Strong Winds on the Way
During the lull in proceedings we cleaned up the boat a little and I erected the inner forestay and raised the storm jib. We were about the joining position of both a high and a low pressure systems and therefore would experience strong winds in the next few hours. We were not disappointed.
Still on Port tack we put a couple of reefs in the mainsail as the 24 knot winds arrived and we began to point up and drive hard toward the East. Freespirit proved herself a strong and worthy craft as she pushed into the growing swells and cross chop. Taking waves sometimes over the foredeck did uncover leaks that unfortunately found their way into some of Wendy’s belongings and my linen draw items opposite. This wasn’t very nice as once you get salt into your clothes nothing but a good rinse in precious fresh water will stop it from absorbing any and all moisture and result in mould if not treated/discovered quickly. Even treating it with fresh water is a problem in a boat environment as nothing dries if its overcast weather, windy with lots of spray coming over top.
Happy New Year!
Just a short 626 klms offshore we watched the sun go down over stormy clouds and toasted the new year in with some nice white wine I’d put in the fridge for just that occasion. Some tasty treats and a few wines took care of the ceremonies then it was once more into the breach!
By now the winds were beginning to overun us and we had to retire the large genoa. All my repair work done on the verandah of the Princess Royal sailing club was holding nicely, however the parts that I left as they didn’t look too bad were now starting to unstitch and flap in the stiffening breezes.
The alternative to this sail was an unused second hand storm sail that I’d bought at a Freemantle sailing club boaties trash and treasure.
The sail was originally from a Benneteau 40’er and I used it extensively on the solo voyage from Bunbury to Albany. This sail was now hoisted on the roller furling and pressed into service. Though in great condition the sail was not enough to drive Freespirit in the occasional lighter winds so her performance suffered somewhat when these were all we had. Once the winds picked up above 18 knots however the whole thing worked and she sailed beautifully. This was fortunate as out there in mid ocean we had very little 15 knot breezes that didn’t turn into 20+ knot screamers in very quick time.
By the time 2nd of January rolled around we had added to the damage list some of the stitching on the spray hood. Constant use of the frame as a support when moving forward and loosened the Port side seam which had now started to come apart. Wendy got to work and put in some temporary stitches to hold it together whilst I covered the whole thing from the outside with some sail repair material. Previous to this some of the solar protection panels on the genoa had started to let go and during a lull in breezes we made some coverage repair using the bulk of that some sticky backed material. Excellent stuff and something every sailor should keep in his/her stores.
On this day I checked the upcoming weather forecast and found that some massive winds were being pushed our way by a big low pressure system quickly entering South Western Australia waters.
Westerly Winds of over 30 knots meant strong, rough and mean weather would be upon us within 16 hours…. we must prepare.