Tuesday 1st May
Happy Mayday to all!
6pm - It's dark already - and the wind has suddenly dropped down from the 25 knots of today to 20 knots now, still from W of N, as all day.
Last night, as I was posting my log report with some difficulty, I noticed the wind increasing to over 20 kt, so eventually I got up on deck to reef down... by which time the wind had increased a lot more. ` It got up to 30 knots and stayed there for most of the night. The seas always get up quickly with the wind, so it got to be a wet session! With the genoa furled in, a small stays'l and fully reefed mains'l, I finally felt comfortable going down below to get some sleep - it was well after midnight and we were making over 6kt. The seas were quite rough and tossed us about frequently.
On looking back out before getting to my bunk, I noticed one of the solar panels was vertical, with the wind generator spinning away merrily close by, its tail held by the panel - not good! ... Nothing for it but to get back out on the pitching deck and fix it - one of the lines holding it had come loose - I was relieved to see it was still there, making my job easier... TG for headlamps.
Before dawn, a banging noise caught my attention - it seemed to come from below decks.... but I couldn't find anything down below causing it. Looking out, I saw the same solar panel sliding sideways each way on its support as the beam seas tossed us around, knocking into the main structure each time it came to a violent halt. Another trip to the dark aft deck was needed, this time to tighten all four of the wingnuts on the two retaining clamps... I definitely felt a bit vulnerable stretching up and over the stern in the rough seas!
By the time I'd finished, dawn was breaking - I stopped very briefly to admire it before ducking down below to dry off!
We've made excellent speed up to now in the strong conditions - we were making over 7kt before I reefed down and 6-7 kt after. DMG was 135 n.ml. from 11am(0100GMT) yesterday.
Just had to get out in the twilight to retrieve a tangled stays'l sheet and tighten up a lazyjack which had come loose - had waited for seas to lessen before doing it - I try not to risk being out on deck in rough seas unless it's essential... Of course, I got doused by a wave washing the decks - I'm sitting here feeling decidedly damp and looking forward to some nice hot stew, drying off and my nice warm bunk!