Fifty

Autumn cruise, post 7

Fifty.

Fifty miles an hour of wind is a lot of wind….50 knots is even more by the way !

WABI’’’’ real time : hove to under storm forestaysail, the Horn is 30 miles under our lee…dead to leeward. If the storm doesn’t abate we’ll have to up-helm and run for it…maybe try for shelter in one of the channels to the east of Isla Cabo de Hornos.

I am joking by the way and no, you haven’t stepped into the parallel WABI’’’’ universe and a southern ocean voyage under traditional sail…in real time and the real world we’re still at anchor just off the beach in a small muddy corner of the west country…..even so 50 mph is a lot of wind !

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Personally iv’e never actually been on deck and sailing in that much genuine wind, the one time we did have that much wind was somewhere upwind of the Horn and we had blown out the kevlar blast-reacher and torn the mains’l. I was off watch at the time but sat below in full gear ready to go on deck but mainly making hot brews for on watch as and when they wanted them. I have genuinely sailed the same boat in 40 knots in southern ocean conditions, at night though and on one of the darkest nights iv’e ever experienced….no moon…no stars….just the binnacle light and the instruments to go on. Not long after the skipper relieved me at the wheel i was sat below, exhausted from steering, when we were solidly pooped by breaking wave that swept the entire boat from astern : i heard that one go clean over the galley and there was so much water topsides that it was spraying through the gaps in the hatchboards. Another time maybe….

Right now i’m doing my best to not be dealing with 50 mph of wind at anchor as that’s far more wind than iv’e ever tried to anchor in and nor do i fancy hanging on a mooring in the main harbour with the boat sheering, pitching and trying to go airborne.

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Today, the day before the storm, iv’e moved the boat further into the little bay in front of Cellar beach and let her take the bottom some 2 hours before low water. What i’ve just done is gone for a walk around where i think she will swing tomorrow and walked the anchor into a better position where she should lay in a shallow gulley between 2 slightly higher banks. The mud is harder than i expected where she is right now, “not great—not terrible” but softer in the gulley and there doesn’t appear to be anything nasty to land on except for one concrete mooring block which i should be well clear of anyway. My intention tomorrow is to lay to an 8 : 1 scope , at high water i reckon i’ll be in 8-10 feet of water so i’ll have at least 80 feet of rode out and i plan to shorten-up hard during the ebb and deliberately pull her onto the mud at a good moment. I thought about swapping the weighted polyester warp for my 75 metre nylon 8 plait storm rode….. i might still do that.

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What else….well the main problem is force on the boat and that will come from wind so reducing the wind resistance of the boat is now essential, next i’ll drop the stowed mainsail and it’s sprit onto the deck and unclip the mizzen from it’s sprit …..i discovered a neat way of stowing it that also reduces wind resistance. So, good position, lots of warp out and windage reduced as much as possible…..oh and the warp is either running through cordura sheaths or is well taped up for chafe.

What next ?…..time for a toasted bacon sandwich on nice fresh ciabatta methinks

1 Comment

  1. Visited Scotland, England’s Lake District, Arneside, Oxford, and other beautiful areas. Member of the Nancy Blackett Trust. Currently living in U.S. own a 1962 Seafarer Rhodes Meridian (25’ LOD) w/ a Volvo inboard needing total restoration.
    Have coastal sailed Southern California on Pacific, also East Coast Atlantic.

    Like

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