Thursday 5th May Decided to heave to this morning - for sleep!
Well, the expected Front passed by around 3am, as shown by a fairly quick wind shift. Heavy rain ahead of it just before 2am, backing of the wind from NW to SSW and then slowly on to S.... It kept on raining and the seas were really big and rough, with swell from more than one direction. I gybed the sails once the wind had backed enough for us to keep on the same course without a problem, so we're now on starboard tack - which we haven't been for a long while! It's the first heavy rain for ages - so couldn't really complain at having to don foulies several times over to go on deck for sail trimming..!!
I found it very difficult to sleep overnight, with the AP misbehaving and in the rough conditions, with speeds of 7.5-8kt and a beam wind consistently around 23 kt, gusting 29kt. So eventually, after looking over the weather forecasts for the next few days (NOT looking good for my approach to Cape Town, with several days of strong easterlies and very big swells forecast), I decided to heave to .... and despite really rolly conditions in the short but large swell, I finally managed to sleep for a couple of hours until my 11.30am radio 'sched' with the S.African M.M.Net.... and then slept some more...
By dusk, having stood in the companionway for quite a time watching my albatross (immature, inquisitive, black-browed among several others), petrel and shearwater companions flying around this 'island in the sea', the now SSE winds to have abated somewhat, so I got underway again - heading more downwind, so a slightly better 'ride' with the seas, still big, more on our quarter...
There's not much point just now in making too much speed directly for Cape Town because of the headwinds forecast close by for over 8-9th May. I might need to heave to again, just to let that system pass me by - assuming it doesn't 'stall' and stay around for a few days ... I hope not!
LATITUDE: 38-16S LONG: 007-59E COURSE: 070T SPEED: 1.5
WIND_SPEED: 24 WIND_DIR: SSE SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 4.0M SWELL_PER: 4
CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1020 TREND: 3
24hr DMG: 123 n.ml. Distance to Cape Town 569 n.ml.