17/01/2014 – What a difference a day makes.

During Thursday we had almost everything except rain! The overnight watches were not pleasant with winds in the 22-25 knot range with gusts up to 30, which is nearly gale force. We were well reefed and the winds were not a problem but the accompanying seas were evil. The seas and swell came from different directions and rolled the boat alarmingly at times. One unexpected roll threw me off the seat at the nav station, dumping me on the floor between the engine room and a cupboard. The laptop also went flying but, thankfully, still works. The winds abated and backed during the morning but the seas remained very confused. We shook the reefs out of the genoa to increase boat speed and slowly altered course, following the wind, away from our destination! By late afternoon we decided we had to change the sail plan again. It took an hour (again) to rig one pole and devise a method of supporting both genoas on it. The seas had calmed to the extent that we were both happy working on deck. We are now sailing wing and wing, genoa poled out to port and mainsail out to starboard with a preventer rigged to keep the boom out the right side and avoid a gybe. The immediate increase in speed and direction was just reward. Our noon run was 192 miles towards our destination of which 180 were boat speed through the water and 12 were current over the ground. We had just 200 miles to go but, there is always a ‘but’, the current is now against us and the wind is dying. It is now midnight, the sea is calm enough for me to sit in the cockpit typing this, the wind has dropped to 13 knots and we are sailing at 6 knots. Unfortunately we are only making 5 knots over the ground because of the adverse current. Our hopes of a good night’s sleep tomorrow, safely anchored off an idyllic island, are a distant dream. We will probably arrive around midnight, depending always on the wind, and it is unsafe to attempt to navigate among the islands in the dark so we’ll have to sail up and down or hove-to until the sun comes up. Another night of 3 hours on and 3 hours off! We mustn’t complain. Four years ago our friends on Camomile got a severe beating in gale force winds in this area off the Columbian coast. The cook had the night off! Dinner was a can of cassoulet, a bit past its best before date but delicious none the less. Message to the wind gods, please can we have a little more? 20 knots would be lovely and I promise not to complain if it makes the seas a bit lumpy! Joyce

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