Day 45 – Continuing East

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 27 Jan 2022 21:45
Noon Position: 52 04.8 S 112 04.1 W
Course: NE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: W, F7 Sea: rough
Swell: W 3 meters
Weather: cloudy with sunny patches, some drizzle, cool
Day’s Run: 118 nm (105 nm Easting)

Towards sunset the wind veered into the WSW and eased to force 6, so, at 2000, I bore Sylph away to the ESE, eased the mainsail, set a bit of jib and got Sylph moving again. By 2100 I felt confident that the wind was not going to increase again, at least for a while, so I poled the jib out to starboard which had Sylph making good a course of 100 at 5.5 knots.
We continued thus until 0130, by which time the wind had veered further into the west which had Sylph running away down to the SE. I don’t want to head any further south just yet, not until we are a bit closer to the Horn, so a gybe was in order, which we completed just in time to tune in for the 0200 radio sked. On completion of the radio sked, I filled my hot water bottle with boiled sea water and turned in into my cold clammy bunk which with the help of the hot water bottle was soon cosy and warm (thank you Jan for the suggestion).
At 0800 this morning the wind was increasing once again, as per Wayne’s reliable forecast, up to a near gale. I reluctantly hoisted myself out of my still warm bunk, donned my clammy wet weather gear, went on deck, rolled up the jib, dropped the pole, re-set the jib to starboard (without the pole), and dropped the mainsail. Once everything was secured on deck it was then back below for a nice hot cup of tea and some Weetbix with hot milk for breakfast.
During the forenoon the wind has continued to increase and is gusting force 8, a fresh gale, but for now with just a bit of headsail out, Sylph seems to be coping with conditions quite well. The wind is expected to ease later in the day so hopefully the seas will not build up too much and we won’t need to consider streaming the drogue. Our course is a bit more north than I would like but, as mentioned, I do want to to gain a bit of northing to reduce the likelihood of stronger winds so will continue on this heading for a bit longer before gybing, probably towards sunset as the wind eases.
One issue arose with the engine yesterday. When I ran the engine to help tack Sylph through the wind and sea, the oil pressure alarm started to chirp faintly. Later I checked the oil level and while it was impossible to accurately tell the oil level with Sylph rolling about so much, the oil looked slightly brown in colour which makes me suspect that it might have some water in it. Consequently I will not be wanting to run the engine until I have ascertained what the problem is, and this I won’t be doing until the weather improves and the sea state drops. Fortunately, for this part of the voyage the engine is not an essential item, its most useful function being to recharge the batteries when there isn’t enough sun to charge the batteries, which has been the case over the last few days. Fortunately we have been getting some good patches of sunshine in between rain showers today and hopefully we will get a few more days of sunshine to top up the batteries and to warm my bones a little.
Meanwhile, Coconut continues to prove impossible to track down. As of last night she was some 29 miles to the NE. With a near gale currently blowing, our manoeuvrability is limited and while we are closing Coconut quite quickly, I suspect we will likely pass some ten to fifteen miles to the SE of her if we continue on this heading. I am about ready to give up on trying to effect a rendezvous with her. In these conditions we have to allow our respective boats to sail according to their needs and capabilities. For now I will simply try to stay in loose company with Coconut and if conditions permit, and I can work out where she actually is, or more importantly where she is going to be, then maybe we will let circumstances decide whether we will catch sight of one another or not.
We press on.
All is well.