Day 55 towards Cape Horn - Hove to ... strong winds and seas make deck jobs dif

Saturday 15th December 2012

It suddenly occurred to me this morning, after a good sleep, hove-to in quite big seas , that I just needed to rotate the genoa furler a few turns to wind some extra line on the drum, deal with the sheets and that should be the end of the genoa problem... In theory, that proved to be right - problem was that instead of rhe weather easing in the afternoon, when I hoped to deal with the problem in lighter winds, it got far worse - gusting to 30kt, mainly around26kt, and big steep seas - 4-6m ... The fold of unfurled sail got larger - and started flogging badly in the strong wind ... what a horrible noise ... especially thinking of the damage to the sail - would it survive intact??

Eventually, after dark, the wind started easing, although it was still raining, and I put on my foulies and headlamp to get on deck as soon as the wind died sufficiently - I had to do something although the seas were still large.... I took some line, tied the sheets to the lower part of the furled sail and rotated the drum six times clockwise to put line on the drum... In doing that, when I looked up at the sail, I realised I was now able to release the sheets - I'd turned them the exact opposite of the turns from yesterday.... That seemed a good thing and I was happy to see the area that had been flogging had gone and although there was a smaller section of loose sail higher up, it wasn't flogging. Later, I thought, when the wind was really light, I could unfurl the sail almost completely and sort it out...

But later on, when I went to do that, with the wind much lighter & now backed to SSW from WNW, I found, after a bit of struggling with inexplicably resistant lines, that the genoa had wrapped itself around, just above the clew, well out of reach... Presumably the result of my turning the drum in wind which was not yet light..... This had to be left for daylight - and even lighter winds, hopefully... I unfurled the stays'l snd tried to make the best course possible, given the wind direction...! We were very slow - I realised the windsteering rudder, being stuck right over to starboard, was causing a lot of drag... and probably trying to turn us to stb'd.... The other problem I'd not got to today due to the big seas... I must do something to resolve that one too.

Tonight, we're sailing slowly ENE in a SSE wind... hoping that tomorrow, as we head into a small high pressure area, that we'll get the chance to deal with the problems in lighter conditions .... ...

Written by : Mike

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