So our optimism was great and all but we will not be able to outrun the approaching front. Forgot that boats sail at a brisk walk.
The good news is that our destination is still going to be downwind. The worst thing about this front will be the swell, as the wind speed is only supposed to top out at 30 knots (Force 7) or so. (By the way, Mel HATES the Beaufort Scale. She has been reading books on good design, and the Beaufort Scale is NOT good design. It’s numerical, the numbers don’t make much sense, and can you really tell the difference between Force 7: “foam crests begin to be blown into streaks” and Force 8:”foam blown into well-defined streaks?” No! So let’s all ditch it!)
The swell, on the other hand, is supposed to get to a 5. “Oh, five,” Mel thought. That’s not bad. But wait- five METERS! Mel does not trust the metric system. Meters are especially shifty, looking all small when they really are big. Mel has her eye on you, meters…
So right now the waves are at 3 METERS. We are going off course to keep them downwind and minimize the rocking, but it is still no fun. It’s like bodysurfing now, except you are wearing a fancy rainsuit and you have a giant boat as your surfboard. As our understated advisor NCR (Noble Captain Richard; see posts from July 2015) said when we ran all of this past him in an email: “It’s not going to be all that comfortable.” Alas, the Burnetts are adventuring once again.
So we have our Paranchor on deck, ready for deployment if need be. Everything is battened down even more. Dinner plans have changed from salisbury steak to sandwiches. We have seen stuff like this on the way to Colombia, so at least it’s not new. But to Mel, the terror feels pretty fresh. Mel feels a little less brave than she did in her twenties, when she got back in the Cessna 140 with Greg after the engine stopped in midair. I mean, “lost power,” which is the way Greg tells the story. It must be having kids that changed her. Stupid epigenetics.
But don’t fear. Mel will wear her Viking hat and surround herself with her comfort objects. Lately, that has included the box of Honey Teddy Grahams that she discovered in the snack bucket. Best transatlantic snack ever, by the way! There is even a teddy bear on the box! Besides, Mel is pretty logical underneath. The boat is tough, all critical systems are working, we have plenty of fuel, and the only danger here is being stressed out and hyperalert for a few days in a row. Nothing new for anyone who’s been to medical school. Or cared for a newborn.
Greg, by the way, seems excited about the challenge. Ah, men.
Boat stuff: 181 nm in 24 hours. Right now we are sailing downwind, making 9-10 kts in 21 kts of apparent and 27 kts of true wind, with just the jib out with 6 turns in it (essentially double-reefed.) Engines off. When the waves get big we will see how this speed works out; if we switch to engines we will have to watch for cavitation, per NCR.