22 January 2014

Just as darkness was coming on last night I had to alter course to avoid yet another big clump of seaweed. I think I’ll be lucky to get out of this area without running into one.

At 2100 I was below trying to get one of these daily logs sent out when we got hit by a sudden squall. I took down the jib and put two reefs in the main. This looked like it was going to last so I bagged up the jib and got the small staysail on deck. As I dumped it out of the bag the wind freshened more and I packed it back in again and set the storm jib. The wind had gone from a F4-5 to a F7 with only one a millibar change in the barometer. The Aerogen spins around a bit too fast for my liking at this wind speed and I tied it off to ease the strain on it.

We carried on sailing but the wind was rising slowly all the time. By 0200 it was a full gale and I took down the storm jib and hove to under triple reefed main.
The motion becomes a lot easier when hove to. There is a lot less strain on the boat. The motion below becomes less chaotic than when trying to drive through the waves. The downside is that you don’t go anywhere fast. But, that is just how it is sometimes. There comes a point where heaving to is the best option. I hadn’t slept much up till then as I’d expected to have to go on deck at any time. Now I could relax and rest easy for a while.

By mid-day we could get moving again. The wind was down to a F7 from the WSW. I put two reefs in the main and set the small staysail. The sea was still very lumpy from the night before. One moment the bowsprit was pointing half way up the sky and the next it was buried under the top of a wave. Slowly we heaved and staggered our way into the southwest.

An hour later the wind was down to a F4 and I set the genoa and shook out the two reefs to give us the full mainsail. I noticed the steering lines on the Aries were starting to become chaffed. It’s no wonder really; they are constantly working the whole time running through the various blocks. I wrapped tape around the worst bits but I’ll have to replace them when I get a chance.

By 1600 the wind had veered to WNW and I could free the sheets a bit. The sea had eased slightly and because we weren’t trying to head into it and could bear away we were getting an easier ride and our speed picked up as well.
If it keeps like this we won’t be too far from Cabo Tres Puntas, (Cape Three Points) tomorrow. I hope to cut in towards the land there, as we have to round it and head SW to avoid going too far offshore. All the land around here is low lying but we may be close enough in to see some of it.

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