Noon Position: 55 04S 85 03W
Course/Speed: ESE 6
Wind: W 19 – 40 (!)
Sail: Working jib, half rolled up. Wind on port quarter.
Sea: W 15
Sky: Clear, then squalls, then clear
Cabin Temp: 54 (if sunny) 49 (if not)
Water Temp: 42
Miles last 24-hours: 157
Miles since departure: 7047
Miles to Cape Horn: 547
Hodge podge of a day on all fronts.
Wind has been mostly W and WNW, allowing me to follow a rhumb line course for the Horn. But consistency of direction has been all there is by way of consistency. In fact, one rule in my brief time below 50S is that wind velocity changes constantly, and I don’t mean from day to day or even morning to afternoon, but intra-hour. My notes in the log in the wind column today: 0600 Wind W 20 – 35; 1200 W 19 – 40; 1400 W 20 – 30. Later I just started noting the max, WNW to 35; WNW to 28. Winds have been in the teens for an hour. A moment ago, 30.
Attempted some trouble shooting of Otto based on help from Dustin Fox of Fox Marine, but so far Otto is no Lazarus.
Did some fine tuning on Monte’s water paddle while underway, and I think he’s steering better now than ever. He’s got the clue that he’s it and it’s instilled a certain pride. Not a single gybe all afternoon, even in light wind astern and some very lumpy swell.
Attempted trouble shooting on the now defunct Lavac head. The problem, in a nut, is that the pump is pushing into the bowl instead of pulling from it–emphatically wrong. Strongly suggests a plug in the line I’ve yet to discover. Thus, it seems I may be at the “bucket and chuck it” method for some time. The early morning walk with the bucket from the lowest, most secure place in the boat to the rail is a very careful one.
Two nights of very good sleep. And same pattern. To my bunk by 10pm. Up once an hour for a while and then when the night looks not to contain any surprises, sleep for three and more. End sleep cycle before 6am. It has begun to get cold–49 degrees in the cabin as I type–and I’ve stuffed the light sleeping bag into the heavy one and lay them over me quilt-style. Very snug.
I haven’t figured out the hours yet, but there’s very little actual dark down here. This means that by 3am, I need to cover my eyes to stay asleep. And even at midnight there’s enough light to see the white headed petrels flying nearby.
The Big Blow
-The Windex wind vane at the top of the mast is gone.
-The wires from the port solar panel ripped out. How is beyond me as the panel has been lashed down for a week and I can find nothing to have snagged them.
-During the blow, I noticed that the straps holding the life raft in place had worked loose and the raft case was in danger of being (very) prematurely launched. Now doubly lashed.
-The aft bilge (under the cockpit) took 26 strokes of the pump to clear. When I opened the lid, there was water on the gear in the locker, so it was the locker lids that leaked when the cockpit went underwater. The lids were latched and locked shut and have (old) rubber gaskets, but I’ve never considered them as designed for full submersion. So, in my book, 26 strokes isn’t much. The anchor locker had less than a gallon to drain and the main bilge in the boat took no water.
-I have found that even sealed dorades (sealed with a screwed down stainless plate) leak when the boat takes breaking seas. I’m guessing the water squirts in through the small drain holes in the dorade box. Fixed by stuffing a rag into the vent in the boat.
-One reason for not deploying the drogue was that I didn’t want to get stuck on it (the forecast called for days of high winds). The other was that I wasn’t sure I could deploy it cleanly. Rigging the bridle with 50 knots of wind over the deck without fouling it on Monte or Wattsy or the life raft or…it just seemed simpler to raise an already set-up storm jib and get going.
-Thanks to HOOD Sailmakers for building such a strong storm jib. It took an absolute beating and even now looks as crisp as it did when first pulled from the bag. Part of the reason for its abuse was that I made the mistake of trying to sail to a course during the height of things. Specifically, I tried to carry the wind just aft of the beam. Monte really couldn’t (recall, bent tube) and so the boat would round up, and the sail would dump and beat until Monte could bring Mo’s head back down. A wave would knock us around, we’d round. Rinse, repeat. When I finally figured out I should run with the wind deep on the quarter, things got quieter immediately. I had oodles of sea room, so attempting to hold a course was greedy.
-Same for my knockdown. I was attempting to carry wind and breaking seas too close to the beam and it was a wave that caught us dead on the flank that sent us over. I’d had plenty of warning. We’d been hit hard several times. I just didn’t know how to read the signs. Do now.