Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Thu 21 Nov 2013 17:13
38:10.82S 035:48.40E
1621z 21/11
A wild and stormy night when the wind turned to the W and increased to 35-40kn with gusts to 50kn. As the wind backed W we turned more N to get back up to our layline - and into ideally better W wind band for our journey E. Around midnight we gybed and shortened sail to a slight reef on the staysail and just a hint of main. With the gale winds from the quarter we bounced and pounded through confused seas at 10-12kn. Too challenging the conditions for the autopilot so it was hands-on for the night with Luc pulling a long stint at the wheel leading up to midnight with help from Kay and Robert, then the gybe at midnight and we settled into slightly easier sea conditions, but still gale force winds, and I managed to convince the autopilot to play nicely around 4am - but only with constant supervision.
During the morning the seas all chose to come from one direction although still quite chopped up and confused, and the winds eased off to around 25-30kn with occasional gusts to 35kn. So mostly an easy day sail today after last night's washing machine so possible to get some more jobs done as the rolling is less violent. Ryan's been making more of the foot switches work and Robbo's exchanged a sump pump while Kay has pre-cooked another few months worth of meals and Rob and Rod just stay clear of the chaos and keep an eye on HAL's steering.
Mostly sunny today so tucked under the dodger in the aft cockpit has been pole position. About the hardest part of today's watches has been keeping an eye on the trailing albatross to see if they ever flap their wings.
Over the 36 hrs after turning off the engine last time and charging along into, then with, the strong winds, our best 24 hr run came in at 239 nm - an average speed of 9.96 knots! Gives us a solid target for improvement over the next 4000 miles. Currently averaging around 8 kn with just the staysail and corner of main but once we reassemble the boat and all get some rest we'll fly more dacron and wind the speed up again.