Day4 6-7th October 2018 Rough seas and strong winds make for a bumpy but fast

3.20pm PDT I've finally got to my morning coffee, having come down below after taking a second reef in the main - and we're still making 7knots! I'm clearly not getting all my priorities right.... should have had that coffee a lot earlier...

We were heeling a lot and winds had definitely increased to over twenty knots - and, according to the forecasts I've been looking at, might well increase more - so I thought it best to reduce sail. Funny that I was thinking about how reefing helps heel without always reducing speed as I started reefing down. Didn't really expect it to happen - but here we are, still making 7 kt....

I'm seeing a patch of blue sky now - hope it increases. Would make a nice change from the grey skies of this morning. It had been pleasantly sunny yesterday, although still rolly from the storm the day before and laterthere was a hazy sun - so not much solar power was coming in to batteries.

I spent a time yesterday afternoon, clearing up the mess of wet lines in the cockpit and, soon after dark, with NW winds eased to around 15kt, I let out the two reefs in the main - our speed had dropped to 4.5kt. Dark grey clouds - looking a bit rain-threatening, I had thought around sunset. No stars tonight. The wind backed into the W after midnight. but we kept up a good speed S.

By 3 a.m., the wind had backed more and had died to a hint of a southerly.. We drifted around in a big circle while I took a nap. Then, predictably, the wind played its tricks - I was awakened before dawn by the wind having got up - strongly enough for me to take in a reef in the rain that had come with the wind - from the S still - damn!! At that point we were heading E.

I was totally unclear as to my best course to steer - E or W - neither were good choices! I didn't want to get any closer to the coast because Cape Blanco lies not so far ahead (just under two days away) and a good offing is needed to avoid its usual strong winds and rough seas. I tacked around to head W but soon found us heading more N as the wind veered into the W- not good! I tacked back again in the increasing light.of a grey dawn.

Finally, the wind veered into the NW - and since then, we've been happily sailing south again....but in rough, quite steep, seas. I'm having to hold on tightly when I move around and every now and then we're hit sideways by a wave - and something I thought was stowed safely decides it's time to jump onto the cabin sole.... Rough seas on the beam, or nearly so, are the worse!

My ratatouille stew will finally be finished tonight - it's proved its worth as a meal prepared in advance of leaving on a long passage. You never know what weather to expect, never mind the forecasts, and it's so good to have a good instant meal that only needs heating, while settling down into sailing the boat again. I thought I was going to have a pleasant easy ride down to California - but it's proved anything but!

1200 PDT - end of Day 4. We made 106 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr perod - not too bad considerig we were making no way for three hours in a light S wind before dawn and soon after that were headed W and then N!.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink not long before midday PDT (1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/10/07 17:40GMT LATITUDE: 45-18.75N LONGITUDE: 127-04.53W

COURSE: 195T SPEED: 6.2kt WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NW

SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 0

AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C COMMENT: Grey sky, overnight rain stopped now

Written by : Jeanne Socrates