Day 6 - Some Proper Sailing 29:00.16N 33:02.52W
The Return of Irene III - 2018
Fri 8 Dec 2017 16:54
The sailors among you must surely have noticed the dearth of sailing
information included in these blogs. That's because it is written by Irene
III's onboard hill walker!
However for the past 36 hours we have enjoyed proper Atlantic sailing
Our TimeZero forecasting data suggested that there were two active weather
systems in our general vicinity. For all of Thursday we benefitted from a
steady 20-25 knots of wind on our stern. With the mainsail and genoa reefed
in, we moved along nicely at around 9 knots all day. The sea state had also
increased - giving long and broad rollers with four metre troughs.
We had a fishing line out, trolling a large hairy and garishly coloured lure
that hooked two different fish during the day. However both fought valiantly
and eventually broke free before we could land them aboard.
Having consulted our barometer, heavier weather was anticipated for the
night watch. In preparation, Louis and John HH donned their waterproofs and
headed for the foredeck. Their task was to rig a staysail (much smaller than
the genoa but larger than a storm jib) to match the changing weather.
Rigging a stay on a heaving boat is no easy task and their work was further
complicated by an issue with the halyard winch they were planning to
utilise. It took huge energy, some acrobatics and much perseverance on their
behalf. After 75 minutes they returned to the cockpit with the staysail
Night falls quickly on the ocean and with a sky full of dark rainclouds, it
turned to pitch black in an instant last night.
Our hopes of skirting around the top edge of the low pressure system was not
realised. By 9pm we were experiencing winds gusting to Force 8, constant
lightning flashes and long torrential downpours.
The night watch crew of Johnny Frey, John HH and Sean worked in unison and
steered Irene III through the lumpiest seas we've encountered to date. For
Sean, responding through the night to the many dramatic changes in weather
was exhilarating. Johnny Frey's assessment: "a night of dirty sailing, like
a trip around the Fastnet".