Calm before the......!

Rob & Sarah Bell
Wed 9 May 2012 12:09
28:46.85N 71:54.28W

Wednesday Morning 9th May

This weather at sea is extraordinary: Tuesday night and morning we were
doing 7 knots in 12'seas. Now we are swilling around in 5 knots of wind
and a gently rolling sea albeit 7'high. After further consultations from
our wonderful wind guru Chris Parker, we decided to head south of the worst
of the incoming gale and sit and wait there until it is deemed prudent to
turn round and start back again. (This is why we seem to be going
backwards on our route - we are!)

So by 1500 hrs Tuesday we were hove-to, proving to ourselves just how
comfortable and quiet it is possible to be in a windy, rolly situation. We
tried it on both 'tacks' to see if it made a difference to how Serafina sits
in these seas - The jib to port enables her to point very slightly more
towards the wind(as opposed to beam on) , useful to know. The other
surprising thing that happened was that, in our efforts to reduce flying
objects inside the boat (and recognising that haute cuisine is less and less
likely on this passage) I had lobbed a large cabbage overboard - the idea of
an exploding gaseous vegetable was more than I could bear - an hour and a
half later having changed the hove-to to the other side of the boat, we met
the cabbage coming down the waves towards us again. Now doesn't that make
MOB (Man Over Board drill to the uninitiated) sound more possible?

We stayed like this all night, so both of us had a good rest in preparation
for a more energetic night tonight....

Today we are going to finish taking off and stowing pieces of equipment that
could go flying, including the bimini cover so it could be a wet experience
in the cockpit. And then we start sailing back north at sunset tonight to
meet the cold front at a less critical point as it zooms through, (this is
the point now where we will meet the 35 knot winds and 50 knot squalls and
then sail on behind it in calmer winds (!) intending to cross the Gulf
Stream on Saturday and get into the Chesapeake late Monday night, Tuesday
morning. This is Plan C I think! The catch is that the various computer
weather models disagree about almost all of what we are about to get and in
particular, what might happen on Monday at Hatteras. We are relying in Chris
Parker's wisdom and experience - oh yes, and the chap up there who we all
turn to when the chips are down!

Incidentally we have been intermittently watching an Irish yacht in the same
vicinity as us, on the AIS. They have obviously opted to do the same thing
as us but instead of heaving-to have been sailing around. Just hope we
stay out of each others' way tonight!