out of nowhere a big gust from the South hit and I was suddenly horizontal listening to everything not tied down in the cabin go flying. The winds then shifted too fast for the autopilot to keep up and I am now stuck in the Hove to position. This is when the jib is backed to the wrong side of the boat and instead of sailing forward you are drifting sideways with the wind. When the boat is in this position you could almost liken the way you move around the deck to rock climbing as the boat is so far leaned over. The winds were up at around 25 knots and the boat was pinned. I ended up taking the jib across and then crawling back to the helm and taking over from the auto-pilot that was still blaring all its alarms.

Finally under control again I decided to hand steer for a while as the winds were mostly at 10 knots and then would slam me with 20 knots and a wind shift causing the boat to lurch. After about an hour of hand steering, the weather settled into a steady SSE wind blowing at 15 knots and I was able to hand over control to the B and G Auto Pilot again. By now it was 4.30 in the morning.

After checking everything was settled and cleaning up the cabin I finally and great-fully crawled into bed as the first stages of dawn lit the sky. The winds stayed consistent until mid-morning when they eased enough for me to change to the larger headsail again and then at lunchtime they started to back around towards the East. I altered course again and with the winds at 10 knots and blowing from the ESE I was able to get the code zero out again.

Now I am very slowly making my way on a course of 250 with the full mainsail and the code zero up. Looking at the obstacles to come I will be needing to sail around a large area that is filled with Oil Rigs and will likely have loads of traffic coming out of Port Headland with the tankers and tugs so instead of keeping close to land for wifi I will be again heading offshore and will likely sail right around the outside of them. The oil fields stretch for over 100nm and they are platform after platform and shipping lanes crisscrossing everywhere so even though it is not the rumb line course it is the safe option especially with the inconsistent winds.

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