Monday, September 15, 2014

Sophietje and the 55knots Squall...

something more about the squall .. started thinking later..

going downwind u dont always look backwards, but this one I saw coming.. Sometimes you can escape, preferably south (less wind) or even totally avoid it but here it was clear, no way to avoid this one..

So quick preparations, secure loose things, take half of the gib away (roll it in, already had damage on the 'leaches', but leaving some to keep some 'balance'). No time to go upwind and make main smaller, so this is it..

You do not know what it will bring, you know they can be more violent in September..

So there I sit under my 'shelter', but rain is coming from back, so no use. I also realize that it might be better to take the wheel my self and not wait and see how the auto pilot does...

good thinking..

also might as well take the shower.. Temperature 27C, so boxer shorts and long sleef shit against the sun, thats it..

So I take the shower, turns in like pressure washer but still very good..

Good that I took the wheel, speeding up to incredible 11.0 knots going down on the waves.. dont want to gibe, running back stay is in, I still hear Kevin (FKG) say I do not need them.. Well, does feel better now with this wind Kevin.. Old mast is not as stiff any more, starts 'pumping'..

Going downwind takes the edge of, I see 30-35 knots on wind indicator, even 45 for a second, you add my speed down wind to it (10-11knots) and you get even the 55knots wind.. Hurricane speeds..

Sounds are sort of frightening, howling, you start wondering, but just keep steering, anticipating on the waves.. If I'm to late, chines gibe and god knows what happens then, you lose your speed and even go upwind, the sails will be shredded I think, boat put flat, big shit..

2ce I think.. 'Woww, that was close', but goes fine.. Nice, very nice actually..

Start thinking, can I take a picture, or even a video, no way, better keep concentrated on waves and keep running down wind, NO Gibe..

Have to go west 270, wind will turn right I know, wanted to gibe before shit hits the fan but decided I was to late, now I new everything was sort of secure for this direction..

Wind turns right, so in the end I can not sail lower then 020, heading straight for SXM (St Maarten) at this incredible speed the wrong way, no use, a pity, but ok, no damage..

So I only lost the plastic meat/bread cutting board I had left the night before in the gangway.. had violated my low carb diet and had Pizza.. it is easy, add a lot of Gorgonzola and it is enough for dinner and next days breakfast, although those might be a little different because I dont really go to bed, take it as it is.. Any sort of normal making food out of the question, pizza in oven is the way to go..

Sea is so big here, and I end up little more north of my rump line... no boats at all.. Even switched off AIS because thought it was not working, but simply really nobody there.. Is normal to see only 1 boat in 3 days, normally even that one at the horizon..

BTW, the plastic cutting board just 'took' of, and not forward but surprisingly backwards.. OK, so be it, strange..

Started thinking of my mother, insisting that I wear life jacket which of I got new jackets this year.. But no chance of going down to get them, and also no chance in hell or heaven that I need one.. Water is 30.1C and nobody is ever gone find me, if auto pilot is on boat will continue to.. Mexico, or North pole, and even if auto pilot is not on, and I would get close to it somehow, really no way I could get back on board, not even by the emergency ladder on the side, tried that in January.. impossible, only under the most perfect conditions.. forget it

Cant sleep.. so I was thinking about what I encountered.. people telling me that 55 is hurricane speed, so can not be true more or less.. shit happens, survivable without any damage,

Sophietje is still there (my small Palm tree on aft deck)
Dinghy still there
solar panels still there
Silent wind generator still there..
Although noise of it made me think of airplane cockpit movie situations.. V1, rotate.. liftoff..
Also put in new bearing last week, right on time..
Just repaired slipping quadrant last week, also good timing..
worked perfect.. very good
Before that once every year or so it slipped in such a way I could only turn right by turning left and make a full circle to go right.. ah ja.. smile..



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