Day 158 – Wind

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 20 May 2022 07:32
Noon Position: 12 36.7 S 094 29.4 E
Course: SSW Speed: 6.5 knotsds
Wind: ESE Force 5
Sea: moderate Swell: ESE 2 m
Weather: cloudy, hot
Day’s Run: 118 nm

At last some wind. Hooray!
We are now in the SE trades proper with a fresh force five breeze from the ESE, white horses abound, and Sylph is under a doubled reef main and 70% headsail making good six to seven knots, jumping over the waves like a young colt.
I received advice from the guru yesterday that we were going to get winds of between 15-20 knots over the next three days so at 1430, with a line of cumulonimbus clouds to windward, I changed down to the working headsail while the breeze was still light. Once I had rolled up and stowed the genoa I went for a climb aloft for one more rigging check before the wind picked up. I am pleased to say that the fore-stay clevis pin looked fine. Hopefully it will not give us any trouble but I will do further rigging checks as the weather allows.
And sure enough, at 1630 as the cumulonimbus clouds rolled over, the wind freshened and I was pleased with my timing for changing down the headsail. I was still prevaricating about whether to still try to round Cocos-Keeling Islands and with the fresh breeze now filling Sylph’s sails, at 1900 tacked to see what course we would make on the starboard tack. I was very disappointed to find that we were only making good a course of 055° which made for a tacking angle of 140 degrees, which even for old Sylph is absolutely terrible. I am not sure what the problem is but it is going to need looking into. I suspect a slack and sagging fore-stay is largely to blame but unfortunately there is no way to tighten it so we just have to make the most of the rig as it is. Clearly it was not going to be worth the trouble of bashing to windward for three or four days with a velocity made good in the order of at best two knots just for the satisfaction of rounding a solid piece of land rather than a dot on the chart. So at 1920 we tacked back onto port and eased sheets for a close reach towards our next waypoint at 30° S 090° E, now bearing 194° at 1,070 miles.
If we continue to average six knots and everything holds together we will round our next mark in seven to eight days time. And total distance to go to Adelaide is 3,560 miles. I won’t hazard a guess at an ETA just yet, not that I am particularly superstitious but I reckon to do so might be tempting fate.
All is well.