Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 4 - Shake Rattle and Roll

We are on the trailing edge of a large and slow moving low pressure system that lies about halfway between Fiji and New Zealand. Boats ahead of us (most of the fleet) reported winds of 30-40 knots and 3-4 meter seas. Being late to the party has its advantages and we are experiencing lighter winds of 25 knots and smaller seas below and to the left of the low.

That being said, Ladybug is being tossed around like a play thing by short, close spaced 2.5 to 3 meter seas. She is rolling regularly through 20-30 degrees with buckets of water drenching our uphill side and an unnerving close-up view of ocean out the downhill port lights. We have only a quarter of our small jib rolled out and I lashed down the triple reefed main a few hours ago. Surfing sideways down the swells we are hitting GPS speeds in double digits and averaging about 6 knots. It is remarkable how little sail (maybe 100 square feet) is needed to push 10 tons of boat along in 25 knots of wind!

Life below is predictably difficult, but I am very glad for our reliable windvane gear that is steering Ladybug on something approaching a beam reach. Hand steering in these rough seas would be tiring indeed. Below, even the simple acts of typing a blog entry, using the bathroom, or chopping up veggies and cheese for lunch are fraught with difficulty. An analogy for using the toilet would be to try using a porta-pottie, strapped to the back of an ill-tempered rodeo bronco - ughhh.

Our position at 3pm was 30 56 S 175 14 E. We sailed 128 NMs in 24 hours and made good 119.

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