Flummoxed by the Coming Lows

May 23, 2019

Day 230

Noon Position: 36 30N 59 08W

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

Wind(t/tws): NxW 15 – 20

Sea(t/ft): NW 10

Sky: Overcast

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1021

Cabin Temp(f): 70

Water Temp(f): 71

Relative Humidity(%): 50

Sail: #2 genoa and main, two tucks, close reaching.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 112

Miles since departure: 30,587

Avg. Miles/Day: 133

Leg North Miles: 7,428

Leg North Days: 64

Avg. Miles/Day: 116

Though the Pilot Charts suggest my route is a fair one, reality appears to be otherwise. My sense is that I made the turn north too soon, and that, combined with a cold spring, mean I’m out of position with the approaching lows, both of which are contrary coming and going.

How to slice them has flummoxed me all day. I run and rerun each new forecast trying to find the optimal path, and I just don’t see one.

The first is the larger of the two, and the most obvious strategy is to ride its southerlies to the north and east. But if I do that, I end up in the heart of the beast with forty knot winds that do an about face and blow from the north at forty the next day.

The wind velocity doesn’t worry me so much as the direction shift with high wind. Seas are, even now, pretty muscly. Far more importantly, by the time the low has passed, I’ll be east and downwind of St John’s.

To ride the winds out and down, say to the east and then southeast presents the same problem. And if I don’t make significant northing in this first low, then I have the same problem with the second.

Fifteen-thousand miles below 40S never presented this kind of problem, but then down there we were riding on top of the lows, not trying to carve a path through them.

By noon today Mo was already further east than I like, so l tacked around and have been sailing due west for several hours.

Tentative: I may sail due north on the coming southerlies and then ride out the northerlies on drogue. Not ideal as it puts me in the way of the second low.

When not running routing scenarios, I got the boat ready for heavy weather again. The dorade vents are now covered with their stainless steel plates; the floor boards are screwed down, the bilges are dry.

In the afternoon I gave Monte a little spa treatment by running new tiller and vane lines and tightening up on various nuts and bolts.

One Comment on “Flummoxed by the Coming Lows

  1. This morning, Sunday 26th, on the so-reliable tracker, see you have done well, on your sea anchor, with patience and fortitude. Hope you have a good onward passage now to St Johns, with seas moderating by the day. BTW the tracker view of the Gulf Stream is great, so helpful to us safe on shore!

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