10/11/2016 – The Beaufort Scale

Wind is essential to a yacht but yachtsmen are a hard bunch to please; it’s either too little, too much, wrong direction, variable direction or just totally unpredictable. In the past 24 hours we have had the lot. In yesterday’s blog I threatened to start the engine, as John added a couple of hours later, I didn’t. The wind was playing with us, promising a little more then dying. Between 0600 and 0900 we only made 10 miles, just too high an average speed to justify starting the engine and incurring a motoring penalty! By 0920 we had added just half a mile to our distance travelled so turned on the engine. Our day’s run to noon was a meagre 120 nM, it would have been about 105 by sail alone! The afternoon wasn’t any better, in fact we had Beaufort Force 1, no wind at all. When the GPS says you are travelling at 6 knots and the wind instruments declare the apparent wind, i.e. the breeze the sensor feels, is 6 knots from straight ahead you know the engine is making the breeze! Force 2 won’t move the boat, it might blow smoke gently sideways but not a lot else. When the wind reached the top end of Force 3 we turned off the engine and sailed, albeit rather slowly but faster than our self-declared 2.5 knot engine on limit. The forecast was quite promising for the night: 5 – 20 from between W and SW, increasing this morning to 20 – 25 with gusts to 30 from SW to NW. In case the stronger winds came in a little early we decided to drop one reef in the main and take down the pole while the only wind was of our making. It did mean we were under-canvassed until the wind built from 5 to 20 which is a Force 5. The angle of the wind means it is a beat, no longer the rock and roll which is annoying just the constant heeling to port. It makes cooking challenging but sleeping is more comfortable as we use the portside salon berth on passage. The day’s run will not be fantastic but it should be a lot better than yesterday’s. We have calculated that we need to average 5.99 knots to arrive in nanny Cay on Tortola by 1800 Monday, now the wind has got to behave as forecast! Wednesday’s dinner was baked salmon with mashed potatoes, carrots and French beans. Joyce

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