A Front

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 13 Jun 2011 03:03
Noon Position: 24 17.0 S 168 04.0 E
West sou' west, Speed: 5 knots
North nor' east, F4 modrate breeze
Overcast, warm
Day's run: 105 miles

At a little after midnight we caught up with the lightning that we had seen in the distance yesterday and a short while later, at about one it started to rain, and then very heavily. The breeze was still blowing a comfortable force three from the north east but I thought it doesn't usually rain like this without there being something behind it. Reluctantly I donned foul weather gear, stepped out into the downpour and started reducing sail just as a precaution. Well I really should not have hesitated, because no sooner had I put the reef in when we were suddenly caught aback. I allowed the sails to come through, adjusted the wind vane and then the wind struck. I would guess about 30 to 35 knots. I was glad I had come on deck when I did, I would hate to have been caught out under full sail and taken aback with this wind strength. I ended up rolling in the all the jib and putting a second reef in the mainsail. I then adjusted course to put the wind slightly forward of the beam which put Sylph back on the desired heading. She jogged comfortably into the building seas. And I retired below to dry off and get some sleep.

About an hour later conditions were starting to moderate a little and the rain was easing but I decided to leave things as they were until daylight, Sylph was comfortable and so was I.

Come morning I found that the wind had in fact clocked all the way back around to the north east again and Sylph's bows were actually pointing east, not south west which is where we want to go. No problem however, we could not have been heading in the wrong direction for very long and we were only making good a couple of knots, and making quite a bit of leeway into the bargain. I gybed Sylph back on to her proper course, once more running square I set the jib poled out to starboard. In setting it I was once again disappointed to see that it had incurred some damage in the strong winds. It is superficial, namely the piece of canvas which covers the leech tensioning block had been torn off and some very minor damage has occurred to the leech. I guess it must have happened as I was furling the sail in the strong winds, the sail was flogging violently as I furled it and I think the leech must have been bashing itself to pieces on the shrouds. Oh well, it could always be worse.

Now the wind has continued doing circles and is in the north west, I have dropped the pole, and we are beam reaching to a moderate breeze. I think it is time I shook out the reefs.

All is well.