Day 98 – Gale

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 21 Mar 2022 11:09
Noon Position: 45 57.7 S 045 13.1 E
Course: E Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind: NW, F7 Sea: moderate
Swell: WNW 3 m
Weather: overcast, showers, cool
Day’s Run: 150

I closed yesterday’s entry looking forward to the possibility of lighter winds and easier conditions but on opening Wayne’s weather email I was dismayed to see that the forecast for the evening had changed to 40 knots. It was only for a three hour period or so, but there is a big difference between 35 knots and 40 knots. Certainly the mainsail would have to come down. So, a little downhearted, I clambered into my foul weather gear to make preparations. I rolled up more jib, set the staysail and dropped the main. In doing checks on deck I noticed that the brass control knob I had made for the wind vane self-steering had a lot of play in it. I made a temporary fix by threading some 3mm cord around it to hold it more firmly in place. I will need some fairer weather with Sylph on a beam reach before I can make more effective repairs.
Another problem that has arisen in the last couple of days is that the main battery bank is running very low and my charging options are limited. The engine isn’t running, the sky is mostly overcast so the solar panels are only adding a very small amount of charge, and it is too rough to run the portable genset on deck without risking it getting saturated with a breaking wave. So we really need to get back into some sunnier weather.
As for the crew, not much change there. The infection has knocked me around a little and I think, that in addition to charging the batteries, we need to get back into warmer climes, a bit of sunshine and lighter winds to help recharge the crew's spirits. I am more than happy to give the Iles Crozet a miss but at the moment the fresh NW breeze and large swell is preventing us from making much ground to the north.
While the wind has veered more into the NW, I am happy that it has at least eased a bit. We are now running with the wind on our port quarter with the triple reefed mainsail back up and a bit more jib unrolled out on the pole. So conditions are a lot more comfortable than they were yesterday.
All is well.