A Blow Approaches

“About five years ago our fall weather started getting worse and worse.” –Adam, Professional fisherman friend of mine from Homer.

So then it seems only right that we would see at least one good blow.

Busy days of late. I am focused on sailing, weather, navigation (and sleep) and so will need to keep this short. Harmon reports he’s able to keep up his side of the story telling, so I’ll rely on his blog to keep you going for a few days. 

We are preparing and positioning for a strong low due to arrive our position 36 hours hence. You have likely seen this coming if you have been scrolling forward in Windy, for example. We’ve been watching its approach for the last several days and so are doing our best to work into its northerly quadrant. 

For this, winds have been favorable. Strong SW winds yesterday and overnight gave us a run of 164 very wet, very rough but very happily accepted miles. We took this wind on port quarter with triple reefs in the genoa and main. It took some time to get the boat, sails, Monte balance, but once found, we flew. The day before, 150 fast, close reaching miles. Today I’ve budgeted for 140 miles but am betting on 150+, close hauled due N in 25 – 30 knots WNW. This will put us within about 140 rhumb line miles of Kodiak by the time the low arrives. That may be the closest we get. 

Winds in this system are forecast to be 40+ from the NW for about 12 hours. In our favor, a) the shortness of duration of the blow in our area; b) we are somewhat in the “lee” of Kodiak Island; the fetch is not of great distance and c) the steady wind direction means we won’t have to contend with multiple wave trains.

The plan is to run off to the E for the duration of high winds and then bend as best we can to the NE, a sad prospect as it will likely put Kodiak (an unofficial, much coveted first stop) out of reach. 

Such is sailing, especially sailing in the Gulf of Alaska in the fall.

Noon position today…look for the red X. WNW wind was just filling, is now 25-28. Egg beater. Positions with dates are my projections. Anything past one day is highly conjectural, but one does have to plan.

Just before midnight on the 16th is when the gale arrives at our position. The Sept 16 position here is noon, so we hope to be half a day (70 miles?) above and to the W when the fun starts. You can see the wind shadow cast by Kodiak Island. Would that we had another day to get well into that.

5 Comments on “A Blow Approaches

  1. One hand for the ship always especially in foul weather. Take care! All your fans are right there with you!!! Steady on Randall and Harmon!!

  2. Exciting times! At least from where I am comfortably seated. Be safe and God Speed!

  3. soldier the waves and keep plugging along to Kodiak. I am so comfortable being arm chair sailor for now. All the best in the blow

  4. I had asked during the Figure 8 voyage why you complained more about high pressure doldrums than low pressure big blows. You had answered because you never know when you are going to get out of the doldrums. Keep that in mind as this one hits, lows are better than highs, and enjoy the “fun?!?” Go get ‘‘em boys.

  5. Reminds of the complex low we encountered on our way south from Fiji to New Zealand…we laid a hull for 24 hours with seas as tall as our mast…definitely not a fun time but all ended well in the end. Hope you do as well or better!

Leave a Reply