Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 11- Waiting for the trough

Time: 0100 Zulu noon New Cal (Sun 11 Nov)
Position: 24*31'S 158*03'E
Wind: light and variable Seas: Mixed with ENE 7-ft
Avg. Course: 316-deg T
Avg. Speed: 5.6-knots
Rig: double-reefed mains'l, hove-to
24-hr Distance noon to noon point: 68.6-nm (actual distance traveled approx 107-nm between noon yesterday and 0700 this morning when we hove-to)
Distance to Brisbane: 297-nm

It's been a bit of a stressful 24-hrs for us. When we uploaded yesterday's post, we also downloaded more weather data and it had changed (as it tends to when dealing with unstable weather). It became obvious that a Low was forming; unfortunately, right where we were headed. We did some more downloading of Spot reports in areas that looked less ominous on the GRIBs and decided where to try to position ourselves by the time the trough reached us. So, about we came about and trimmed our sails for upwind and set course back the way we had come. It has been a while since true upwind work for us, but always game, Tao raced on without pause, intent to reach her hopefully safe goal. We only took one 15-min detour, tacking at the "shipping lane" between the banks we had been the night previously, when we crossed the path of yet another cargo ship and 1-nm was a little too close for comfort. This time headed for Brisbane, the captain, though responsive to the radio hail, was not as excited to chat.

About 60-nm later at 0700 we reached our chosen spot and hove to in order to assess. More weather downloads looked as good as we could expect. We hope that we are now well positioned and are preparing for heavy SE winds that will fill in with the passage of the front. The forecast is for 12-hrs of 25-30-knots followed by another 12-hrs of 20-25 and then winds petering out from there, leaving us in the non-windy center of the next High. Our plans currently range from staying hove-to (with triple reefed mains'l), to running with storm jib alone and hopefully making a curving arc toward Brisbane as the winds ease, to our back up plan of launching the Galerider to slow our speeds if necessary. The morning of being hove-to has been almost pleasant, providing us time to prepare ourselves (forcing Shawn, who has been nauseous from the stress, lack of sleep, and worry, to eat) and Tao a little bit more, and Chris even fit in a shower before hitting the bunk. At around 1100 we got some sprinkles and then a heavy deluge and winds decreased and became variable to nonexistent. Just after the noon point, Shawn pulled down the main altogether as there was no longer enough wind to actually keep us hove-to. So currently we bob and wait and we shall see what the scenario actually calls for when it gets here tonight around 0300. We suppose there is no better way to really learn about weather than actually experiencing it. Thanks for all your good thoughts!

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