Day 182 – Flogging Sails

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 13 Jun 2022 06:49
Noon Position: 37 10.6 S 107 56.4 E
Course: ENE Speed: 5 knots
Wind: NW Force 3
Sea: slight Swell: SW 2m
Weather: cloudy, mild
Day’s Run: 124 nm

It has been a tiring and frustrating night. The forecast was for W’ly winds of 15 knots and I was looking forward to a relaxing night running square and steady before a moderate breeze but, instead, the winds fell light and variable and with the steep lumpy swell Sylph rolled in a somewhat porcine fashion.
As mentioned yesterday, we are wanting to get past Cape Leeuwin by the 17th when an intense low pressure system passes to its south. Consequently, I have wanted to keep Sylph moving and to this end have endured slatting sails during the night whereas ordinarily I would have handed the main and proceeded under reduced headsail until the wind picked up. I tried all sorts of things to reduce the flogging the sails and rig were getting; I altered course to try and put the dominant swell aft, I altered course and adjusted sail trim to try to increase the apparent wind, I gybed, I put the pole up, I dropped the pole, I reefed and unreefed, but mostly to little avail. At 0940 this morning the wind was little more than a zephyr and I gave up. I dropped the main, left the headsail poled out to port wrapped up on its foil so it wouldn’t flog and retired below for some sleep.
I arose again just after 11 and found that there was a small breeze from NW and Sylph was drifting away to the SE. I donned boots and got the main back up and Sylph back onto an ENE heading. I am happy to say that the breeze has filled in and we are now making good six knots again under full sail.
The forecast has the wind steadily increasing this afternoon and picking up to 35 knots later tonight. That should get Sylph moving.
All is well.