Bermuda to Faial

Ocean Gem
Geoff & Eileen Mander
Mon 22 May 2017 16:16
Date: Monday 22nd May 2017
Time: 17:16
Position: 35:39.05N 52:05.48W
Distance from Faial: 1130NM

Since the last update on Sunday morning, the story has been one of strong winds. We sailed hard through most of the day, with 2 reefs in the main and partially reefed jib. It was quite overcast for most of the time and the wind blew around 22 knots.

We carried on this way through the evening. During the night the wind increased till it was blowing just short of a gale at around 33 knots. We should have taken a third reef in the main but the boat continued to take the conditions well and sailed on. It was very dark with only a sliver of a moon, but when the sun came up we could see just how big the waves had grow to. They were high, probably the height of a two storey house. At first light Nat and I went forward to put the third reef into the main and take a couple more turns in the jib. We now had almost no sail up but we were still sailing at 8+ knots. But we still had a counter current of over 1 knot working against us.

The wind continued to blow at 30+ knots and waves were now frequently breaking over the side of the boat drenching everything. After one soaking I was in the aft cabin and I could here a strange rattling sound against the hull. I went to look and saw that the wave had forced my fishing road and reel out of its holder and it was now being towed behind the boat on its safety line.

We're now close to a strange part of the ocean where there are numerous seamounts. These are effectively isolated underwater mountains that rise steeply from the seabed for 1,000 's of feet. Some of them come so close to the surface that passing mariners have reported being able to see the seabed. They can cause normal ocean waves to increase in height, become much steeper and maybe break, just like the action of a seashore. So one thing we need to do tonight is to make sure we don't get too close to any of them.