Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 2 Sep 2009 10:28
Position: 42 08.9 N 009 25.2 W
Course: Southwest Speed 4 knots
Wind: South sou' east, moderate. Sea slight on a moderate swell.
Weather: partly cloudy, mild.
Day's run: 45 miles

The weather has me completely flummoxed. The wind is blowing exactly opposite to the direction of the gradient wind shown on my weather charts, we should be getting northerlies and we have southerlies (a headwind). And no sea breeze yesterday. This could be a land breeze but normally you only get a land breeze late at night or very early in the morning and it is generally weak and very close in; we are currently 12 miles off the coast and it is midday. What is going on?

Last night the little wind we had gradually died out, I set the drifter for a while but eventually that was just flopping against the rigging so dropped that as well and drifted for most of the night. At 10 a.m. a usable breeze was blowing but, as mentioned, from the wrong direction. At least we are moving. One of the challenges along this coast is that it is subject to a continuous swell of two meters or so from the northwest. This means Sylph needs a force three (7-10 knots of breeze) to have enough pressure in her sails to overcome the rolling and consequent slatting. Now we have the unusual situation of sailing close hauled on the port tack with the swell on the starboard beam causing a rolling motion of 5 - 20 degrees on top of the normal heel of about 10 degrees.

I am currently reading a short history of Spain, I like to know a little about the places I visit. Poor old Spain, what a mess, they may have interesting architecture and cities but it seems the masses have always been underfoot of the aristocracy including a well heeled army, especially the senior ranks, protecting their short term interests regardless of who is in power. (I am up to the late 19th/early 20th century.) I am reminded of Emile Zola's "Germinal", set in mining community in France in early 19th century; a good read.

So Spain has not made good progress over the centuries of near incompetent rule due to competing factional interests including the church; and neither have we over the past 24 hours with near incompetent forecasts (or incompetent interpretation), but I assume that this current wind is something of an anomaly and will eventually do what the meteorologists say it should be doing.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

What a strange motion, some more interesting data for my next book. At least we are on the preferred sleeping tack, the boat is leaning over to starboard which makes the settee berth more comfortable and secure, no need for those silly lee cloths. A nice comfortable .. Zzzzzzzz.