12 January 2014

Alyson had told me the wind would pick up from the south overnight and that’s exactly what it did. At 1840 I went on deck to take down the genoa and set the jib before darkness came on. Big masses of dark grey cloud were forming to windward but it was a beautiful crimson sky as the sun set.

It turned out to be a good time to do it as the jib was no sooner hoisted when the wind began to freshen from the south. I had to take one reef in, then another and soon we were tearing along with spray flying around us! I sat up a while enjoying the sailing as the night closed in around us.
I knew I wouldn’t rest easy below though as we were just on the limit for the sail we had set, it was about F6 by this time. So, I took down the jib and set a smaller staysail. We lost a bit of speed but it was marginal and Elsi was much better balanced.

It stayed fresh all night F6-7, slowly backing round to be in the SE by around 0700. It had eased a bit and I was able to set more sail. We were sailing along fine but the sea was very lumpy and there was plenty of spray coming aboard. Throughout the morning the wind was mostly SE F5 but it was very up and down, gusty then easing, which made it a bit tricky for the Aries to hold a steady course.

Mid-morning we passed a fishing boat. She wasn’t that big, only about 50′-60′. We gave each other a wave as we passed. I don’t know what she was fishing for, I couldn’t see her towing any nets, but I passed a buoy fairly close to her. It couldn’t have been anchored as it was far too deep but it was certainly one of hers.

The batteries had got a good charge because of the fresh wind and were both nearly fully topped up. I used the chance to transfer some photos from the camera onto the laptop and a memory stick. I’d taken some photos of the fishing boat as we passed and it was odd to see them right away on the screen. ¬†As always, the ones I’d taken when the wind and sea was up a bit looked like we were sailing in fine weather. You had to have been there!

Now (1400) we’re going along fine still. The wind is a F5 on the beam and the sun is highlighting the breaking crests. It’s lumpy but we are making good progress. The sea is still warm but it will be starting to cool soon.

There are a few White chinned Petrels (Cape Hens) around and also a Mollymawk, a big seabird that looks a bit like an Albatross but is smaller.

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