A Rollercoaster 24hrs

Purple Mist
Skipper: Kate Cope
Sat 8 Jun 2019 15:06

When I left you yesterday we were doing nicely. Wind was moderate and I was getting encouraging emails with YB data showing we were catching up boats. We were actively racing to tweak every last 1/10th kt from Purple Mist.

In the Afternoon the wind went SW as the low approached so we tacked across West and went slowly until the wind built early evening. We knew this low was coming with 20kt Sw winds and then NW when we would tack back to a direct course

Friends often ask me am I ever scared Offshore sailing and I honestly always said no. I now have a new answer which is going to be yes on the AZAB race. I suppose a blog is all about the highs and lows and I have to say beating into 25kt winds with big waves in the pitch dark is not very nice and a bit scary. I’m not sure Purple Mist likes it either the amount of moaning and groaning she was doing which was what made me so uncomfortable. She would literally fly off the top of waves and slam down with everything shaking. By Midnight I was on watch by myself and was starting to worry the keel might fall off or the rig come down. Maybe some more familiar with the boat would say don’t worry it’s just normal she will be fine but I don’t have anyone with that experience aboard. So I took the torch and stared to look at keel bolts...it’s ok no wiggling...the rig...it was fine just sat there...but still was a nervous 2 hrs. Bobby took over at 2am just as the wind shifted and as soon as we were less close hauled the sounds were better, still flying off waves with a slam for an hour or so until the sea state calms. During these times we are not really racing just holding on.
One reason for this sudden concern with Keels is the news that Bigfoot, who we shadowed on Day 1 during their return to the Scillies, has now been lifted and the keel has major damage and was nearly lost with the slamming on the first night.

On my 4am watch another smaller incident, I know folks find my falling over stories funny , my bouncing off the loo was shared at a work department meeting ! Anyway I’ve taken to sitting on the top step to supervise George the autopilot from inside. I can pretend to help out by shining a torch at the tillers now and again and checking the liferaft and YB tracker are still attached. I either nodded off or it was a big wave ..or maybe a combination of the two as I was bounced off the step onto the floor. Nearly banged my head ...but didn’t so no harm done. So note to self if you are going to drop off to sleep sit somewhere safe.

This morning its champagne sailing again and we are back racing. Sun is out and the odd rain squall a welcome wash with fresh water. I took both reefs out the main as soon as I could and we are back up to 8kts. Still no boats on AIS . So now we are trucking along and the wind is behind...should we put up the Assymetric Spinnaker (A5)? Purple Mists A5 was a present from Bigfoot so it would be a nice tribute to fly it and the wind was pretending to be only 20kts

Well we nearly had another RORC Cervantes incident but luckily we didn’t. As we launched the wind increased and the autopilot wouldn’t hold downwind. However the good news is my new dyneema strap meant the sheets stayed attached so after some intensive wrestling on the foredeck by Bobby we managed to snuff it. It was like the boat was saying “no way mates we are not doing this again” so the A5 is now sat hanging its head in shame in a big wet heap and it’s back to the J2.
Bobby as director of electronics has tuned the Autopilot to be more responsive so it should work better next time.

On the Sat comms all is good. Still getting some great weather data. The penguins have perked up after a few quiet days. They told me this morning they were chatting to the Clangers* over the BGAN.
(* Clangers kids TV show popular when I was a nipper)

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