More action last night as I entered the gulf stream in 25-40 knots of wind from the North- so it was cold!! I had two reefs in the main and no headsail as I was trying to sail very deep and the staysail kept flapping around below a 145 True Wind Angle so I took it down. I thought I was in pretty good shape but the sea state was horrible with short steep seas mostly from behind but occasionally from other directions, which makes it feel like you are sailing in a washing machine at night- not a lot of fun. I was hangin' out in the cabin when I felt a wave pick us up and throw our stern in a weird way and I knew we were going to gybe.... and we did- in 35k of wind had a lot of water ballast which was now on the wrong side, so the boat was pinned over at a severe heel angle. The traveler car slid uncontrolled from one side of the boat to the other- about 15 feet- and smashed one of the blocks in the process. The cockpit was filled with water up to my knees and it took me a few minutes to get the running backstays sorted, turn the auto-pilots off and steer the boat through a tack to get us heading in the right direction again. The whole event took probably less than 10 minutes, but it was pretty frightening in that sea state as we could have been rolled over as we wallowed helplessly immediately after the accidental gybe. So my takeaways are: 1) in 35 knots of wind, I need three reefs in the main instead of two; 2) the auto-pilot needed to be on its highest level of sensitivity and it wasn't; 3) the continuous line traveler needs to be pinned at both ends at all times to avoid what I experienced and the resulting damage- it will be from now on- and I have replaced the shattered block and I think it will be OK.
So, after that drama I was pretty wasted, so reduced sail and tried to get some rest. I spoke to Ken Campbell from Commanders Weather at 9:00AM and he said that the heavy winds will continue through Saturday, with Thursday night being another 40+ knots of wind type of deal. It’s as if King Neptune were saying, "Welcome to the North Atlantic in November Captain Harris- you will be serving your apprenticeship for the Southern Ocean a little early sir"! Aye Aye, King Neptune! Nothing like a little butt-kicking to get you ready for the big game.
Otherwise things onboard are pretty good, but I still have gear and food all over the place that needs to get sorted and stowed properly- there just isn't enough room- as many of you saw. I had my new favorite- Ramen noodles with smoked salmon (Patagonia Provisions) for lunch today and it was awesome. I wish it didn’t get dark so damn early but I guess I am sailing towards summer in the southern hemisphere so that will be cool. I have a pretty conservative sail plan tonight with three reefs in the main and the staysail, so am prepared for winds anywhere from 20 to 45 knots, but may not be seeing boat speeds in the teens all night- I guess you can’t have everything.
Have a good night one and all-
Joe from 36'59N X 62'31W- just north of Bermuda