DAY-160 24hr Run=64 nm.Position:Lat.40*46’S.Long.130*12’W Weather=Wind=N 7-10kts. Seas=4-6ft. Cabin Temp=66*-68*. Bar=1010mb
DAY-161 24hr Run=87 nm Position:Lat.40829’s. Long.129*19’W Weather=Wind= N-NE. 5-40+kntos Seas=N-NE 8-15 feet Cabin Temp=66*-68*. Bar=989mb.Wind
DAY-162 24hr Run=142 nm Position:Lat.39*11’S.Long.127*30’W. Weather=Wind N-SW. 18-40+ knots Seas SW 15-20 feet Cabin Temp 64*-69* Bar=996mb
Total Miles sailed so far=20,938nm.
Miles sailed last 3-days=292nm.
Miles left to go to turn North=814nm.
THE REST OF THE STORY:
Today is a cloudy day with light WNW winds, and early on, this day, the barometer remains steady at 1010 mb.
I’m waiting for the once fast moving low moving at 30kts. that is coming down from the NW, and it appears to be slowing down to 15kts. and passing just above me, or on top of me.
I must admit that this reminds me of when I was in the 6th grade and had shinned a kid while playing soccer during first recess, and he challenged me to a fight after school, and I had agreed to meet him in one corner of the field out behind the school. Well, all day long I watched the clock and it must have been every half hour in my mind I fought this kid over and over again.
At last the final school bell rang and I and my buddy went to the far corner of the field to wait for the kid. Wouldn’t you know it he never showed up, which was alright with me, as it must have been with him, as he never looked me up again.
Now once again I find myself watching the clock and the barometer for the fight that is yet to come. I know I must tack to the north when the 30kt. East winds come, but for now it is a “waiting game”.
The day of reckoning is upon us, as the winds steadily build and the barometer plunges towards the bottom.
It was just after dinner that my course started heading more to the south, and with the rising winds I decided to drop the main sail down.
I tacked over on to the starboard tack, now pounding to weather on a heading of 345* giving up progress to the east. The seas are rising now 10-12ft and Sailors Run Bashes head long into them.
(Sometimes I think an off shore cruising yacht should have a “Tums” dispenser both fore and aft.)
Now I wonder, have I tacked too soon giving up hard earned miles and how long will this continue.
After just 30-minutes the winds are blowing 30kts, and after one hour they are gusting over 40kts, and even though it is dark and time to sleep the Jefe’ gets none.
I squirm in my bunk the safest place in bad weather, and wonder by heading directly into this low what kind of “Pandora’s box” have I opened.
Sailors Run has been my “war horse” so many times on this voyage, and I feel my stomach muscles tense as she vaults of a huge wave and comes crashing down into the face of the next one; the mast shudders and the entire hull vibrates, and I wonder just how many times can she with stand this brutal punishment.
I question myself is there not something I can do to ease Sailors Run’s struggle. After two hours we are sailing due north and sometimes making 20-degrees of east actually gaining some ground, but at what seems like a huge risk of catastrophic failure, in the deteriorating circumstances.
I run through the abandon ship drill in my mind, May Day, Get out quick bag, Gumby suit(a full emersion suit),Deploy life raft.
It was after being launched off one particularly large wave where we grabbed a lot of air and crashed into the trough, slamming me down hard on my berth, and then sending a horrendous shuddering through the boat, that I finally said that’s it, and rolled out of my berth and suited up to go top side.
Once in the cock pit I hurriedly altered our course away from the wind and waves by about 10-degrees. I can’t fall off too much for fear of taking a large breaking wave on the beam and getting knocked down or worse, rolled all the way over.
Once safely below decks I check the barometer and it is now reading 990mb, and we are obviously beating through the squall filled outer wall of the low. I wonder how long it will take to reach the core of the low.
This all started about 6pm and at 2am suddenly the wind appears to have stopped and all is quiet below. I go top side to see what is going on and find that we are back winded in a moderate 17 kt breeze from the North. I trim the sails in as they should be and reset the wind-vane and we are now sailing almost due east in a nice breeze with confused seas that slam into us from all sorts of directions, but they are smaller seas, and Sailors Run takes them in stride.
We are now sailing inside the low, and the barometer is reading 986mb. The low is moving over us and I wonder how long before the back of the low’s wall will overtake us.
Soon I collapse into a deep sleep.
After Four hours its 10am, and my eyes pop open, and I find we are sailing along nicely to the east and the barometer is still at 986mb.
Suddenly at 3pm our world changes, as the back wall strikes us, and the winds go to the SW30-40+kts and the mizzen comes down and we sail on a broad reach under staysail alone, hitting 7kts at times.
The seas are higher now reaching 20ft. this happens because in the Southern Ocean there is almost always a SW swell running 6-10ft, and when you apply 40kts of wind to those swells they grow rapidly into storm force waves.
Sailors Run’s cockpit is filled several times by waves breaking over the stern, and several rogue waves strike us on the beam forcing a small amount of water below decks at times.
When Sailors Run runs before these following seas it remains fairly comfortable below decks, and I can actually sleep “sometimes”.
Riding out the” blow” the Jefe’.