11 January 2014

The wind didn’t pick up as I’d hoped yesterday afternoon. It fell away light and we slowly carried on with sails slapping and us rolling more sideways than moving ahead. Then at 1715 I was below at the chart table, trying to get one of these emails sent off to Alyson, when I heard the Aerogen starting to turn and the sails started to fill. When I looked out there was one of the most amazing cloud displays I’d ever seen. I think they were lenticular clouds and were on the passage of a front. I took some photos and some video but I was wasn’t sure what the wind was going to do next.

It had started to freshen and to play safe I dropped the genoa and set the jib. But it didn’t rise any more than a F4 from WNW. An hour later and the wind was from the SW about the same strength. By 2100 it had dropped away again and by the time I had got the jib down and the genoa pulled up there was hardly a breath of wind. There was a confused swell, with the change in the wind, and the sails were slapping and flogging all over the place. I dropped them a couple of hours later and turned in for some sleep. There was a ship not too far away but nothing came up on the AIS.

By 0100 the wind was back from the NW about a F4. I was tired and dragged myself yawning and sleepy from the bunk. By the time I’d set sails I was wide awake and then couldn’t get to sleep for a while. I could hear the wind getting lighter all the time till it was just hardly enough to overcome the swell and though the sails slapped and flapped and rattled constantly we were moving.

In the morning I witnessed a chase. A fish started leaping frantically out of the water not far from us. After a few leaps I saw a fin, it looked like a dolphin, chasing after it. Each time the fish leaped the fin got nearer and nearer until there was no more leaping and the water went still. Someone had got their breakfast and someone else hadn’t had such a great day.

By 1300 the swell had died down a bit and the wind had picked up to a F2-3. It was actually very pleasant sailing but it had also backed around more to the SW and so we were heading south instead of southwest. At least we were moving somewhere.

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