It was the same as most days then, nothing except
sailing the boat.
We tacked southeast just before dark, each time I
looked out through the night I thought perhaps I should have reefed a bit
as well, but it would do until daylight. When it was light we tacked back northeast and rolled down two more
Common sense says reefing gives less sail and slows
you down, but it never seems to work like that. We are trying to go to
windward, not with all the sheets tight in, as you would for flat water,
but eased a little to drive us through the waves that 20 knot, force 5, winds
give in the open sea. Outside the spray hood you soon get wet, as we
charge at 4 or 5 knots through, or mostly under, perhaps 6 or 8 foot
The cabin is pretty dry, there are only two
cloths wrapped to catch drips before they drop. The bilge
has a little water in, not like when it is
properly rough. Then deck fittings and cockpit lockers leak when they
have solid water on top. The spray hood fits in a track on hardwood
blocks, much more watertight than the press-stud arrangement.
I still much prefer the staysail in these
conditions to a rolled genoa. Our previous boat Helios, came with the
original sails, 5 jibs from No 1 down to a storm jib. It was standing joke
that we started with the No 1 and worked down until we got the right one.
I always claimed it was calmer in harbour and how could you tell? The
rolled genoa avoids all that work but never seems a good shape when much
Blowing a steady 20 knots, the staysail and 3 reefs
keeps the gunwale out of the water between seas. That feels about right and the
cooker is able to swing. If the wind drops a bit, unrolling a reef only
means a quick run to the mast to unroll it. Move the reef outhaul
down to the next loop and winch in the halyard and outhaul, both dry under
the spray hood. A ten minute job. There is always the genoa to roll
out if the wind drops more.
Changing down to the storm jib would mean foredeck
games. Even that is not so bad on the inner forestay, in the middle
of the foredeck, as out on the forestay. You can do most things sat
There you are, nothing happening. 380 miles
to the Scillies.