A Little Rough

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 27 Jun 2008 00:10
Noon Position: 51 05.8 N 049 43.3 W
Course: North Northwest Speed: 4 knots
Wind: Northeast, strong breeze
Weather: clear skies
Day's Run: 107 miles

It appear we are on the other side of the low pressure system, overnight the
winds went light, the barometer bottomed out at 996 mb around midnight, a
largish swell from the north started to predominate and this morning at 8.00
the wind shifted around into the East. During the forenoon the wind has
gradually increased and backed a little into the Northeast such that we are
now under a reefed mainsail and partially furled jib. The seas are well
formed, consistent and relatively steep, I suspect we have something of a
north bound current helping to pile them up. Sylph is coping well at the
moment, as she should. The conditions remind me of the East coast of
Australia for which this boat was designed. The designer, the late Alan
Payne, called the Tasman Seabird (Sylph is a slightly stretched version of
this design) his little spoon bowed boat. Alan Lucas, the doyen of
Australian cruising, thought the design his ideal yacht though a tad small
for his needs. And I'll agree that while she has her faults Sylph has
proven a great small boat. At the moment she's displaying one of her
weaknesses, her fullish spoon bow rises well to the seas but also, if she is
not in harmony with the wave period, she occasionally tends to thump into
them, washing off a lot of speed which leaves her wallowing and
hobby-horsing for a short while before she picks herself up and starts
forward for the next one.
I watched the seabirds this morning, the gulls and the shearwaters careening
the wave tops, here they are home, perfectly evolved for this environment,
effortlessly gliding along the wave tops, soaring off a crest as it passes
underneath them and wheeling back, taking advantage of the increased wind
speed at height then cutting back to glide atop the surface cushion of air
just inches above the seas.
. . .
I was interrupted from waxing lyrical by a damned drip; commonsense and
experience has taught me that electronics and sea water do not mix - so the
laptop was cloistered for the afternoon until the risk of being dripped upon
became acceptably low. Which is now, 8 p.m. We are still punching into a
tolerable sized sea but the wind has abated a little, we are not taking the
seas over the decks so heavily and I have given Sylph a little more jib but
am keeping the reef in the mainsail. We are making a comfortable 4 knots,
losing a bit of ground to the west but that is acceptable, and unavoidable.
Poor old Bob Cat has been a trooper, he made an appearance this morning
clearly not feeling the best, couldn't find anywhere comfortable to sit
still, was sick but still managed to use his cat tray. I was very proud of
him, he is a real sailor cat, most of us get seas sick if it gets rough
enough, what makes a sailor is getting on and doing what need to be done
regardless. Fortunately he appears to have found a spot where he can be
relatively comfortable.
I don't think Bob Cat wants to move.
All's well