Wednesday 22nd December Day 58 - 4-5m swell with 35 kt winds - rough!
Bright full moon overnight, with increasing cloud.
By dawn, the WSW 20knot wind had dropped a bit to around 17kt and had veered to WNW, ahead of the expected strong winds. We went goose-winged but soon after , I decided it would be better to pole out the genoa since the wind was so nearly from astern and not expected to change much when it strengthened. That done, in fairly calm conditions, the wind soon began to increase - to 23 knots and rising ... so time to tie in the 3rd reef... while it was still easy...
Good timing!! Within an hour, pressure had dropped and the wind was gusting to 30knots... with 3 reefs in the mains'l and a tiny scrap of genoa poled out, we were doing fine in building seas... I'd deliberately left the boom end high, when finishing the reefing, and had similarly raised the pole end high and took it forward. In the big seas expected soon, I didn't want the ends of either dipping in the sea if it could be avoided.
After that, the wind increased to 35 knots regularly, and the seas slowly built up to well over 4m, often catching us on the beam and knocking us around with slightly breaking crests. Nothing too worrying, since the swell was well-spaced apart, but uncomfortable at times! The photos really don't do justice to the reality!!
While I was sitting safely in my bunk, I checked out the birds I've been seeing - the sooty shearwater was unmistakeable but the others turned out to be petrels - the Juan Fernandez Petrel!! It's a great help having maps showing where different birds are found - gets rid of lots of possibilities!
This evening, pressure has dropped further and the wind is still up, but tending often to be under 30 knots - so maybe it's decreasing - but the seas will take a time to subside...
24hr DMG to noon UTC: 134 n.ml.
At 1200 UTC: Easter Island 1035ml NNE; Pitcairn 1268ml NW; Chile 1727ml ESE; Cape Horn WP 2017 ml SE; N.Z. (Portland Island) 2872ml WSW; Mexico
(Cabo San Lucas) 3988 ml. (007T)
Big sea approaches: