Day 8 - a good day, despite a genoa wrap!

Tuesday 2nd November 2010

It's been a good day & I've felt very relaxed - especially after a good deep sleep over midday, to catch up on sleep missed overnight. And in the calm conditions later, I emptied a locker & found the missing fuses - lurking buried in the first place I'd looked, where they were supposed to be.... Murphy was laughing at me! (Unfortunately, in the fog and light wind, I could do no more to test out the reason for the lack of wind or solar power input. Jobs for yet another day.)

The WSW swell this morning, as predicted, was enormous - easily 6m/20ft!! Well-spaced out, with a period of about ten seconds, so not a worry... but fascinating to feel the wind pick up each time we rose over the tops of the waves. And FOG all day ... not so thick, but wet and cold!

After midnight, I spent 1 1/2 hrs on deck adjusting our course continually in shifty wind of around just 4 knots and then retired to the chart table to use the autopilot control there with the plotter display in view to show me which way we were headed and where the wind was... all to keep the boat pointing in the right direction, trying to make SW! In the big swell and with such light winds, the windsteering couldn't cope, nor could the autopilot, but at least I could easily keep telling it what to do so we would point the right way - but only with my constant intervention...pillow to hand, hoping for some sleep - fat hope!! It was a case of either this or sit at the wheel in the damp cold of night to keep us going sensibly in such light airs - this was the preferred option! I'd slept earlier for several hours so didn't feel too lacking in sleep. Several changes of sailtrim later and I eventually goosewinged the stays'l in the morning when the wind went to ENE for a while... We'd kept a good heading, so the effort was worthwhile and we finally got back onto windsteering, which saves such a lot of battery power. It coped fine, dead downwind at 4 kt, in 9 kt of wind with the stays'l out to windward helping the boat balance.

At one point this morning, I gybed and got a big section of the genoa wrapped wrongly around the forestay - a 'genoa wrap'!! I felt very much at risk as I crouched in the bow struggling to persuade the sail to unravel itself, along with the sheets, and get it untangled. Several times when I managed to get a bit of the sail off and wrapped the right way, the wind caught it and ripped it back the other way, the boat heeling as the sail billowed in the wind ... it was a real battle - but in the end, I won, and the genoa and its sheets were calmed and sorted properly - phew! No wonder I had a good sleep later!

If I hadn't paid so much attention to the boat, we'd either have been heading in towards the coast or going around in circles.... Steerage is a big problem with light wind and consequent low boatspeed. I re-traced my path several times...

By this evening, the wind had backed to the N and finally , by midnight, to NW - so we're now heading SSW under full canvas, making around 4 knots in 8 knots of wind on a beam reach. The fog, present all day long, dispersed with nightfall, so we've had a beautiful starry sky - I've seen meteorites and artificial satellites and the Milky Way really does look like stardust strewn across the sky. (Is that Saturn shining so very brightly, high in the W sky tonight??)

It looks to me that for several days, it's to be either more very light winds, often from S, or strong wind from S ... so heading south might still pose a problem... frustrating! Might be some wind off the two Capes, Blanco & Mendocino which we're trying to pass now..

(NOTE: My position is posted daily : Go to 'Travels' and click on "Where is Nereida?" to see where I am and have been recently)

Written by : Mike

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