45d 08.4 N 135d 51.1 W
Time for an update from aboard Salient. It has been a while. We have been very busy here and our social media coordinator has been racing during the long weekend.
The program has changed: We are no longer in the ‘leisure program’ and are now into the adventure part of our sailing adventure. The days of swimming in the ocean and shorts on deck are definitively over. Welcome the Pacific Northwest!
Three nights ago, we sailed in near gale conditions through a black night. Winds picked up to 30 kts, gusting to 35. The sky and ocean blended into one dark canvass with no visual reference points. All we could see were the white caps on top of cresting waves, illuminated by our navigation lights. The seemed like galloping white horses in a hurry to go somewhere.
For our sailor friends: We had the #2 sail up, partially furled on a spinnaker pole, no main, sailing at true wind angles of 160 – 170 degrees. This is a very conservative & forgiving yet effective sail plan to go downwind. It was set up, so we could furl or even gybe the jib without having do anything with the pole.
Before sunrise we reached our gybe point but decided to belay that maneuver until sunrise avoiding having to reset the pole and foredeck work in these conditions. Imagine being on a 20 square foot platform, that rolls 30 degrees back and forth and pitches at the same time randomly. The bowman only a step away from falling into the dark water swooshing by the bow it was safer to stay in the cockpit. After all, we did not have to win a race coming home.
The average wave height was three to four meters with the occasional one being bigger. Waves can be double in height from the predicted average wave height. One nasty wave slammed us broad side and leaped into the cockpit and I was standing ankle deep in water at the helm and everybody else got a cold shower.
Suddenly, we could hear birds twittering. They flew on our port side, their tiny bodies lite up by the lights on top of the mast. They showed up as we were supposed to gybe. It was almost as if they wanted to tell us “gybe now, gybe now”. We carried on our gybe though, and they stayed with us all night giving us some comfort during this dark and stormy night. We were all tired and happy to see the day break with the winds down in the mid twenties.
In the afternoon the sun came up. Back to the leisure program with champagne sailing. Sadly, in the middle of the day, one of the pins holding the stove on the gimble gave way and the stove fell partly into the pans & pots cabinet below. It did not look very practical to cook that way. After close inspection we could tell that those pins were not meant to every be replaced but after the 1,000,000,000th gimble back & forth the constant seesaw the pin was neatly cut in half. Not having the gimble or no stove at all was not an option. The first phase was to secure it and we tied it to the guard rail in front of the stove and shimmied it with plywood. For phase two: Out come the tools: Drill, punch, hacksaw, the whole nine yards and a few hours later we had a fully gimbled stove again and better designed than before.Much fun doing this while we sail on, in 20 kts of breeze, big swell left over after the heavy winds.
The project was done in time for dinner and we had our meal & captains hour on schedule. Happy crew!