April 10, 2011-Passage to Africa, Dispatch #2
For the next two days we have toiled, struggling to keep the boat moving; putting sails up and taking them down, reefing, shaking it out. The blue skies were gone; grey damped the mood and spitting rain, if not pouring rain, finished it off and left us in a funk.
Or me any how; the crew seemed to keep their spirits up and Judy was positively buoyant. I don't know why but that helped my mood too. That and the food, which has been good.
Squalls rolled through; just enough to look ominous but they held nothing.
Then a vicious combination of cross swells came and had us rolling our guts out, still do, slamming the sails until we worried about the rig.
I went forward to douse the jib and the bow plunged and I got soaked
I yelled at Neptune at the top of my voice. I was beyond frustration.
On Jean-Mee's watch, while we motored, a 20 knot breeze came up from astern. Not in the forecast, but hell, what was? He let out the main and turned off the motor. I said I'd come up later if it held and put on the wind vane.
In an hour the main jibed over and broke a check stay. We never drive down wind on the autopilot with or without a preventer but we did and it caught us. Lucky it wasn't worse.
I fixed the check stay.
On Jennifer's watch we decided to jibe and the main scythed back and forth across the cockpit with evil intent while I tried to rig the preventer. Once I heard then boom whistle over my head and felt the wind of it on my neck but it never touched me. Lucky again.
When you're in a low pressure region and the trade winds beckon you dive south to catch them, so we have turned away from our rumb line, deviating towards the northern side of a high, the circulation around which promises more breeze.
This reminds me of the deep dive south we took going looking for the trade winds out of Sumatra.
That time it took us eight days to find the wind.
This time we hope to find the wind more quickly. We'd better.
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