We had under 10 knots of true wind, aft of the beam, usually on a run, for 10 days with the exceptions of a few squalls that boosted the wind and a few glorious 30 minute sections of more than 10.
This means that we had between 6-8 knots of apparent wind most of the time, with mostly 6-8 foot swells, usually coming from two directions but sometimes three. Carol and I watched a wave go one direction, hit a second and turn, and then hit a third and turn again, essentially making a u-turn. No wonder it is a weird motion in the boat.
We were becalmed at least twice that I can remember for periods of 5 or so hours each. We have had only one night of being surrounded by lightening which we used .6 engine hours to get out of. Most of the squalls have had rain only or maybe a bit of wind.
We have tried almost every combination of sails we own in our attempts to keep the boat moving in light air and changeable medium seas. The only things I can say we have learned are:
- Reefing is not just for strong wind. It reduces the load on the rig when the swells cause the sails to pop in light air.
- Our pole is our friend. We have our spinnaker pole up most of the time and we need to get our used whisker pole operational so we can have two.
- Our preventer is our friend. We switched from the midships preventer to the foreward block and it makes a big difference.
- A triple reefed main and a poled out asymm spinnaker is a great thing to try when we know the sails are going to pop. The triple reefed main doesn't shock load the rigging and ditto on the spinnaker as compared to a white sail. It doesn't stop the popping, just the sanity disturbing, gear beating jolting that goes with it.
- Keep trying different things. There is often something that will work at least reasonably well for the odd combination of swells and wind we are in. Our sails will still pop, but they will pop less, and we will move enough to retain steerage with the windvane.
We are about 400 miles from landfall. We have had only minor gear failures (more on that later) that we were able to fix or temporarily fix at sea. We're eating very well (fresh bread and lasagna yesterday) and resting well. Our watermaker is granting us daily showers. The landfall is starting to feel real and we are allowing ourselves the emotional luxury of starting to think about it - not yet allowing ourselves to count days, but we are counting down the miles.