Sat/Sun 12/13 April '08 Rough Saturday night dance on "Nereida"!
Just a quick note to say how bad things were over Saturday night...!
28-32 knots of gusty winds and seas to match... made life pretty fraught for about two hours - the back of my neck & shoulders are still aching with the effort of controlling the boat in the big swell - especially when the wind gusted up simultaneously.
Several times I thought I'd lose control as we turned violently up the face of the wave we were on, heeling over like mad as we did so... Then I decided to heave to - I couldn't see the wind display too clearly, but rushing in those winds & seas at 7.5 to well over 8 knots, not able to leave the wheel to put in a 3rd reef, didn't seem too safe - so I tacked around so I could heave-to on starboard tack, as usual (so we would drift in roughly the right direction!). I managed that at the second attempt but then couldn't tack around again to heave to against the 28knot winds & seas - so started the motor for some extra 'push' in the second attempt. That worked but then we nearly broached with a big wave as the mainsheet had come loose and the boom end went in the water - did I move fast to grab the sheet and haul it in ...??!! My heart was in my mouth... All in the dark dark, of course, near midnight...!!!
I furled in more genoa & took in the 3rd reef as we lay hove-to not long after midnight - that calmed things down a touch although the motion of the boat in those seas (4-5m swell) was still pretty horrible! But I did manage to sleep - for 5hours!!
I'd decided, looking at the distance to Trinidad, that if I did two long sessions today(Sunday) and overnight into Monday, then I could arrive early afternoon - in good daylight & in time to clear Customs & get a GOOD rest!
So I got up at 5am, relieved to find, as I'd hoped, that the winds had died right down - I even let out the 3rd reef I'd not so long ago taken in! The swell and lumpy seas gradually lay down over the day and I shook out the 2nd reef to make better speed on a very broad reach.
I'm now hove-to, from 4pm - 8pm, to get rest, sleep & generally catch up with things before sailing on over the night ... I'm about to put some spare diesel into the main fuel tank to be sure of getting in in daylight... just in case I have to motorsail in light winds.... I'm also having to email Selden to see if I can get some parts sent out - the vang (kicker) joint at the mast is definitely far too worn & jerking about horribly - NOT safe to continue far like that - and the identical mainsail boom/mast connection is also beginning to wear - probably because of the vang jerking - it's the big seas and swell and that cause the problem (broad-reaching & running, especially) - and I've been in plenty over the last two years!