Oct.6, 2010-Dispatch #2 From Indian Ocean
Sky overcast and heavy rain. Wind SE @ 28.8. Sailing on a broad reach with three reefs and small jib. Speed 8-9. Could carry a bit more main but this combination leaves us better prepared for the 38 knot gusts which have come in some of the squalls.
This is day six and we've had three days of these strong SE winds, angry waves, and heavy rain following three days of the same from the NW. The wind is now from a good direction but it's been a bit high for comfort and There's no respite from the squalls and rain. If anything the squalls are coming more frequently; about one an hour. Last night we just got cleaned up and settled from one and the next one came before I could eat my dinner. I had to gulp down my food and get on deck. Hard to savor a glass of white wine when you havew to gulp it down. We decided to leave the third reef in for the night and it was the right call. We had 30's most of the night and higher often and were doing 8's and 9's with that and a #4. We're making good progress but it isn't any pleasure cruise.
We thought this is the ITCZ bothering us but why is it so far south? We've come 400 miles south and we are yet to see more than a glimpse blue sky. Today we got a fix on a low pressure system to the west of us which is giving us this and we'll probably have it for a few days more.
Pierre and Judy are beginning to have doubts about me since I promised them a nice trade wind sail once we left Sumatra, which was 6 days ago, and it hasn't happened. We're doing OK but we damp and tired of the weather.
Yesterday during a lull we horsed the mainsail down and I did some sewing to changes the way the top batten is installed. It was a full batten with an end cap bolted to the sail at the bolt rope. This was tearing up the bolt rope and sail, damaging the mast where it rubbed, and making it difficult to pull the sail up or down for reefing. I made a new batten pocket end and removed the offending plastic batten end. It's an obvious improvement but some of the damage is already done.
We had to use the spare inverter for the sewing machine since the main inverter has been playing up, shutting off every 6 seconds with a bogus error message. It's all we can do to get it to run the coffee grinder in the morning. (I run back and forth across the cabin to restart the inverter every six seconds)
When we put the main back up after that and there was still a lull so in a fit of wishfull thinking we put up the full main then got caught in 38 knot blow for 30 minutes. I hand steered and that was fun, holding that much power in my hands.
Fun? Give me a break. I want sunshine and mellow conditions.
Fred & Judy & Pierre, SV Wings, Indian Ocean