11 June 2011 | 20.5N; 151W
That was a rough night last night. I was going to do a blog on 'Squall Management 101', talking about the nuances of managing the squalls that are so prevalent in this part of the ocean. But after last night....
It all started when I got up for my 2130-0030 watch. I took over from Jim and the wind started to pipe up. We were on a double-reefed main a double-reefed jib. Sparing you the details, by the time Jim came on his watch at 0030, we were on the double-reefed main and NO jib. I gradually furled and furled it till it was completely furled! The wind just kept building. With Jim's inexperience at the wheel, and with the wind up big time, I knew I couldn't let go of the helm. It was going to be a double-shift kind of night.
Jim stayed up with me and watched and learned and kept me awake while I tweaked Otto. The wind was so streaky taht it required constant attention. Finally around 0200 -- after 4 1/2 hours at the helm -- I packed it in. We put a triple reef in the main and ran under just taht alone during Jim's watch. I figure the wind was around 30k with gust to maybe 35k. With our wind instrument out, we really don't know for sure. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!! :-)
Jim came and got me at 0400 to relieve him. I was dead tired from the previous watch with our boat going like gangbusters down the waves and me trying to keep it all together and upright. Finally, around 0430 I ran up the white flag and turned the boat into the wind and hove to.
It was my first time heaiving to, so I was interested in how that was all going to go down. When you heave to (on this boat), you put up a triple-reefed main and tie the wheel off to bring the boat up into the weather. The boat lay at about a 50 degree angle to the wind, which it was supposed to. So that part was good. But it is also to stop dead in the water and drift aimlessly directly downwind. The slick its drift causes flattens the water out (theoretically) and you ride out the storm in relative comfort.
But for fin keels such as ours, that is easier said than done. The boat was designed to move, and that is what she did. She crept forward ever so slightly, but just enough to not form that slick. So I have some more practicing to do on heaving to. As it was it was pretty rocky down below. But we were so beat that both of us passed out. I didn't waken till 0700 when I got back under way again in 20k of breeze. Jim eventually joined me around 0830.
It was an interesting experience (heaving to). But right now we are still in sleep deprivation and doing what we can to play catch up. We also changed our plans to head for Lahaina, Maui instead of Hilo. It makes no sense to gybe south for Hilo just to turn around again and head north. Instead of arriving in Hilo Sunday morn, we expect to make Lahaina Sun. afternoon.