Day 59 – Into the Atlantic

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 10 Feb 2022 17:05
Noon Position: 54 32.4 S 063 03.3 W
Course: NE Speed: 4.55 knots
Wind: NW, F7 Sea: rough
Swell: NW 3 meters
Weather: sunny, cool
Day’s Run: 100 nm

The wind was a lot more variable than I was expecting but, suspecting that the difference between my local condition and those forecast was due mainly to topography, I worked on the assumption that the forecast was broadly correct.
So I stuck to my plan and remained sheltered behind Peninsular Mitre and Staten Island overnight, working our way east so as to be able to launch ourselves on the next major leg of our voyage when condition were more suitable. It was a tiring night. I got up every thirty minutes to check on the navigation. Being only some five miles off the coast, a wind shift could easily have put Sylph in a potentially hazardous position. Also there were a number of vessels about, in particular a fishing vessel which appeared to have taken up station on Sylph’s port bow for the night.
Come morning, at 0630, we were about five miles to the south of Cabo San Julian. I had to decide whether to continue beyond the Cape and start the next leg of our voyage or turn around and remain in the relative shelter of Staten Island. It was a bit early according to the forecast but I decided to press on.
As we cleared the lee of Staten Island it became clear my decision was not a great one. The wind increase markedly, up to force eight, with well marked streaks of foam being blown along the wave fronts. We were soon snugged down to triple reefed main trying to make good a course of ENE to remain clear of the dangerous overfalls that extend up to ten miles to the east of Cabo San Julian. Unfortunately, there is also a very strong set of about 1.5 knots along the south coast of Staten island which turns north at the Cape. Consequently I found Sylph being set to the north and towards the overfalls. I shipped the heavy weather self-steering wind vane and set Sylph’s course further right to the SSE. I suspected the greater than forecast wind strength was most likely due to the wind being forced to go round the mountainous Staten Island and accelerating as it rounded Cabo San Julian. It was going to be too hard to turn around and head back to shelter so I crossed my fingers that the wind would ease pretty quickly and we could set more sail.
This in fact proved to be the case though it is still pretty windy, about force 6-7, so now we have the staysail set as well as the triple reefed mainsail. The forecast is for the wind to back into the SW and ease to 15 knots and then increase back up to 25 knots, which should make for a good fast run for old Sylph towards the Falklands and into the South Pacific.
Meanwhile, Coconut presses on making best speed for the Horn. Fifty knot winds are forecast to overtake Coconut in the vicinity of the Horn around sunrise on Saturday 12th. Hopefully he will be able to tuck in behind the Wollaston Group before the worst hits.
I’m a bit tired so I hope all the above makes sense. Time for an afternoon nap.
All is well.