A Bit of Everything

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 14 Aug 2008 16:17
Noon Position: 51 38.5 N 051 51.4 W

Course: South 5knots

Wind: North northwest, fresh breeze

Weather: Overcast, passing showers

Day's Run: 113 miles

Yesterday afternoon the wind gradually freshened as a low pressure system approached from the southwest, it wasn't long before we were down to a double reefed mainsail and a partially furled jib, with about 25 knots on the beam from the east. As the low moved over, the barometer bottomed out at 1003 millibars, just before midnight and we were left rolling and bouncing around in light airs and residual slop. I tried a couple of different sail combinations to keep us moving in the light wind but the confused seas were just too much for the breeze to keep the sails full and stop them from slatting and chafing so at 2 a.m. I gave up, dropped sail and got some sleep.

At 9 this morning the barometer started creeping up again, indicating the low had passed through and the wind picked up along with it quite quickly, this time from the north. Now we have about 20 knots, the jib is set to port and the mainsail is furled as we run before the fresh breeze rolling our gunwales under to the short steep seas piling up astern. (Sylph's gunwales - that's pronounced gun'les for you landlubbers - are pretty low so it doesn't take much of a roll to put them under.)

We've got about 240 miles to go to St Johns. The forecast has the wind going light and fickle again tonight, then freshening once more from the north later tomorrow, increasing to what looks like a small gale on Saturday before going into the south on Sunday. With luck I will make St Johns sometime Saturday before the southerly arrives, otherwise we could be battling headwinds going nowhere fast for a few days. Sitting alongside with a beer in my hand while the headwinds blow themselves out sounds a much better option to me.

All is well.

Bob Cat: