Yesterday I kept waiting for conditions to ease and the sailing to become a little less of an endurance test. After that calm I mentioned yesterday the wind returned after half an hour at its usual force and we lumbered on with the doubly reefed main and the headsail all but rolled up. And then in the dark, about 9pm the wind shot up to 30 knots again, the vane on the Hydrovane jammed across and unable to bring us back on to course and me cursing and swearing with the fickleness of it all, deciding we needed to reduce to the third reef and then heave to...oh yes and it was raining! So I clipped on and struggled up to the mast, yanked down the sail and slipped the reefing point over the hook and crab-like inched back into the safety of the cockpit...oh yes my headlight stopped working just then too! I tidied up the lines and then...and then I was going to try and bring the boat through the wind, probably with the engine...and the wind died just like that it all went quiet again....I watched and waited, it went to 14 knots, and we were almost motionless in the water...and then it slowly picked up to 22 and stayed there. I decided to do nothing for an hour and see what else might eventuate but nothing did, so about 10.30 I went back to the mast and unhooked the ring and pulled the sail back out to its second reefing point, re-engaged the Hydrovane and off we went, back on course but slowly. I had already decided I was happy to go slowly and reduce splashes and crashes and reduce the drips getting in and make it more tolerable in the cabin. It wasn't a race! And so it continued till morning and ZI had a couple of good sleeps.
This morning it was grey and still rough but slowly conditions have improved to the point where its now the sort of ocean sailing most would enjoy. The wind ranges from 18 to 22 , I haven't taken out the second reef but let more and more headsail out and we are running at a nice low angle up and over moderate swells from the south, some still 2 to 3 meters, on a beam reach. I watch and marvel at the amazing way the sea mounts up into walls and troughs and peaks and ridges and then transforms into a valley or a roller makes it all flatten out. Sapphire rolls up and over them all so easily, but now and again we cop one on the side, a slap that sends the water up and over the boat , we twist a bit sideways and then over and down into the next trough.
The rotten weather slowed us down : 24 hr run to thursday was 126 miles, but to Friday it was 85 and to noon Saturday, today, 96. Tomorrows run will be ok but we wont get to Bundaberg before dark. As I write this there's 150 miles to go.
Tinned mackerel with tomato sauce, and rice for tea soon. I always follow up with some fruit, often a confectionary banana or a lemon or orange fruit jelly. And Milo.
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