Sunday, November 6, 2016

Salty Dawg Rally Day 7

If it was daylight, I would be adding canvas, but I am in no hurry and this way, the ride is smooth and the crew gets plenty of sleep. Will reconsider at dawn.

Slept for 2 hours and woke up just in time for a squall. Lots of rain and wind and the windvane handled it with ease. Now the boat is back on track doing 5Kn.

I was dozing when my AIS alarm went off & outside was a huge ship 0.5Nm off my stern. My AIS should have warned me sooner & he said he saw no AIS from me. Weird!

Even though it is windy and nasty outside, it is cosy & warm inside the cabin of my boat and the boat has a very gentle motion as it slices through the water.

I was told that I could trade with some of the residents of the Caribbean islands so I did bring some items including eyeglasses, DVDs, and kids' books.

I changed the AIS alarm setup to warn me of any ships coming within a 10 mile radius. Usually I have it setup for 1 mile. Still not sure if that was the problem.

I still haven't seen any gale force winds and right now they are about 15 knots. All the boats 40 Nm to the east of me have been getting 20 knots all night.

My experience so far with satellite communications is not good. I tried calling on my spot global phone without luck because of spotty service and my Delorme Inreach keeps needing to be restarted to connect to the satellite. Grrr!

Ok. Winds have finally picked up. It is definitely blowing gale force winds now. All I can do at this stage is hope that all my preparations are enough.

Finally! I finally got some wind! At long last. Doing 6 knots under staysail and reefed main. No rain. Boat in its prime. This is what it was built for.

I worked out why my satellite phone wasn't working. You need to put a 011 before the 1 (USA) and the area code and then the number. Whew! Technology!

My 6th day was just another mediocre 100 mile day with 600 miles to go and 700 down. I have only just got gale force winds and the boat is in its element.

I'm still trying to figure out what the problem is with my Inreach. At first I thought it was the refrigerator, then the fact it was inside the cabin and now I think it is just trying to do too much. So now before I send any messages I will try turning my tracking off to see if that fixes the problem.

Ok another big ship just appeared off my stern 5 miles away and she (yes it was a "she" with an American accent, which is double unusual) told me that her AIS had picked me up 12 miles away.

I have never seen a rogue wave and I hope I never do. Today there are some 15 footers but they are not breaking, their period is 8 secs and they are harmless.

I do not like having green water down inside my cabin so I have a rule to put one of the washboards in the companionway when a reef goes in the main sail.

Been blowing 30 for most of the day & had 4 squalls coming from the north so I have been on a broad reach and sometimes running.

Above all else, it is the noise that is the scariest part of a storm at sea. You get used to the large waves but the howling winds are frightening.

It was a tough day today and it looks like it will continue through the night and into tomorrow. Boat is definitely being pushed hard and so far all is well.

I have steered the boat off the rhumb line in more of a broad reach and southerly direction to ease the pressure on the rig and to have the most gentle ride.

As bad as the weather is outside, I never at any time feel unsafe on board. The boat heels easily, but once there it is rock solid and always stays upright.

Dinner tonight was a can of potato soup, some crackers and an apple for dessert. It's going to be a long night.

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