Quite windy

Gudrun V
Axel Busch
Mon 7 Feb 2011 12:26
Monday, 07.02.2011, 12:00 UTC, 24:27.44N 17:46.96W

My hopes that the conditions would stay as nice as yesterday afternoon were shattered when the wind increased to 30kn after nightfall. Itâs very gusty with irregular waves and the boat moves jerkily. Very noisy too. I need to hold on to something all the time and accordingly everything takes a lot of energy. Even sleeping it seems, and my neck is sore from trying to keep my head from lolling around. Consequently havenât been able to do much but mind the boat and trying to sleep. Originally I wanted to film as much as possible of the trip, but apart from two short clips I couldn't bring myself to do it yet.

State of repairs: It seems I managed to fix the Wind-vane and it is doing the steering most of the time. The autopilot is also ok again, although the whole raymarine system behaves a little funny and I get "Lost fix" "Lost Heading" "Shallow depth" and all other kinds of alarm every now and then. I think it's seasick ;-). I have some wooden pecks for hammering into the hull in case of a puncture, and it seems that the biggest one would fit into the hose of the untight seacock. Otherwise Iâll make it fit with the thick silver sticking tape. Wonderfull stuff. I will try that once the ride gets a little smoother.

The sky is bright blue, no clouds, and itâs impossible for me to see whether the wind will increase or not. A few times I changed the sails, only to change them back half an hour later. That also takes a lot of energy, and I donât really gain anything by it in terms of average speed. Plus I donât care enough for speed to force myself to do it for naught. It was very nice to go 9kn yesterday afternoon when the sea was relatively quiet, but as long as Iâm going with more than 6kn Iâd stay rather comfortable. I set the parasailor a couple of times, but handling a 90sqm sail, six lines and myself at the same time is not easy in more than 20kn of wind. I think itâs better if I keep it in the bag for when the wind drops below 15kn. At the moment I'm doing 7 to 8kn with only the genoa, but I think I'll reef in an hour. The trip might take a few days longer, but what the heck. My esteem for the shorthanded long-distance regatta sailors grows by the minute. Absolutely crazy.

Regarding morale itâs ok. I wished the boat would move less so I wouldnât tire so quickly, and I hope that it gets better once Iâve reached my southern waypoint and turned west. That would be in about 3 days. Maybe a little earlier if I decide that I don't need to stop over at the Cap Verde islands. But last time I checked the weather forecast a storm was supposed to hit the area north-west of the islands on Wednesday and Thursday, so at the moment Iâm keeping myself rather east. I donât want to make the same mistake I made when I sailed to Ibiza last year ;-).