Sunday, 26 July 2015

Carnarvon Outbound Day 5

Hi everyone,
The sun is out. For the first time since our departure we are getting some sunshine. At last!

We are currently in position 17 33S 105 31E, on a course of 315M with a 10-12 knot NE breeze. We have the full main and headsail set. We logged 136nm to noon today for a total of 707nm overall. We have 600nm to run to Cocos-Keeling.

Yesterday afternoon continued windy and rainy. We broad-reached with a deeply furled headsail only. We were pooped twice but happily the green water into the cockpit only half-filled the well. Not sure if that qualifies as being pooped, but either way it was a first. The cockpit drains work well!

We also had a couple of waves break into the side of the boat. Each was breaking over at least a 1m height (I was watching through the saloon windows) and hit us close to broadside. They caused a heavy shock which moved the boat bodily sideways and healed her to perhaps 40 degrees. The boat seemed to skid sideways over the water in response, which is a good thing. She did so despite the leeward side-deck being underwater. Ken Hayashi san did a great job in designing the boat, and Yamazaki Yachts and Precision Shipwrights built/strenghened her very well too!

It's interesting that the pooping and side-swiping occurred after the worst of the wind had passed. I think the waves were starting to break up and so were breaking more violently than they had been in the steady wind. We were doing the same speed since we had rolled out more headsail to maintain our speed to give the autopilot plenty of stearage way. The Raymarine SPX5 tiller-pilot has been marvellous throughout, and was on its second least sensitive setting!

It's interesting that our experience has closely matched what's described in the book Heavy Weather Sailing, originally by Adlard Coles. Essential reading for offshore sailors.

Last night we spoke with Minnie B on the Indian Ocean Crosser's HF net. They have departed Cocos and were bemused by the SE swell. I described the conditions we've had for the last few days and that explained it!

Overnight the wind decreased to around 25 knots and swung a little to the ESE. The rain gradually increased until by 0430 it was torrential. At 0530 we hoisted the double-reefed main and unrolled more jib since the wind was below 25 knots. 30 minutes later we had 1 reef and an hour after than the full main was up. The wind was down to 10-15 knots from the N and we were close-reaching to the WNW.

At dawn it was still overcast but there were patches with only high cloud. By mid morning the clouds had nearly all cleared and we had sunny skies. Marvellous. Zen Again is now covered in wet towels, rags and mats which will hopefully dry. The solar panels are pumping 10A into the batteries. What a change!

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