On Track

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 24 Jun 2011 02:26

Noon Position: 28 05.6 S 155 02.3 E
South sou' west, Speed: 4 knots
South east, F3-4 slight to moderate breeze
Partly cloudy, mild
Day's run: 47 miles

I will admit that yesterday I was feeling a little despondent. With the light winds and no wind vane steering, the 200 odd miles we had to go to Coffs Harbour looked rather a long way. I tried everything I could think of to get Sylph to hold a course but in the light airs it was impossible. Even with the wind vane it would have been difficult. And what was really frustrating was watching us drift backwards at a rate of close to two knots, I figure we must have had some north going current to experience that rate of drift in the light winds. So I did my best, hand steered for quite a bit and after I got sick of that and needed a rest I left the main up with a little bit of jib to keep Sylph's head up into the wind as much as possible and minimise our drift backwards.

Then at 1.30 this morning I woke up, Sylph felt like she had gone aback and was heading in completely the wrong direction. I went on deck to sort things out, got her around to something approximating our desired heading and looked around. “Hmm,” I thought, “a little bit of wind, and not from right ahead. I will try setting some more sail.” This I did and much to my pleasure, with some judicious trimming of sails and lashing the wheel just so, I managed to get Sylph to hold a near steady course in the direction we wanted to go. Hooray! Since then we have actually made 50 miles towards Coffs Harbour. We will get there yet.

Winds are forecast to go light again later tonight as the high pressure system moves east but I reckon if I can just close the coast enough we might be able to pick up the East Australia current and virtually drift the rest of the way if necessary.

Go Sylph, she is doing a great job.

All is well.