A Black Night with Rain

January 26, 2019

Day 114

Noon Position: 43 26S  120 52E

We’d done 146 miles as of noon.

I woke to find that Wattsy’s (the hydrogenerator’s) down haul had parted in the night. The unit dragged at the stern, luckily. I’m always afraid I’ll come on deck one morning to find it washed away.

We were still short 30 amp hours of charge, so I spent the time directly after coffee hanging over the stern. Fresh weather for such an exercise. I had to lie down in a puddle of deck wash. Right arm got dunked up to the elbow by a sea, but beyond that, I got away clean.

By noon, the low friction ring that holds the down haul in place had come un-lashed from the unit. Again I found it dragging from the stern. By then wind was in the low 30s and I had other things to think about.

Namely, speed. We were going too fast; even with a four-reef jib we were punching a hole in that low that would arrive on the marrow. I needed to slow down. By 2pm seas were steep and bullying, and we’d been knocked hard once by a gusher. A certain chaotic look to breakers. Nothing too serious, but I decided to deploy the Shark drogue, a slowing drogue, by design, before things got more difficult. Besides, I wanted to test it before the arrival of the big low.

The Shark swam by 3pm. Immediately our speeds went from 7 and 8 knots and more when surfing to 4 and 5; 6 and 7 when surfing. The slow-down was comforting. The ride felt gentle. Moreover, there was perceptible stabilizing effect with drag astern. Seas that came crashing aboard didn’t bowl us over. Nice surprise: Monte could steer at those slower speeds with the stabilizing effect of the drogue.

Rode it all night. Downside: as winds subsided, Mo became abominably rolly. I could have helped things by flying more sail. Slept instead. Another: the line became twisted way up and into the bridle. I was concerned it would twist all the way TO Monte, but I checked it every hour, and that didn’t happen.

A black night with rain. I visited the deck several times to make adjustments to Monte. In the wee hours I saw eery glowing tubes in the water. At first I thought they were resting birds, but I could see them glimmer in the inky darkness even past the range of the of running lights. None quite close enough to get a flash light down to them, except I could barely see this pointy, oblong object from about a foot to two feet in length. When there were many, they were separated by 20 – 30 feet and more on both sides of Mo. I presume squid but don’t know.

4 Comments on “A Black Night with Rain

  1. Is the shark drogue the only drag device you have aboard? I’m very curious to hear more of your thoughts on the pros and cons of using it. How was retrieving it after it twisted?

  2. Thanks for the post, sounds like you are ready for what comes. The low friction ring and wattsy failure, ouch. I will be curious to learn how much,what type and what size extra,rope you carry. Stay relaxed

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