Day 114 – Light Breeze

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 6 Apr 2022 07:51
Noon Position: 33 25.6 S 079 34.1 E
Course: NNE Speed: 3 knots
Wind: S F3 Sea: slight
Swell: SW 2m / NE 1m
Weather: cloudy, warm
Day’s Run: 27nm

We continued to drift.

Down dropt the breeze,
the sails dropt down,
’Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

Fortunately, unlike the Ancient Mariner, we have not been fated to drift “day after day … As idle as a painted ship / Upon a painted ocean.” (One has to mention the Ancient Mariner every now and again.) At 0345 I awoke to a change. I listened. All was quiet but the motion seemed different. Perhaps the swell had dropped. It was too dark to see the Australian flag on the backstay from my bunk so I got up to have a look around. I could feel a faint breeze coming down the companionway. Shining a torch on the flag, it was fluttering gently. Definitely worth setting some sail to. I donned my Uggies, went on deck and set all plain sail for a beam reach on the port tack to the gentle W’ly breeze.
We have held the breeze since, though at 0855 it backed into the WSW, so we altered course to bring the wind aft onto the port quarter, poling the jib out to port. At 1020 the wind had eased a little and backed further into the south. Sylph was starting to roll in the swell and with the lighter breeze the mainsail was starting to complain. I gybed to bring the dominant swell more directly astern and hopefully to reduce the roll. I am pleased to say that thus far it has worked and we have managed to continue a peaceful sail with only the occasional grumble from the mainsail.
It is an odd swell running at the moment. I reckon the main swell is coming from the SW and a secondary swell from the opposite direction, the NE. They obviously interact with one another, sometimes with null points and sometimes creating a tall almost standing, ie stationary, wave. Fortunately each swell is only a meter or so in height and fairly long so they aren’t causing any serious interference to Sylphs progress.
This forenoon I baked a loaf of bread. I reckon I really need to start pulling the engine apart if I am to have any chance of salvaging it, but it is not a job I am looking forward to. This afternoon, I tell myself.
All is well.