Rough, Easing

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 8 May 2021 01:51
Noon Position: 34 28.2 S 168 04.4 E
Course WNW Speed 5 knots
Wind: N, F5 Sea: moderate Swell: NE 3 meters
Weather: overcast, showers, mild
Day’s Run: 157 nm

We experienced some pretty strong winds last night. I am not sure how strong as Sylph does not have the luxury of wind instruments, but I would be guessing in excess of 30 knots. Indeed, I got to try out my new third reef line in earnest, the first time I have used it and only the second time that I have put three reefs into the main, maybe the third time.

We ended up running wing-on-wing with a scrap of jib poled out to starboard and the triple reefed main to port, making good an average of about seven knots. Sylph, no doubt like most small boats, is much more comfortable with the wind abaft the beam and with the sails spread on both sides I find she is pretty well balanced making less work for the wind vane which, in turn, makes the ride more comfortable. On the down side, in choosing a more comfortable ride, we have lost quite a bit of northing but we should be able recover the lost ground pretty easily when the wind eases.

And this morning the wind has eased quite a bit. We have dropped the pole, unrolled some jib, shaken a reef out of the main, and are close reaching to a fresh breeze from the NNW. Likely I will shake out another reef shortly.

With the rough seas and overcast conditions my celestial navigation practice has been put on hold. Another issue arising out of the overcast conditions and short autumn days is that the batteries are not maintaining full charge, so I have had to keep electrics to a minimum and run the engine every so often to keep them from getting too low. I hate using the engine to charge the batteries as it is terribly inefficient and it is bad for the engine to be running for lengthy periods with no load on it. I do have a portable genset but this can only be used in fair weather and, in any event, due to Sylph’s lengthy overseas travels, happens to be a 110V unit. I used to have a 110V battery charger to match but that died some time back. I then resorted to a 110V to 240V step-up convertor combined with a new 240V charger, but the convertor also died a month or so back. So now my battery charging options are very limited; something I will have to address when we get back to Australia.

In the meantime, we continue to make very good progress, posting another day’s run in excess of 150nm.

All is well.