Day 62 - Swells

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 13 Feb 2022 17:34
Noon Position: 50 35.5 S 055 01.8 W
Course: ENE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: NNW, F7 Sea: moderate
Swell: NNW 4 meters & SW 2 meters
Weather: overcast, cool
Day's Run: 145 nm (115 made good)

We jogged and jostled along for about two hours off Volunteer Point just north of Port Stanley but even though we were within two miles of the coast, a short sea was running and the motion was very uncomfortable. I decided we would be more comfortable offshore running before a 40 knot wind then close in amongst this jumbled mess. So at 1450 I brought Sylph's head around to the NNE, poled out a little bit of jib to port and continued on our way. On settling things down I found that our course was too far north so at 1600 we gybed, which with a poled out jib is a bit of a chore. The wind did not in fact pick up to the predicted 40 knots and by 2000 we were running before a force 6 (about 25 knots) with two reefs in the main and 40% jib poled to starboard.
We continued like this for the rest of the night. During my periodic checks through the night it became apparent that the wind was veering and that Sylph was following it which made her course more or less east. I chastised myself, I really should get out on deck and gybe and get Sylph back round onto a NE'ly heading, but the wind howled and the spray crashed all about (well, not really, but I really did not want to leave the warmth of my bunk). As usual Sylph was handling things just fine and I decided I would get some more sleep and deal with the necessary course adjustments at first light.
0615 is a little after first light but that is when I managed to drag myself out of my cosy bunk, don foul weather gear and proceed on deck to get Sylph back on the desired heading. I dropped the pole, set full jib to starboard and shook a reef out of the main, then went below to fill out the log and have breakfast. The sun was shining and it looked like it might turn out to be a nice day.
Unfortunately it hasn't. The wind has freshened again to force 7, the sun has disappeared behind the usual veil of grey stratus, and there are two major swells running, one from the SW and the other from the NNE. Combined they add up to about five tp six meters. Sylph rolls comfortable to each of the individual swells but when they combine, which seems to occur with a period of about 40 seconds, she rolls heavily to starboard. As she does so the wind accelerates over the top of the swell which tends to heel her over even further, to an average angle of about 40 degrees. As a consequence I have reduced sail down to a triple reefed main and the staysail and we are only making good a course a little north of east.
The wind is forecast to increase further during the day but around midnight it is expected to back into the SW, which will allow Sylph to run off to the NE again and hopefully allow for a relatively comfortable night.
I got through to Coconut this morning on HF radio but unfortunately communications were poor. I managed to understand that Mark was commencing a transit of the Le Maire Strait so we kept the conversation brief. Hopefully we will have better communications this afternoon and hopefully by then Coconut will be safe on the northern side of Staten Island.
All is well.