Of Scandals and a First Blow

November 10, 2018

Day 37

Noon Position: 33 01S  124 15W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ESE 5 – 6

Wind(t/tws): SWxW 7 – 10

Sea(t/ft): S7 (big swell; not from here)

Sky: Broken cumulus and strato cumulus. A sky that means trouble.

10ths Cloud Cover: 8

Bar(mb): 1010, falling. 1006 by 6pm.

Cabin Temp(f): 70

Water Temp(f): 65

Relative Humidity(%): 55

Sail: Big genoa and main, plus the lowered cradle cover. Close hauled.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 128

Miles since departure: 4758

Avg. Miles/Day: 129

Winds are light from the SW, and into them we reach steadily SE. But the long, slow swell coming up to meet us is large enough to steal our wind when we’re in its troughs. Here the sails spill and go limp and then slap full when we crest. Over and over. Hard on the gear.

In the morning, I open the larger genoa and scandalized the main, now a favorite trick in very light going. All I do is lower the windward panel of the cradle cover, which adds about 30 square feet of oomph

To scandalize a sail is to lower it part way (without reefing) or raise it part way by raising the boom. So, technically, my trick is no sandal, but it is certainly unorthodox.

And the two combined actions gave us just enough speed to avoid some of the slap and bang.

By way of indicating how much more southing we need to make before weathering the Figure 8’s first big cape, here are some comparisons.

When we saw our first albatross the other day, Mo and I were at 30S, and I went on and on about how “we’re finally in the South.” But how far south is 30S?

Well, in northern latitude terms, it’s like being in Houston, Texas, which no one would consider to be very far north at all.

And, in northern latitude terms, how much further is Cape Horn?

The Cape lies at 56S. A good northern equivalent is Sitka, Alaska, at 56N.

Houston to Sitka is quite a road trip.

In other words, we’ve got a ways yet.

As un-south as this latitude may be, it is about to deliver our first southern blow.

Right in our path is a fast developing low that starts to come together tonight and really tightens up into tomorrow, when the forecast calls for winds to 40 at the low’s center. If Mo maintains current course and speed (now SE at 7), we’ll dive right through the middle of it.

And if one is in doubt about the forecast, he need only glance at the barometer (down four points since noon) and look beyond Mo’s bows, where sits a grim and foreboding sky.

My scandal is tidied up. The big genoa is furled. The #2 is rigged for easy reefing (both sheets to leeward and through separate blocks–one suited for full; the other for reefs).

Now we plough forward and see what happens.

Extra credit: I covered the dorade vents during a lull today. Each vent has a round, stainless steel cap that blocks the top opening and prevents water (and air, sadly) from getting into the dorage box. In very heavy going, the box can become overwhelmed by a sea and pump water into the cabin, which the cover prevents. It seems a bit early for this, except for the coming low.

5 Comments on “Of Scandals and a First Blow

  1. “Scandalizing” the main yet it appears that you still have the jib furled. If you need more sail why not unfurl the jib before moving on to scandal? Regardless, pretty cool idea.

  2. Love using the boom cover as almost a “water sail” – an extra sail added below the boom to catch the low-down airs! BTW in the pic, the main outhaul looks too hard, easing it a fraction might help in light airs – but it may be too much trouble! Are you hearing Jean Luc Van De Velde yet – he is about 1000 nm SE of you?

  3. We are all hands on deck, with you, for the blow to come! Hang in there, Randall, a prelude to what more is to come. Good move covering the dorade vents. CARRONADE took enough water down her vents in the 40S, and the sea water killed the Zenith Transoceanic, their only means of getting a time tick for navigation back in 1967 heading for the Horn. A tilley lamp on the open back of the radio after a little cup of fresh water, and voila, that great radio was up and running again!!! You do what you have to do. But all the dorade vents were tightly capped after that knock down!!!

  4. Love the ‘scandal’ lesson and use of the sail cover – very clever. Was this by chance an “accidental” discovery?

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