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Wed/Thurs/(& part Fri) 18/19 /20Nov 09 Days 40-42 From 50+ knots to nothing -

Wednesday/Thursday/ to Friday afternoon 18/19/20th November 09 Days 40-42 From 50+ knots to nothing...!

I was certainly shaking for a bit -
Having had several 30+ squalls followed by a 40+ squall early Tuesday afternoon- and then the unexpected squall of well over 50 knots (- dial just went crazy - gave up after went over 50!)that came through around 1845 when I thought things were calming down, I thought the excitement was over...... but not so...!

Just after midnight, a 30+ squall came through(pressure went up from Tuesday's 1010/11 to 1014mb) - and the wind switched in no time from NW to S, then ended up from WSW. Big seas...heavy rain....We just ran before the wind as it backed and then veered... good to have the sea-room and no other vessels around. Felt a lot better when we were running.... but seas really got up & it was difficult to keep them on the quarter since there were two different seas (NW & NNE - one on quarter meant t'other on beam), and we were well heeled over several times...The sudden change of wind direction had backed the mains'l which was on a preventer - so a stanchion got bent a bit. Had to gybe the sails & try to deal with a problem with battens of reefed mains'l caught in lazyjacks while at it . Fortunately, the wind dropped not long after, to just 10kn... Just to add to the excitement, the Hydrovane steering line 'heat-welded butt joint' came adrift.!! (I'd always meant to add some stitching....) There was also a major water leakage from the sliding hatch area above the chart table from all the rain.... not such good news!! Covered things with a towel to protect the electronics.... We weren't exactly a 'happy bunny' just then!! But boat did OK - heeled like mad at times.. ears got a wetting... but stayed mostly upright... she's a sturdy boat. Later, I noticed the top two battens were broken at the cars.

Wednesday turned into a fairly pleasant day - sunny with biggish seas - they always take a time to lie down. Wind was SW 20kn over most of the day so it made for a good day's sail but we paid for that on Thursday and on into the night.... Went nowhere, except in a big loop at mostly zero boat speed all day from noon on.... Wind only 4-5knots, mostly from E or SE, with 6kn for 1/2 hr from S... actually got sailing E for short while!!... But a strong foul current of up to 2 knots, often... Benguela starting up, I presume...

By Friday at 0630, we were at the same spot nearly as at the same time the day before, heading in the same direction: 110T...! And now, at 1400 Friday, after having had a good sail all morning, the wind (which has now backed to NNE) has just died to 6 knots, the sky has cleared ... and we could well be slopping about again soon.. ( Later: Yes - we're about to start wallowing...! Boat speed: 3.9kn, SOG: 3.6kn) The next low pressure system, with its associated cold front, are expected to pass by during Sat/Sun - probably intense again..... time will tell... Could be another 'hit' coming up ...!!

Unfortunately, it's not possible to get any weather fax by radio because Cape Naval have stopped transmissions - for 'repairs', I've been told, which may become permanent... A great pity since it's nice to have accurate weather information, rather than just rely on 'grib' files - which are far better than nothing but often not that accurate.

DMG to noon-to-noon:
Wednesday: 97M (128M by log)
Thursday: 105M (132M by log)
Friday: 13.5M!! (33M by log)

Written by : Mike

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