Weather forecasting has been an amazing advancement to safety at sea: to be able to have a heads up to what’s around the corner and being able to plan accordingly. But as complex as weather systems can be, the forecasters and computer models don’t always get it right. While we were expecting the breeze to freshen today we got a little more than we bargained for in the early morning. Having gotten the kites in around midnight and the T’gallants in around 2am, we were riding nicely under Topsails, Courses and a few Staysails when with a very sharp drop in the Barometer at 0330 the wind built to a solid Force 9. All hands were called to get in Upper Topsails and the Mainsail and rig safety gear.
Being in the upper part of the Gulf Stream the water was still pleasantly warm, and despite the wind the air was making the work much more bearable. This also meant however that we were in an area with the wind against the current which built up the seas very quickly. As soon as the necessary work was complete the off watches were sent below and the on watch stayed snug on the quarterdeck while we rode out the wind and seas.
And just as quickly as it came on, it went away. The Barometer shot back up and by 0830 the wind had abated to Force 6 and we set Upper Topsails again. But, unfortunately for us, as the day wore on the wind continued to decrease, but the seas did not. By late afternoon we again had the fore & aft sail in and the Courses clewed up drifting in the Gulf Stream waiting for a breeze.
The only thing we didn’t have was a flat calm! Despite this, it was a good day for sail handling, testing the skill of a crew now having sailed almost 7,000nm in square rig on the North Atlantic. We have come a long way since that rainy Thursday departure in early May.
SHIP’S WORK: Sunday at Sea!
FROM: La Rochelle, France
TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada
TIME ZONE: ZD +2
NOON POSITION: 40°04’N / 054°08’W
DAYS RUN: 115nm
PASSAGE LOG: 3755nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 823nm
COURSE AND SPEED: SxE, 2kts
WIND: WSW, Force 4
WEATHER: Overcast and squally, air temp: 22°C, water temp: 24°C
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: Mixed, 8 – 13ft
SAILS SET: Set to the T’gallants and the Inner Jib