30 November 2013

After two days of light headwinds we had a welcome switch in the weather. At 1600 the wind started to file in from the Se and by 1830 we were romping along on course with one reef in the main and the Jib set. It was really good to be moving again. Later on, about nine, I was up for a look round. Great swirls and whirls of mareel were spiraling off the keel then rising up to the surface to explode in bursts of luminous green. Although it was very dark the light coming from them clearly silhouetted the Aries steering gear on the stern.  The wind was so steady and fresh I had a feeling this would continue and it would gradually swing round to the NE to fit in with the normal weather pattern. But it wasn’t to be.

At 0300 I woke to find we were heading NW. I have a compass above my bunk so I can check the course when below.  The wind had fallen away and veered round to the SW again. By the time I had slipped out the reef and sheeted in the sails the best we could do was head north of west. I tacked around so that we could make some southing and we settled on a course between SE and SSE. I went below and pulled off my oilskins and wrote up the log then got into my bunk. I was up again within 20 minutes as the wind had freshened and I had to take in a reef again. I really hadn’t expected this, to be battering our way south to windward in the NE Trades. I smiled and shook my head at how upside down it all was. When you expect to be going to windward it’s far easier to accept. When we cross the equator (if we ever cross the equator) we’ll be battering to windward in the SE Trades for several hundred miles and I would expect that. But here.I wasn’t expecting this. Maybe the SE Trades will switch around as well…

When the daylight came in the sky was a mottled light grey, the sea was a slate grey with white fringes and there was not a trace of blue anywhere. I should have been on deck in shirt, shorts and shades and instead it was spray, grey and pray the wind was going to turn NE’ly! We could easily have been in the North Sea.

By mid-day it was still overcast but the wind had dropped further and it was raining. By 1330 I had to drop the sails and as usual pull in the log line and lash the tiller. There was just no wind and the sails were flogging around and getting us nowhere. Now at 1600 it’s still calm with a low rolling swell from the NW. The wind will come later maybe but for now it’s just a waiting game.

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