Monday, March 28, 2016
After Geeves's abandonment of autopilot duties our schedule has changed somewhat, we not only find that hand steering the boat during the day in winds of 20-25kts is quite tiring but at night it is a real challenge. We had hoped that the bright moon would provide us some visual reference from which to steer but not only is the moon not rising until late the skies are pretty much clouded over. By midnight we are usually exhausted and starting to make mistakes or not being able to steer a true course so we have taken to heaving-to until the moon provides some benefit and we have caught up on some sleep. This does however mean that we are losing valuable progress towards our destination and will add several days to our crossing time. Pretty much as soon as we crossed over the 4 degrees latitude mark and into the ITCZ we saw our first ominous looking cloud system that stretched across the horizon. I had a look at the radar and sure enough it showed up as a dense red strip some 12 miles long and 4 miles wide. We decided to try and track around it but it moved too fast. Within an hour we were in some of the heaviest rain I have seen and winds steady at 30kts gusting to 40kts. The seas built quickly and were white with streaks and crests. We ran with the wind on our quarter with barely a handkerchief of head sail out and were doing 8 knots. We had put the boards in the companion way in case we had any breaking waves and we were glad we had as we several times we had water over our beam and stern. During this chaos I saw a pod of dolphins leaping high into the air, clearly enjoying the chaos. All this lasted about an hour and a half after which we were exhausted and it was dark so we decided to heave-to again and check the radar for any further approaching systems overnight.
Posted by Sailing Sarita at 12:59 PM