Day 5 Reties strings on figurehead mask
Wind 20-30 knots, Heaved-to 1knot side drift - April 26,2007 - Day 5
Yesterday evening, we slowly sailed back the 25 miles that we were ordered to go on. Then I dropped the jib and staysail because the wind was very light. We hove-to (stalled the boat using a specific combo of sails, wind, and rudder direction) under tight sheeted foresail and double-reefed mainsail (the biggest sail was shortened a certain amount).
It was a beautiful, still, but cloudy evening and Soanya and I did yoga together for the first time on the voyage. Afterwards, we had a gourmet dinner with a sip of wine. I decided that since we were heaved-to in calm wind, that I would sleep downstairs and get some well needed rest. When I sleep in the pilothouse bunk, I sleep lightly with awareness. Before going to bed, I decided to drop the main and looked at the clock to see how fast I could do it. Lowering the main went really easy and I tied it off with a couple of twists of rope. Then I looked around the deck, put everything in order, studied, and appreciated the night before I went to bed.
Several hours later, I was awakened by a hum and knew that there was wind. I didn't worry because I knew the schooner was heaved-to and from this position should ride a light hurricane. As I stepped up to look, the wind increased until we were humming and vibrating all over. The wind from the NE was blowing a storm and we were drifting backwards at up to 2 knots. I prayed that the foresail wouldn't blow out, but she cut the wind like a saber. The waves pushed us back on the rudder that I repaired with welded steel last year. I slept lightly, checked the bilge and stood in the pilothouse taken aback by the ferocity of the storm, yet the schooner rode well and Soanya was comfortable in a soft bed protected by a canvas(lee cloth) so she couldn't fall out .
By dawn, the wind blew right out of the east and lightened up a little. I plan to heave-to today since the seas were temporarily closed in the direction we wanted to go. In any case, the wind dictates the course. It was blowing stiff and cold out of the east and the seas are small but steep sided. Therefore, we are going to go ahead and see what happens tomorrow.
It was my first storm at sea and it was not as bad as the stories I have heard told. Granted this was not a ferocious storm by most standards so I probably can't compare. It began with the wind picking up and then the boat rolling a lot. I could hear all the pots and pans in the galley crashing one way then the other in the cupboard. Some books that were on the shelf over the bed fell down. Since I was already in bed, the motion was easier to handle than standing up or trying to walk with it. Reid came and tied the lee cloth. It turns out it was a good thing he did since the boat did roll enough that I would have rolled out of those warm covers. He had warned me of this many times before, so there was no surprise on my part. At least we didn't have to go outside into the weather to mess with the sails. As it continued on, I woke up intermittently through the wee hours and then it died down towards dawn. I still got out of bed in the morning feeling rested.