Day 24 - Rain, Hail and Shine

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 7 Jan 2022 02:21
Noon Position: 45 55.4 S 166 48.2 W
Course: E Speed: 5 knots
Wind: SSW, F4 Sea: slight
Swell: SW, 3 meters
Weather: squally, cool
Day's Run: 153 nm

I was able to shoot an afternoon sun and obtain a running fix yesterday, but
evening stars were obscured by an overcast sky. In any event the wind was
picking up so that by sunset we were bowling along on a beam reach at six
knots, with two reefs in the main and 40% jib. I did not fancy trying to
juggle a sextant on a bouncing deck while dodging spray. Come 2300 the wind
picked up further to force six, gusting seven, so I put a third reef in the
main and rolled up a bit more jib for the night. We thus enjoyed a bouncy
but relatively undisturbed night.
This forenoon, however, while the wind has eased it has been very squally with bands of rain laden
cumulonimbus clouds passing over. Initially I watched them skirting around
us hoping that one might pass more directly over and give us some rain to
fill our tanks with. And, eventually, I got what I wished for. The first
passed just to one side, messing around with our wind requiring the jib to
be wound back in (I had shaken out the third reef in the main and unrolled
most of the jib late in the forenoon).
This first squall dropped a bit of rain on us, filling the water container I keep
lashed to the base of mast with about 10 litres of water. Then, a short while later,
a second squall passed directly over us. This one unleashed buckets of rain
and wind, followed by heavy hail. The water around us was pummeled white from the heavy hail and whipped into streaks from the wind. I bore Sylph away before the wind to
reduce the load on the rig and to stabilise her to some extent. and then changed
the now full container for an empty one which, by the time the squall was
past, was almost full as well.
Once things had settled and I had Sylph back on course, I transferred some
of the water I had collected into my ready use container. The ready use
container holds 15 litres and is lashed in the cockpit within easy reach of
the companionway, and has a hand pump fitted to it so I can fill my two
litre galley container from it. Once I had filled the ready use container I
then went and scooped most of the hail out of the mainsail where it had
collected into a couple of buckets. I then filled the one empty container
from the bucket of hail and water and still have a good bucket of rapidly
melting hail left over. So I now actually have more freshwater on board then
when I left Adelaide, which I am pretty happy about.
In between squalls the sun shines and the wind steadies at about 15 knots
from the SSW, pushing Sylph along at a comfortable five knots. There are
still plenty of squalls about so I will leave the two reefs in the main and
the jib partly rolled up. This strikes a good compromise between being
under-canvassed in between squalls and over-pressed when a squall hits.
Generally my strategy in squally weather such as this is to bear away when a
squall hits to reduce the apparent wind, and to roll up a bit more jib until
it passes. Then, once past - generally about fifteen minutes later, it is a
simple matter of resuming course and unrolling some jib.
Looking at the weather faxes, I expect we will have to put up with these
squally conditions for another 24 hours or so but come Saturday I am hopeful
that a high will move in from the Tasman and bring more stable and dry
pleasant conditions.

All is well.