Friday 29th October
Big decision of this evening was: Do I tie in the 3rd reef, well in advance of stronger winds expected, or do I first cook myself the mushroom omelette I really fancied for tonight?...!!
Omelette won, on basis that air pressure was not yet down anywhere near the 1008 hPa I'd been told to look out for by Bob McD (front possibly not arriving until near dawn), winds were rising but not above mid-twenties yet, boat was doing fine ... and I needed energy and a feeling of well-being for the reefing job! I really enjoyed the omelette but needed the cooker strap to hold me in place safely in the bumpy conditions while I cooked. The reefing went well in the darkness - despite the occasional wave splashing me. I took on board the idea given to me by Ian just before I left - to use a winch on the opposite side of the cockpit to help in the reefing (I'd run out of winches on that side with the genoa, staysail and running backstay all taking up one each...) My new Helly Hansen foul gear (given by Pauline of Force Four during my Southampton Boat Show visit) has been proving very useful in the bad weather since leaving and the seas have definitely been testing its waterproofness!
Suddenly realised this afternoon that the wind generator wasn't putting in anything. I got quite depressed for a while, thinking I was going to have a major power problem without it, and then I remembered I should check the fuse .... the 25A fuse had blown - presumably with strong winds first night out from Strait. I know I've spare fuses somewhere .... but could I find them? ... more cause for feeling down... I did find ones at 15A rating, so was able to confirm eventually that the generator is working fine. Initially, I wondered if wiring were dodgy since, even with fuse in place, and before it too blew in good wind of today, we were putting in good power for a time and then nothing...or nearly so. But I think maybe it was the fuse failing erratically that gave that impression. So problem now is to find missing fuses and make sure I shut down the generator if wind gets up above 30 knots. I might have to dispense with fuse and join wires together to give supply to batteries - dangerous since could damage wiring if unprotected.... But without its input, we're going to run short of power regularly....
Well, I had a good sleep this morning and I'll get some now - it might be a busy night if the front arrives early or winds get up a lot more. Presently we're going well under triple-reefed main, well-furled genoa and staysail at 4.5 knots on 235T in 23 true knots of SSE wind.... The front can't be far away since pressure has dropped now to 1009 hPa (from 1016 this afternoon and 1010 an hour ago).