A Low at Night

December 14, 2018

Day 71

Noon Position: 44 01S  27 42W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNE 6

Wind(t/tws): ESE 22 – 26

Sea(t/ft): SE 10 – 15

Sky: Overcast

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1015, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 55

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 87

Sail: Working jib, broad reaching

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 107

Miles since departure: 9539

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

An odd experience, to have a low pass right over the top of you and then to swing around its backside.

A little after noon yesterday, our NE wind died right away. The barometer was dropping fast–997 at 6am; 987 by 2pm–so it was clear something was coming even without the forecast.

By 2pm, wind filled in lightly from the east; by 3pm, it was SE 13; by 6pm, SE 30. Overnight the range was 28 to 38 with many long gusts of 40.

I was up all night. Partly because I wanted to be available if needed; partly because all the bad stuff seems to happen when I try to sleep during a blow.

By up, I mean dozing in foulies in the pilot house or nursing a cup of tea.

Nights are cold. I stuffed myself into enough fleece layers for a polar expedition. Still cold. The cabin temp was 48. Everything I touched felt like the inside of an ice box.

When the wind went steady 35, I reefed Mo’s working sail to a nub, put her before the wind, and she rode happily with that, making an easy 6 and 7 knots.

Our couse, however, was NW, back tracking, following a line around the back side of the low as if it were a planet whose gravitational field we were using to slingshot us on our way. I wish. In truth, a low is more like a lee shore or a rock patch–a thing to be navigated around. Overnight our couse slowly arced north and then a touch east as the low worked past.

Light comes on early. By 4am I could see the seas, chunky, tall as two-story houses, and falling on themselves, but the break wasn’t serious.

I slept for two hours in the winter bag and dreamt of hot pastry fresh from the oven. Breakfast was hot (not the usual cold muesli) and big–scrambled eggs (dehydrated), hash browns (dehydrated) laid on top of last night’s beef and lentil stew. That plus two strong cups of coffee woke me up.

I’ve spent the day cleaning. For some reason, condensation has become an issued and wet is getting everywhere. Socks, boots, jackets, sleeping bags are all cold and clammy, and the floor is (was) slick with boot water (again).

Now it is evening and the wind is nearly gone. A high is rolling over us. What breeze there is will spin 180 degrees by midnight and die altogether.

Next low arrives tomorrow with strong north winds backing to NW. That should finally return us to a course with some easting in it.

2 Comments on “A Low at Night

  1. Too bad there’s not some solar type contraption that stores energy and then can be used later to dry out condensation. Maybe I just don’t know about one. 🤷‍♀️

  2. Your breakfast reminded me of what Tristan Jones used to eat which was bugaroo – just something that stayed on the stove and kept adding different things to as it got low i.e. disgusting! And you claim to come from one of the gastronomic centres of America. How can you call youself a San Fanciscan?

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