Turbines Turning

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 9 Mar 2019 02:49

Noon Position: 38 31.6 S  141 30.1 E
Course: N  Speed: 2.5 knots
Wind: ENE, F2 – gentle air
Sea: slight. Swell: SW, 2.5 m.
Weather: sunny, mild
Day’s run: 31 nm

My pessimistic note at the end of yesterday’s post was, unfortunately, well justified. We have spent most of the last 24 hours drifting around off Cape Nelson making very little progress. I have attempted to sail when there has been some wind but for the most part the only breeze we have felt has been due to the swells.  As a large swell passes under Sylph it pushes a breeze before it then, as it passes, its after side sucks in a breeze in the opposite direction. This causes the sails to fill back and forth, slatting in an awful commotion of wear and tear.  Interestingly, however, it does create a little bit of forward motion as long as that motion is at right angles to the direction the swell is moving in.

Despite my best efforts to keep Sylph moving in something approaching an easterly heading, at 2300 I gave up.  The sea was silky smooth and the crash of the rig was too much to contemplate for the night so I handed sail and got a little sleep.

Conditions remained thus for the forenoon and it has only been in the last half hour that a steady breeze has sprung up.  We have been in sight of a large field of wind turbines that stand high on Cape Nelson and Cape Duquesne, their blades motionless in the still air. But now at last they were turning. 

Up with the mainsail, out rolls the jib.
We are away; hooray, hooray!

All is well.