Monday, April 9, 2012


Noon Position: 41 17' S, 91' 20' E, SOG 4.5, COG 060, Day's Run 130nm.
I got caught out by the sea this morning. We had a tolerably rough
night, with force 8 wind for a while in the wee hours, which obliged me
to run off to the NE in front of it. Today the weather is moderating -
breeze is down to force 7, and it seemed the seas were down a bit too,
with the breeze going further west, so after a bit of indecision I
finally decided to head up and start sailing straight E again, and to
unroll some jib in addition to the staysail. Pretty soon Odyssey was
charging along at a solid 6 or 7 knots, rising up over the big S and SW
swells with ease. I retired to the comforts of my sleeping bag and was
happily ensconced, reading "Treason's Harbor" by Patrick O'Brian, when
there was an awfully familiar bang and the whole world turned sideways
as I was pelted with onions, cabbages, and even a roll of duct tape from
the high side of the boat. A small torrent of water gushed in through
the shut hatch, cascading down the companionway as Odyssey enjoyed her
second knockdown of the trip. Fortunately I had the one remaining
cockpit solar panel securely lashed below, for when I went on deck there
was a familiar air of things all-ahoo. Knee-deep water rushing about
the cockpit, sheets everywhere, and the wind-vane lines had contrived to
jump off the wheel, leaving the boat bowling along beam on to the seas
in a not particularly pleasant manner. Sometimes I think the jib likes
to mock me in heavy conditions - it seems like every time I unroll some
jib in a blow the wind always contrives to come up almost instantly,
overpowering us. Today instead of wind the water got me. Now of course
we're back trudging along to the NE again at 4kts under staysail alone
in a surprisingly heavy sea - the wind is only force 7, but the big S &
SW swells are creating some exciting constructive interference that
causes waves to come exploding out of nowhere. This time the knockdown
wasn't as far over as the last - not quite horizontal, but pretty
close. There was a very clearly defined high water mark about 16 feet
up the luff of the staysail, and if I extrapolate the angle of that line
it would seem to indicate the lower spreaders were 1 or 2 feet clear of
the water. This stupid depression has been plaguing me now for days - a
quick nasty blow on the front side, then it stalled and killed my wind
for a few days, and now a nasty blow on the way out again.


  1. Whew, I'm glad I'm here safe and warm, and DRY!
    Stay safe, Eric!

  2. Odyssey is one tough vessel, and you're one tough guy. Good luck with your housekeeping...untangling...drying hugs, Eric!

  3. I have to admit, sometimes I find myself holding my breath as I read your blog. Today was one of those times. Your knowledge , experience and courage are amazing Eric.

  4. Thanks for sharing amazing information on sailing up by using staysail alone during light wind.