F32 Gale strength winds.

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F32 Gale strength winds.

Postby daletournier » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:35 am

Hi all, I thought a recent experience maybe of interest to some. I'm sailing up yhe west coast of sumatra and have been getting un seasonal weather. We left Kracatoa volcano Java to head north west, approx 400nm with really no place to stop until you hit the Mentawai islands. Weather should be and was predicted to be light Se. After the first 100nm winds turned to the north. At these latitudes squalls are expected daily, on the third day we were getting line squall after line squall , approx wind strength 25knots. During the evening we were hit with a bigger one but this time it didn't go away, we were having a steady 30-35 knots gusting to 40 knots. Ive experienced strong wind before but usually im heading downwind or know its coming and are in a safe anchorage. After an hour or so the seas are really building and im wishing I had left the third reef lines in ,that I never used. Freeform is starting to slam which is very unsettling. Ive got no where to run to but cant keep doing this, hard on the boat and hard on me, plus im getting very tired. I dont want to run as I would lose alot of ground. I decide to fore reach. I remember mike tyson saying "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" this is sort of where I am. Managing a boat with gunnel in the water, waves coming over the deck and pouring rain isnt easy, also there is a huge difference between 25k and 40knots, but its got to a point where a new strategy is needed, if not freeform or me will break. Btw self tacking jibs are awesome. I drop the main and decide to forereach under jib as Im under the impression freeform wont heave to (note, try these things before you have to). So, im trying to forereach and the autopilot craps out. At this stage im exhausted, been sailing three days and been weathering squalls all day ,now this. I decide to try and heave to, I locked the wheel hard to starboard and started playing with the jib. I found if I trimmed the jib properly , sitting at approximately 60º off the wind on a starboard tack Freeform heaved to perfectly. I locked up the companion way and went down stairs and slept for 6hours. It was like someone turned the weather off. Sophia whos with me was also very impressed. I got up at dawn and looked at my track and had drifted 7.5nm in 6 hours in relative comfort, by this stage the winds had died down to approx 20 knots and are now more N toNE giving me a angle to an anchorage approx 20 nm away.
I dont want todo this again but it taught me alot and very comforting to know Freeform will heave to in bad weather when going forward is no longer an option.
Cheers Dale
Freeform.
daletournier
 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:25 pm

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