Saturday, October 13, 2007

Progress to Portugal - Day 3

I spoke too soon about the Bay of Biscay being in a good mood. She turned inhospitable during the last few hours of our visit.
The day started out pleasant enough. Still on a port beam reach we were greeted with a sunny sky and easterly 15-22kt winds that maintained a chill in the air and fueled building seas but we were happy making great progress. Just to be on the safe side, before night watches began, we put a reef in the jib. By 2100 hrs the gusts had increased to over 30kts and the wind and the seas kept building. By midnight we had reefed all we could reef and were relying on the storm (stay) sail to keep us on course through what would be 6 grueling hours. Large hectic seas, steady 30-45 knots winds and the dark of night are never a good combination but on this particular night things just seemed terrible. Plus there were the many waves of water reaching on deck from all four sides of the boat. I realize I'm out of practise after a string of comfortable passages but still...Later my captain discovered the Autohelm (self steering system) was not functioning at 100% which acerbated the situation in terms of the way the boat handled the conditions and felt to us. It was definitely one of those sailing moments when I question why I'm doing what I'm doing. And one of those times I'm grateful to have the captain I do.
We made way 200nm for a three day total of 545nm.

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