Cape Town to St Helena - Day Eleven 17 08.376S 003 49.742W
Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 24 Mar 2014 13:12
We were not expecting rough weather at this point in the passage. Having studied the weather in this area, our expectation was that it would be light, possibly too light to sail and we thought it more likely that we would have to motor to get in. As well as the wind, it has also rained several times and is not at all tropical! Had both poles still up overnight, but was able to roll the sails away and set half the staysail without it touching the poles. That slowed us down to a relatively pleasant 5 to 5.5kts. Took both poles down this morning and now have the staysail fully out and are making 5 to 6kts. The motion is not too good if you go too slow - the boat needs directional stability and with the staysail up making 5 to 6kts, it gets that. It also means we are making reasonable progress towards our destination. Our noon-to-noon run was 133 miles and we have 130 miles to go. Generating lots of electricity with the wind gen and tow gen (especially when surfing down a wave!), and the sun is trying to break through too, so that will help.
When going out into the cockpit for watches (and we still stand watches in the cockpit in these conditions) you look aft and see a mountain of water looming over the boat. It is like mountain scenery with high, dark craggy peaks towering behind the boat, some with snow on top! Actually breaking waves, but it looks like snow. One key difference - most mountain scenery doesn't change for hundreds, if not thousands or millions of years. The mountain scenery we see is changing every second! Old peaks fall and new peaks rise and if they break just before reaching the boat, we're surrounded in a cascade of white water. It's quite spectacular when the sun is shining too (which it now is), but not so good when it's not! The winds are considerably higher than forecast, which has been pretty good up to now. So we hope this system will pass through and we'll get back to more normal conditions soon.
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