Ground control to Major Tom
Skipper: Kate Cope
Thu 27 Jun 2019 10:18
The storm was forecast but when it arrived it’s still a bit of a handful
We had been trucking along nicely with 18kts of breeze but by 4pm it was at 30kts solid. This is gale force 8!
We reduced the main to the 3rd reef, that is the 3rd reef I was advised I would never need but I’m glad that I asked Ultimate sails to add it and set up the lines ready to use.
So we seemed stable at 3 reefs in the main and the little J4 jib so Bobby went for some much needed rest as he had been helming all day.
First problem was a massive gust and subsequent heeling of the boat threw me from the stove into the chart table. I’ve bashed my hip and knee, nothing permanent but the my are sore and bruised.
Then waves started crashing over the boat and down the companion way (door) so I deployed my natty fabric door with a window that keeps the worst of the waves out but is quicker and easier to push out of the way that the solid door.
George was doing a great job steering but there was too much slamming and the jib was shaking the rig a bit too much for liking. On top we were trailing 3 lines out of the back, the Danbuoy had nearly come loose and the penguin angle of heel had dislodged and looked like it might be lost. I have to say I deprioritised saving the penguins !
Action was required so I came off the wind a bit to stop the slamming and flatten the boat. This is painful to do as it makes the destination further away but seeing the boat rainmaker tracking south and now behind me made me think that others are also playing safe. Next we took down completely the jib . Interestingly she is still doing 5.5-6kts on just the triple reefed main. This stopped the rig shaking. I then retrieved the lines, the Danbuoy and finally yes even the penguins are safe I think. I popped them in a cup holder I just hope they don’t jump out.
The funny thing was at all times the sun was shining and the waves were not really that menacing, just a bit big . It reminded me of playing at the seaside. Of course we were getting totally soaked.
We retreated inside to recover and dry off as there was nothing more to be done outside . At this point I tried to make hot chocolate which was comical as the milk was literally jumping out of the pan over everything in sight.
After a closer inspection on my bruises and realising my knee is a bit sore to walk on we decided the safest place for me was in my cabin lying down. Bobby has now gone for a kip so I have set up my cabin as Mission control. I can supervise and steer the boat and have the radio remote should anyone call. The iPad has a remote control to the plotter so I can watch for ships on ais ...also track rainmaker and fill in the log.
The wind has gone more east which is good for the heading but puts us slamming into the waves from the earlier direction so I’m playing it a bit safe until the waves change direction too. I can see Rainmaker is pointing higher. We’ve just had a big wave hit us sending all the plastic cups under the stove flying so I’m just going to sit here safely. The only thing I haven’t got is the BGAN so this post will be a bit delayed.
It’s fair to say it’s not very comfortable and whilst I’m not as scared as I was on the way out I’m not very happy about this storm either. We probably have it all the way to the finish as it shows no signs of disappearing for the next 36hrs