800 MILES TO CHRISTMAS-REINFORCEMENTS
16 August 2011 | Paralleling the Indonesian Coast
As the doldrums of last week recede behind me, I am in the clutches of good strong trade winds. For a few days now, I have been enjoying 10-15 knots of wind pushing me, conservatively rigged with only a jib, at about 5-7kts. However, the latest GRIB files which are a graphic representation of wind and waves, forecast that in the next few days, the waves will reach a rather high 12 feet. If the winds remain as they are, it will be fine. But if the winds increase, we could get into a surfing situation similar to the one off Swain Reef that broke into the bimini top.
So I have been busy with a couple of projects. The first is to devise a way to bring down the jib , to reef the jib, should the winds become strong, without turning Shearwater into the wind. The problem with turning to face the wind is it stops the boat completely, heads it into the wind and the usual accompanying crashing waves. The sails go mad...flapping wildly doing damage to themselves and anything in their path ie ME! So, before dark tonight, in anticipation of the waves ahead, I will be testing that system for real.
The second project has been to 'reinforce' the side bimini windows. If I was to get a direct hit from a wave from the side, the windows could let go drenching major electronic components and engine controls all in the cockpit. So with series of lines, I have crisscrossed the windows on the inside thereby giving support should they get a mighty push from the outside.
So, always lots to do to keep us rolling-after all, Christmas is approaching.