Day Five - Catching Rain

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 19 Dec 2021 03:20
Noon Position: 42 42.5 S 142 27.8 E
Course: ESE Speed 6 knots
Wind: W, F5 Sea: moderate
Swell: WNW 2 meters
Weather: cloudy with patches of sunshine, cool
Day's Run: 154 nm
One major concern I have had for this voyage is having enough of that most precious of commodities, indeed, the elixir of life, namely, fresh water. As I have mentioned previously, I cannot carry enough water for the entire voyage so I need to either have a means for converting sea water to fresh or to catch rain. I won't repeat myself but suffice to say that I opted for the latter option as cheaper, simpler and relatively reliable. Thus far I have been on strict rationing because I did not know how well my water catching arrangement would work. So this morning at around 0500 I was delighted to see a rain cloud had overtaken us and that a modest amount of rain was falling. I resisted the urge to climb back into the warm bunk, shook off my sleepy frown, and donned foul weather gear, hood down so as to have bit of a hair rinse at the same time.
And I am pleased to say that after a few minor adjustments the water catcher worked up to specifications. In short order I had collected a bucket of water (after spilling the first bucket) and replenished the ready use water containers in the cockpit. Admittedly, this only amounted to eight litres, but it has instilled me with confidence that if I continue to be frugal and take every opportunity to top up water when it rains then our fresh water supply should not be a problem. Indeed, with a little luck I hope I will even be able to do some laundry from time to time.
Meanwhile, Sylph continues to make good progress. The log indicates that over the last 24 hours we have sailed 153.7 nm, making for an average of 6.4 knots. Since 2130 we have been running wing-on-wing and since midnight the wind has gradually freshened so that by 0300 we had two reefs in the main and about 50% of the jib poled out to starboard. Things all seemed pretty settled during the forenoon. The rain had passed, the water tanks were full, the sun was shining again, all the solar panels are working and the batteries full, and I was feeling relatively clean and refreshed. Then Neptune reminded me never to get too relaxed, at least not south of 40 degrees. All of a sudden a small squall was upon us and even with two reefs in the main and only half the jib out, Sylph was clearly over-pressed and the wind-vane was struggling to hold her steady. Fortunately I had just donned my salopettes, so I forewent kitting out in full foul weather gear and went straight on deck to reduce sail.
We now have three reefs in the main and only 30% of the jib poled out, and, of course, just as I have everything sorted the squall has passed and I am left casting an eye to weather and wondering whether to make more sail or to stay reefed down.
All is well.