Leaky Boots Mk II

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 13 May 2021 03:36
Noon Position: 31 41.0 S 157 51.4 E
Course SW Speed 5 knots
Wind: W, F4 Sea: moderate Swell: NE, 2 meters
Weather: mostly sunny, mild
Day’s Run: 155 nm

We have made it to the other side of the trough without any serious misadventure (touch wood and half a dozen other precautionary sailor’s superstitious gestures to ward off bad luck).

As expected, the wind picked up during the night. We got through most of it with two reefs in the main and a well furled headsail but at 0500 the wind had picked up to force 6 and the barometer had fallen quite rapidly to 1013 Hpa. I put a third reef in the main, glad that I had at last gotten around to fitting the cheek block to the boom for the third reef point. Now taking in the third reef was relatively easy as compared with my old set-up where I ended up reaching up to the boom while perched precariously on the cockpit rail almost entirely over the side.

At 1140 we entered heavy rain, the barometer was down to 1009.5, and the wind had backed into the WSW and eased considerably. We found ourselves wallowing in confused seas with flogging sails. I donned full foul weather gear, including my wonderful new replacement Dubarry sea boots, to shake the reefs out of the main. While standing at the base of the mast letting out the reef lines I felt a dampness around my left foot. “You have got to be joking!”, I thought. I looked down, perhaps my foul weather trousers were leaking down into them. But no, if that were the case I would feel the dampness down my ankle whereas this was definitely on top of my foot. Bother!

Now it seems to me that sea boots should do two fundamental things; they should have excellent grip and they should keep one’s feet dry. Warmth and comfort are nice to have and I figured that is what you pay the big bucks for Dubarry’s. However, two pairs of their boots in a row have failed succeeding at one of the most fundamental requirements. I will be interested to see what Dubarry;s have to say for themselves this time round.

Back to the here and now. We ended up motoring for an hour and a half to get us through the sloppy seas and light wind, and also to get a decent charge into the batteries. Now it looks like we have emerged on the other side of the low. The rain has stopped, the sun is shining, and the wind has picked up from the west. Currently we are close hauled on the starboard tack, a reef in the main and partly furled jib, making ground to the SSW. I am expecting the wind to back round more into the SW later by which time the seas should have settled into a more regular pattern. Then we will likely tack and try to head more in the direction of Coffs Harbour - two hundred and fifty miles to go.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention. I cracked Rigel Kent. As I suspected I got a sign wrong on one of my figures – I subtracted instead of adding. So at least I can sleep in peace on that score.

All is well.