17 Jan 2011

[Captains Blog] High Winds and Waves

What has been happening to the world's weather? We have been experiencing many more high winds than normal for the time of year, with the trade winds still not in evidence - two months later than normal. Instead of consistent 15-20 knot winds which emanate from the east, we have recently sailed through monster seas, double reefed in 30 plus knot winds, having to read every wave that would take us broadside in the coming few seconds. Exciting stuff you may ask? Occasionally yes. Exhilarating perhaps? Definitely. Something I want to face every time we undertake a long journey? No, and I don't mind admitting it. 

It is hard work helming for hours pivoting on one good leg while the other braces against the constant battering of the waves on the hull. It is different when the helming position has a seat, but Pandora does not. We have to stand all the time when steering even though we have an autopilot. We prefer not to use the autopilot because it merely responds to circumstances which I am uncomfortable with, as I can see the waves approaching and take the necessary steering moves to counteract them before they affect the boat, and believe me, it is very tiring. 

Debra and I both have a dodgy knee (hers is her left knee, mine is my right) and ideally we should share the helming according to the tack that we are on. Fine when the journey takes us from port to starboard tacks on a regular basis, but invariably they do not, which means that one of us is going to suffer more than the other on any journey.

Having said this, we are still enjoying the experience and hope that eventually the weather patterns will settle down to enable a more leisurely sail. I am certain that any guests we have aboard would prefer this too!