The wild ride continues
07 October 2021 | 22 12.270'S:168 20.490'E, At sea from Fiji to Brisbane
22 12.270 S
168 20.490 E
Weather; squally, wind 5 - 26 knots, waves 1.5 - 3 meters
I thought that yesterday was a wild ride but the last 24 hours beat it by a margin. During the daylight hours we bashed our way through rough seas with very gusty winds reaching 26 knots coming mostly from on the nose, is there any other direction one wonders! We were slipping water over the bow with every bounce and the gun whale were constantly awash. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if the swell was only coming from one direction but we were stuck between a very confused sea coming at us from two totally opposed directions and the waves managed to hit us in sequence sending us flying in one direction then being tossed back the other way before we had time to getting our footings from the first roll. It was certainly a day to spend sitting in the cockpit and holding on for grim death. Unfortunately the boat speed wasn't correspondingly good, as the wind was on the nose we were slow moving and lucky if we were making 4 knots, a lot less at times! to this end we had no opt
ion but to run the engine to keep up a speed which kept us moving forward, any less than 4 knots and we would lose steerage and begin wallowing all over the place. The wind gusts got to the point of being too frequent to be classed as just an occasional gust and we put the second reef in the main, more to stop it from blowing out than to stop it from pushing us along. this, of course, wasn't the weather that was predicted for today, we were meant to be getting 17 knots on the beam which would have been quite pleasant and would have afforded us a decent sail, no one was surprised! Late in the afternoon there was a small change in wind direction, it was heading towards the beam but oh so slowly. The sea swell lagged a bit behind the wind change so we still rocked and pitched like a fairground carousel. Gerry thankfully doesn't get too affected by motion sickness and dealt with throwing together all of the meals for the day, by that I mean grabbing them out of the freezer and h
eating them up Ð I had precooked enough meals to get us all the way to Brisbane without me having to chop a single vegetable or piece of meat, thank goodness. Moving about anywhere on the boat was a bruise collector's nightmare, there are things that jump out at you at the most unexpected of moments and in places that you would never dream of being so sharp and vindictive, the collection is growing but I still haven't managed to acquire a single bruise that beats Lorie's hand one Ð that's a bruise of historic proportions!
So the sun set was obliterated by a sudden cloud line which appeared on the horizon just in time to prevent us witnessing the (mythical) green flash. This cloud line dispersed very quickly and we were left with a totally clear sky filled with thousands of twinkling stars, for the first time this trip we were both damn cold and resorted to wearing hoodies and closing up the cockpit to retain whatever heat there was. The wind began to die away and to make its way further towards the beam, it would take most of the night to finally get there. Gradually the swell joined in and thankfully began to drop away as well making the ride so much smoother that we could manage to get some sleep in between our watches. The sun rose and we thought we were in for a nice sunny day but the sky has gradually filled with cloud and we now have just a few patches of blue peeping between the clouds. The wind has finally reached its prediction and we have about 17 knots of wind on the beam with the s
well now at about 1.8 meters. Currently we have the Yankee and the stay sail out with the main no longer reefed and we are sailing along, engine free, at 7.2 knots. We managed to cover 118 NM (this seems to be the average every day at the moment in these conditions) but to get there we ran the engine for 21 hours. We hear on a daily basis from the other 3 boats that we started out with, everyone is having similar experiences of wind and swell even though we are completely out of sight and radio range of each other, it will be interesting to hear on arrival of each other's trip experience and compare bruises. Gerry did a walk about round the interior of the boat this morning and was distressed to find that we have slipped a heap of water inside the boat via the Dorades, these have now been turned to face away from the bow Ð a bit late as the horse has already bolted and we have a lot of mopping up and drying out of stuff to do.