Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept 8th update - slow down, speed up, slow down, ...

Date Sept 8/11, Time 2:40
44° 20' N 126° 09' W <Link:>
Wind speed 20 / wind dir NW, Sea State Wind waves 4ft, swell 6ft, Heading SE, Speed 5.7
Barometer 1024, Water Temp 62.6, Sky patchy sun/cloud
Log 1048.7, Engine Hours 1218.3, Batteries %88 (-48Ah)
Sail Plan: Double reefed main, Staysail
Sailors need to be paying attention to the weather. I've been downloading the text weather forecasts as well as the radio fax weather charts via my SSB. There are gales forecast for the Cape Mendocino area. This is no surprise, as it seems there is always a gale in that area. Almost.
I had good wind last night and made good progress. 16 knots of wind at 4am, 19 at 8am, 17 at noon, 22 at 4pm, 20 at 6:30, 18 at 11pm and all night. At around 6:30pm wednesday I did some heave to practice as I hadn't hove to with these new sails before. It worked nicely - for non sailors, heaving to is a way to 'park' the boat for a while - its a balancing of forces so the boat lies with her nose about 45 degrees off the wind, drifting very slowly forward and sideways. Its one of the techniques for handling storm conditions - it works up to a certain wind speed then you change tactics.
As the gale is forecast to be south of me, around latitude 41 I wanted to slow down today to delay things until I had more clarity. Its been a slow day here, around 10 knots of wind but the boat was heavily reefed and I was moving at around 3 to 4 knots. Wind has just a arrived and I have a plan I think. I'll head south to latitude 43 and delay there until saturday morning. Then I'll continue south not crossing latitude 42 until saturday night when the gale is expected to be blowing out. The seas will likely be lively but is workable.
This boat could likely sail straight through the gale, and there will likely be a time when I'll be doing that - but not on this first passage for me. I'm taking a more conservative path.
I've been thinking of my destination - and its open right now. Perhaps San Francisco, perhaps a little further south.
Things are good here. I'm feeling very good and eating well. I've had no sea sickness at all (touching wood when I say that) and everything is working well.
This may be the last update for a while as when the sea states get more lively its harder to sit and type.
S/V Luckness signing out, for now.
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