As the weekend approached, we picked up some decent winds which kept us just ahead of an approaching cold front. The winds got up to 25-30 knots from the northwest just in the direction we are heading … so over our left shoulder. This was a good sailing angle that although it was bumpy and very wet, bought us some good distance. In instances like this, I have to throttle back the boat some since I’m a crew of one and can only manage so many things at once … and have to rely on Otto (my auto-pilot) to drive. At one point, Otto got all nervy and took off on a wave and wind gust, topping 17 knots!
Here’s a short video from earlier in November that captures a bit of the last day or so.
Gray Skies and Chompy Waves
As was expected, we met up with the front Saturday afternoon, which brought with it an instant wind shift of almost 90 degrees to our right. This shift literally came in an instant, and it took me a few minutes of scrambling to straighten out the boat as we had been on a port tack for most of the past few weeks.
To make things more interesting, at the moment of the shift/gybe, Otto, my steady second in command, decided it was time to pack it up and freeze in position. This made things quite interesting, as I made a number of attempts to reset him to no avail, leaving me no choice, but to switch to the backup auto-pilot. I suspect the gybe set off a sensor or something, that now I’ll have to find and fix. But in any case, Otto2 is driving and doing just a fine a job. (Thank goodness for contingencies!) I’m hoping that when the winds settle down – maybe by Tuesday, I can pull Otto and repair him. This isn’t an easy job in the harbor, so I expect it will be no piece of cake to do while sailing.
The new front is pushing winds at us from the south, which down here is the equivalent of a cold front, and when you toss in a misty all night rain, it makes for a few fairly unpleasant nights of sailing. We expect these winds to persist through at least Monday before settling down some for a couple of days. In the meantime, we should be making some good mileage and time, but at the cost of a bumpy, wet and sometimes anxious ride.
Presently we are crossing through the 1000 miles left to our destination and are hoping to keep a 200-mile a day average for a couple more days. After that, we’ll see what the weather has in store for us.
So, from the Deep South Atlantic, where it’s pretty cool – maybe 50, wet and woolly, or as the Brits would say … “quite sporting” … we’ll press on … with Cape Town on our bow.
- Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (even he’s had enough bouncing!)
0.06210 W, 33.96854S