Day 19: What da ya mean worse?

After yesterday’s pounding we awoke to an ARC forecast that said things were going to get worse! Bigger winds & waves. What da ya mean worse – did you see yesterday? So along came dawn and the usual roll of squalls. Then the wind started climbing to settle in the 28-33kn band with squall peaks again at 39. But the sea state was so much better than yesterday at 2-3 metres that this was a breeze. We were gliding along and having adjusted the auto-pilots max rates of turn and sensitivity levels upward the previous day all was well. We were keeping a speed that would get us to the Vegas Party! Then came 14.00hrs. No change to wind but the swell racked it up a couple of notches and we were on our way back down memory lane – almost, but yesterday was worse.

But given the forecast we set the staysail/stormsail sheets just in case. But another roll of the die – then came darkness and we thought it usually eases up at night…great. First squall and bang it’s up to Force 9 and we are doing 9kn plus surfing out of control. Reef or not….so it’s up to the bow to unlash the headsail roller, crank in more headsail and slow down, lash the roller, then lash it again just in case. Then it got worse alright…waves built, bigger gusts, more speed and we suddenly have someone on radar; we are closing ARC yacht Ocean Breeze. On AIS they are hove-to and yet are making between 4 to 9.5kn across our path and we are already a runaway train. No luck discussing the state of affairs on VHF so we feather the headsail until they pass our bow. Then we reefed again as slower felt so much better. The storm sail was hauled to the saloon. Now midnight in much bigger seas running a scrap of headsail surrounded by white foam seas getting pummelled. Gusting 45kn should have gone to storm jib.

Vital sadistics: yup sums it up. Top speed over 12kn thru water

Galley: Chicken & chilli wraps, Spaghetti & Coriander Pesto DTG – right now who cares we just hope tomorrow allows us to get back in control. All respect to the boat!

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