Day 180 – Fresh Breeze

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 11 Jun 2022 05:38
Noon Position: 37 57.9 S 102 23.5 E
Course: E Speed: 6 knots
Wind: WSW Force 5
Sea: moderate Swell: SW 2m
Weather: overcast, light drizzle, cool
Day’s Run: 142 nm

Yesterday afternoon the wind eventually filled in from the north as forecast and freshened so that by sunset we were beam reaching under full sail at five knots. A cold front was expected just after midnight and during the evening the wind freshened further. At 1935 I put a reef in the main and at 2140 rolled up some of the jib to maintain a speed of around six knots.
Frontal systems can be rather exciting phenomenon especially when they arrive at night, coming upon one suddenly with major wind sheers, shifts and gusts. Not wanting to get caught out, I remained dressed in most of my foul weather gear, poking my head out the companionway on a regular basis to have a good look around for any sign of the front’s approach, ready to jump into my boots and jacket and out on deck to reduce sail as necessary. This went on all night and we actually enjoyed a pleasant sail as the front was late, not arriving until after dawn at 0720. In this instance the front’s passage was not too exciting, just an increase in wind from force five to six, a sharp backing into the SW which Sylph’s windvane was easily able to follow, and some lumpy waves as the wind went out of alignment with the seas.
While it would have been nice not to have spent most of the night up waiting for the front, I was grateful that it had arrived during daylight hours as it is so much easier to assess the situation when one can see what is going on. I soon had Sylph sorted for the new conditions – the main down to three reefs and gybed, and 40% headsail poled out to starboard with the wind fine off the starboard quarter. Since then the wind has eased a little and we are now running wing on wing with two reefs in the main and 70% jib poled out, averaging around 6.5 knots.
It feels good to be making some decent miles in the right direction with a fresh breeze abaft the beam again.
All is well.