Yup I am in the Bar drinken a beer with the crew!
So I ran the spinnaker for about a hour and decided it was time to take it down when I became confused on which was my wind speed or boat speed. For one hour I average 9 knots and had a heck of a time keeping Dragonsbane under control. Its funny when you run out of wind and put up a big sail on the Indian ocean the wind picks right back up and then you have to reef again. Anyway we are about 295 nautical miles away from Richards Bay and looking at the weather we need to make landfall by Thursday evening. It is going to be a real close call on the weather as a small south western blow comes up the coast to Richards Bay halting any landfall attempts. If we don’t make the window Thursday night we will have to go back out to sea and heavy too for 24 hours. I sure hope we don’t have to do that but if we do we will, safety first. The reason is because the offshore current 3 miles off the coast is way to dangerous to cross in a south westerly blow and can cause 20 meter waves with deep troughs that can be deadly so we will play it safe.
Current Position: 03:30UTC, 28deg 19.6min South, 36deg 03.5min East, SOG 7.4kts, COG 292deg-M, 1021mb, Swell 1 meter, WS 16kts
Well still making way to Africa but the wind is now getting to low to make good progress. I have decided to put up the spinnaker in a effort to make a safe landfall before another low starts up into the Indian. I have a 50 hours to sail the last 300 nautical miles with only 10 knots of wind to do so. So here we go!
Current Position: 11:08UTC, 28deg 08.4’min south, 38deg 00.4min east, 1022mb, ws 10kts ENE, Swell>1meter.
Well still making good progress to Richards Bay and have 450 nautical miles to go. We finally are out of a gale and just coasting along in 20 to 25 knot winds and everybody is feel better now.
Current Position: 28deg 05.3min South, 40deg 17.8min East, COG 286deg M, SOG 6.9kts, 1025MB, Cloudy, 20deg C.
Jacques, Jade, Ben, Sarah, Cary
Yesterday evening at the end of my watch I could see on the horizon a large dark blue could that was low to the water. As we approach this large front I noticed a large gray iron ring projecting out from the dense areas of the approaching storm. I decided based on the movement of our past few storms that the front was moving from north to south. We were approaching from the east heading west into this system that was flashing lots of lightening and you could thunder. I decided to drop sail and reef to a triple mainsail, and hoisted our storm staysail. I then had Jade reach almost due north and slow us down to about 2 knots allowing the bulk of storm to move south so I thought. As the lightening and thunder increased and the front approached closer I decided to tack to the north east allowing us to get more north and away from the approaching storm because I thought I could see the back side of the system. Right after we tacked a rush of ice cold air like entering into a department store from out of the summer heat into AC. The wind was ice cold and then it began to blow. It reached up to 40 knots in less then a minute. Dragonsbane had her rail underwater and the waves began crashing over the deck. Then the rain came in buckets and whited out the air with cracks of thunder and bright lightening. I relieved Jade from the Helm and turn up into the wind pinching as hard as I could but still keeping us moving forward at 3 knots. The spray from the waves was blinding our sight and the wind began to spin 90 degrees to port then to Starboard making it very hard to keep Dragonsbane under control. We continued like this for 1 hour and finally the wind began to lesson down to 30 knots. But the rain, thunder and lightening lasted for 4 more hours. Eventually the wind dead off to 5 knots on the nose and we have been motoring sense. Everybody is doing well and sense we have been motoring we caught another Maha Maha weighting in at 22 pounds.
Day 5 & 6 has been a mix of 20 to 30 knots winds. Current we are in a full on southerly Gale sailing hard at 8 knots full reefed.
FYI it has been very difficult to send blog post via SSB radio so I may miss a few days.
Current Position: UTC 19:10,26-10-14, 27deg 34.8min South, 42deg 53.6min East, SOG 8kts, COG 300deg-M, 1022MB, WS 35kts
At about 22:30 at night the barometer was reading 1017MB and slowly began to fall to 1015MB. This of course occurred much slower then the 35 knot winds that blew in and 2 meter seas. The change in wind conditions and sea state only took ten minutes and was slowly reflected in the barometer over the course of 4 hours which been then we were under just a staysail make way at 6 to 8 knots. To added to our fun the current we have been traveling on from east to west changed to north to south and is pushing us down at 3 knots slowing our west progress down to 4 to 5 knots. The swells are also coming out of the north catching us on the beam and soaking the poor person on watch on a regular bases. But that’s not all folks, throughout the night we were surrounded by thunder head squalls that flashed 360 degrees around us and lit up the sky like cannon fire on the horizon incredibly ever few minutes for hours. It has been a amazing show during the night and now the wind has lesson to 18 knots but the current is still causing us to slip more south, hopefully not for to much longer. Boy I tell you, this is great fun for me at least, I think the crew is enjoying it too.
Current Position: UTC 02:56, 25deg 33.8min South, 49deg 17.9min East, SOG 5.4kts, COG 255deg, WS 19kts, CLoudy, ATM 1014mb
So far we have had some great weather with only a few squalls with lightening. But the most exciting thing so far is that we are riding in a current that is moving between 1 to 2 knots. The weather outlook is looking good for the next two days but then the wind drops off to 10kts or less. Hopefully the wind will fill back in shortly.
Current Position: 00:26utc, 23deg 59.1min South, 51deg 15.9min East, SOG 8.7kts, COG 248deg-M, Swell<1meter, WS 15kts, Current 2 kts,Partly Cloudy,