Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Windy Nights

Tuesday 11 February

Another windy night at anchor but Temptress' crew slept, tired out after
arriving at 1 am on Monday morning. The gusts across the anchorage set the
boat rocking and rolling but not so much as it was during our five days at
sea. Friday and the weekend passed in much the same pattern as the previous
days at sea; crew up during the day reading, chatting sporadically, getting
meals, drinking tea and adjusting sailings. The poled out gennie with an aft
guy as well as the down and up hauls works well with the sheet passing
through a block attached to the top of the outboard end to reduce chaff.
Easy to adjust the quantity of sail out and not too much of an issue to
alter the pole position either.

We tucked the second reef in early on Friday morning as the wind increased
well above the forecast to gust around F7 meaning Temptress was surfing
wildly reaching over 10 knots on more than one occasion. Later we heard Sao
Vicente radio despite the distance still to go. Friday's noon to noon tally
was 165nm and by evening we were over halfway with 399nm still to cover.

On Saturday our westing became greater than our northing a statistic that
brought a smile to the navigators face, firmly in the tropics it should now
get warmer, shouldn't it? Dawn was steely grey and chilly like a summer
sunrise in the English Channel the crew were glad of fleeces, hats and
socks. The seas were confused with several swells all roughly running
southward but at various angles. Joe got pooped seemingly wherever he sat in
the cockpit whilst the rest of us remained smugly dry. Noon to noon was
185nm a personal best for Temptress and a feat repeated on Sunday. By now we
were closing the islands fast but not exactly heading to the waypoint as the
wind was not playing the same game as us. We gybed then gybed again many
hours later, our course over the ground maybe ten maybe thirty degrees off
but gradually we closed in on our goal the second island from the west in
the northerly group of the Cape Verdes. There was a discussion about whether
or not it was wise to arrive at night, our estimated arrival time being
midnight so re-read the pilot guide and decided that even if none of the
lighthouses and lit buoys were working as it cautioned they might, we could
manage. No slowing down then still 7.5 to 8 knots of headlong rush southwest
wards. By noon on Sunday Temptress had 92nm to go we'd made an excellent
fast passage. During our dash south we noted that during the day the
northerly easterly trade wind moderated a bit down to F4 occasionally F5,
but during the night it often blew NE F5 picking up to F6 or sometimes more
when there was a break in the fast moving clouds. Presumably the vast Sahara
Desert caused a huge offshore breeze at night whose effects reached out
several hundred miles to sea.

Sunday night was warmer than previous ones but still required the watch to
be wrapped up warmly. A few fraught moments as all four of us failed to spot
the small island (in reality a tall pointy rock) some three quarters of a
mile off the headland until we were almost upon it when it rose up like a
ghost as it's lighthouse was out. We furled the jib for a final time, gybed
between the rocky shape and the headland before motor sailing on towards the
harbour wall with the wind gusting hard behind us as it accelerated down the
channel between the high hills of Sao Vicente to our left and the mountains
of Santo Antao on our right. Approaching the harbour wall we weren't
expecting a final hazard, unlit "dead ships", rusting hulks at anchor in the
harbour, but we managed to avoid them all to drop the hook quite well out
but safe in about 4m at 1 am on Monday. After a congratulatory night cap or
two we retired to our bunks for some welcome sleep uninterrupted by four
hourly watches.

1 comment:

  1. Glad and impressed you've fitted that rudder and are voyaging agin!!
    David Bains