Sailing to Windward
08 March 2010
I've been beating (sailing) dead to windward for three days now (this means sailing a zig-zag course against the wind, covering a much greater distance than you would if the wind was with you) in Force 4-6. While it enjoyable for the first few hours, after a couple of days it's about as exciting as watching paint dry (but less comfortable). The more wind, the bouncier the ride, the more waves across the deck, the more humid it gets below with all the ports closed.
When one of the frequent squalls (temporary high winds) hit and changed the wind so it was no longer coming right from where I wanted to go, it was great! Even if the favorable wind direction was only for many hours, it was great while I had it. I am sailing in the strong breezes that are north of the area where the gale I'd mentioned avoiding was.
Last night, just after midnight, another squall, a Force 8 one this time, changed the wind direction back to straight ahead. You can't get much rest when there are squalls about, as every time one hits you have to either reduce sail, or be ready to, so you pretty much need to be on deck or in the doghouse (shelter where the door to the cabin is on this boat). After the wind changed to no longer be favorable, I set the boat to fore-reach (sail very slowly) with a triple-reefed mainsail and the storm jib, and slept until the squalls stopped. While fore-reaching, the boat went away from the destination by several miles, but it was worth it, as it is much easier to deal with sailhandling when rested and when the wind is more constant.