Day 51 – Preparing for Heavy Wea ther

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 2 Feb 2022 19:04
Noon Position: 51 38.6 S 090 21.1 W
Course: ESE Speed: 5.5 knots
Wind: WSW, F4 Sea: slight
Swell: WSW 2.5 meters
Weather: overcast with occasional sunny patch, mild
Day’s Run: 153nm

We have continued to enjoy favourable winds and fair weather over the last 24 hours allowing Sylph to post a very respectable day’s run of just over 150 miles. During the early hours, 0250 to be precise, the wind had shifted into the WSW. We were running wing-on-wing with the jib poled to port and the wind fine off the starboard quarter. The wind shift put the sea on Sylph’s lee quarter and tended to push her stern through the eye of the wind. The consequence was that I awoke just as Sylph was going aback. I donned boots and proceeded promptly on deck but unfortunately not in time to prevent the gybe. It was no big deal, however, as the vang-preventer stops the boom from crashing across. All I had to do was to check away the preventer and allow the boom to ease across all well under control. From there I decided with the wind shift that we needed to gybe anyway, so I furled the jib, dropped the port pole, set the starboard pole and unfurled the jib on the opposite side. Once everything was secured on the new tack I went below, wrote up the log and returned to my bunk.
As mentioned yesterday, the Horn is very unlikely to allow us past without paying homage and it looks like it is setting the weather up to exact the payment. A deep low is forming about a thousand miles to the SW of us and is tracking east. I am sure it will get to us before we get around the Horn, probably in about four days time, and at this stage I don’t really see any way of avoiding it. All we can do is to try to position ourselves to minimise its impact and to prepare for heavy weather.
To this end I have been getting the drogue ready to deploy and going through my checklist of heavy weather preparations, in particular securing everything down below so that it stays in place and does not become a potential missile hazard.
However, for now the weather is very pleasant and I am enjoying the aroma of a loaf of bread baking in the oven.
Distance to Cape Horn: 840nm.
All is well.