Escape From The Blob

Dubbel Zout at Sea
Nik Ormseth
Thu 26 Jan 2023 20:57
After calms on Tuesday, the wind started to return in the early morning on Wednesday.  That scuttled any thoughts we had of going swimming, but we were happy to make that tradeoff.  The breeze was light and flukey, but we had a visit from a whale (pic below), and later in the day it developed into lovely sailing, across majestic, sweeping swells.
Unfortunately, The Blob wasn’t done with us.  

When I came on watch at 2am this morning (Thursday), we had light wind boxing the compass and short, steep chop hitting us from every direction.  At one point, our GPS showed our course over the ground to be directly opposite our heading — i.e. we were going backwards.  At another, we turned 360° over the span of five minutes without changing tack.

Sailing in those conditions is challenging; it’s even worse in the dark, when you can’t see many of the indicators that might help you trim and adjust. The apparent wind created by the rocking overwhelms the real breeze, so you can’t trust your wind instruments. I was starting to feel like a lab rat in a maze with nothing but dead ends. :-(

Finally after about 2.5 hours, I figured out a sail trim that allowed a little bit of momentum on a heading that at least wasn’t adding to our distance from St. Lucia.  I handed over to Damian, who cajoled that bleak accomplishment into real progress over the course of his watch.  The sea state is still a mess, but it’s nearly sunset on Thursday now and we’ve been at 4-6 knots on a westerly heading since 8am.
If conditions right now weren't so similar to last night, I’d be pretty confident we’ve finally escaped The Blob.  But given last night’s experience, I’m withholding  any declaration for at least a day!