Day 15-17

Carlile Adventures
Mark Carlile
Thu 19 Oct 2006 08:14
When I had to go to the bow with waves breaking over me I knew I was in rough weather.

I've gone through my first rough weather and it wasn't without incident. For the past three days, I have been moving fast trying to avoid a low pressure system. I had to run 300 miles to get out of it. I missed the centre of the storm to the north of me. However, I did catch the edge of it. The low pressure system deepened each day. This means the storm was getting bigger. As it grew, it would catch up with me.

I had numerous severe squalls (heavy rain with sever wind gusts lasting 10 minutes - 30 minutes). The wind got up to 35knots with gusts of up to 50 knots. The seas were 4-5 metres high and coming from two directions. I was glad to miss the centre of this storm. To avoid the storm, I also had to still move quickly. I had minimal sail up (4 reefs in the main, and one quarter headsail). I maintained an average of almost 5 knots.

As I said,n it wasn't without incident. Just before the peak of the bad weather, I was sure I could here banging. It sounded as though there was banging on the hull. I thought I was dragging something that was hooked around the keel. I looked over the side and couldn't see anything. I went back inside. I listened again and thought I might be starting to hear things with paranoia setting in. There are lots of bangs on the hull from the waves.
A few hours later, I was sure I could hear banging again. This time I thought I would definitely track it down. Waves had been breaking over the boat the whole time this was happening. I knew I had to make a closer inspection of the hull. I clipped on with the harness, and ventured forward. As I approached the starboard bow, I peered over the side, and could see the problem. The anchor had come out of its secure slot in the bow, and had popped out and was dangling by about half a metre. The banging had been the anchor hitting the hull up high. I had to rectify this straight away as the repeated banging could lead to a breach in the hull. I clawed my way forward on hands and knees up to the anchor well up at the very front of the boat. In side the well, the anchor had chain come away from its secure mounts. The force of the water must had worked the anchor loose. I pulled with all my might on the chain as the waves rolled over me and the anchor came back into place. I secured it all up again ensuring not to have a repeat. I will inspect for damage in the morning. I went back to the cabin drenched.

In these rough conditions, sleep is near impossible. The best I could do was a 20 minute stretch. I had about 3-4 hours sleep in total over the past 3 days.

There has been a bit of water come in near the chart table and around the doorway to the cockpit. The rest of th cabin has remained dry. Unfortunately, there has been some water come in just above the main radio. I hadn't noticed this amongst the chaos. The main radio has stopped working. A quarter inch long pin, 1mm wide that connects to the radio has corroded and broken. I am attempting to repair this. It could take me up to a week put a new pin in place.

I am happy with my progress. I have decided to go east of Madeira Island for now to avoid calms on the other side of the island. This will take me closer to the Canary Islands. All of the route planning and research written in "expert" books and journals has been completely wrong so far. None of the prevailing winds have been there. The wind has been on the bows pretty much the whole time with winds coming from mainly between the West or South. I have decided to go on my judgment of the weather and ignore the manuals for a while.

Today will be a dry out and and an inspection day. I will also work on fixing the radio now that I have just woken from a good recovery sleep. A number of you have emailed. I should get a chance to reply this evening.

That's a very good morning to you from Ingrid.


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