Bashing to Windward

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 13 Jul 2021 03:16

Position: 35 18.8 S 138 18.7 E
Course ENE Speed: 4 knots

Wind: N F
5 Sea: moderate Swell: negligible
Weather: partly overcast, cool
Days run:
66 nm sailed, 56 nm made good.

The first part of our plan worked out well. After some initial fickle winds as we worked our way clear of Victor Harbor, the conditions settled into a light nor’ west breeze. We timed our entry into Backstairs Passage well, negotiating most of it with slack water which made for smooth seas and a comfortable night’s sail, though I didn’t get much sleep due to the navigational constraints and the possibility of other vessels transiting through the relatively narrow strait.

We rounded Cape Jervis into the Gulf of St. Vincent at around three in the morning. From here things have not gone quite according to plan. The winds have veered into the north and freshened sooner than I was expecting. So now we are bashing to windward under reduced sail against a dead muzzler (ie the wind is coming from the direction in which we want to go). This is definitely not Sylph’s strong suit and given that the wind is forecast to freshen further during the afternoon, I expect we won’t be getting alongside the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron until early tomorrow morning.

But otherwise the sun is shining and the Gulf is free of swell and the sea state is less than it would be in the open sea. So, all in all, for an upwind bash conditions are quite tolerable.

Time to put another tack in.

All is well.