Low Pressure

The remains of a low pressure system pushing off land create wild conditions for the fleet.

Due to the remnants of a nasty low pressure system pushing off land, we've been heeled hard over and sailing under 1/3rd of the jib and a 1/3 of the main for about 30 hours.

Learning how to sail in rough seas is one thing. Learning how to sail in them in the dark is another. With no way to predict the wave direction or height thanks to just a sliver of the moon, last night I learned by feel alone.

The art of heading up when approaching and bearing down when coming off of the crest is not easily mastered. By watching our experienced helmswoman, Solvieg, tackle the seas I was able to get a feel for it before I took the helm for an intensive 90-minutes.

Salt spraying in her hair and a wild grin on her face, Solveig wedged herself into the aft corner of the cockpit and steered for dear life. With 10-12 foot seas, maxing out at 15, she rose high in the air before scooting the stern down a wave smoothly. One wrong move, and the hull slammed violently into the water like concrete, jolting anyone below who happened to be trying to sleep (good luck to them.) We saw gusts to 35 on the windspeed indicator, but the instrument has been inaccurate most of the trip, so it was likely around 40 knot gusts.

By the early daylight hours, the seas had flattened and the breeze came down to a manageable 20 knots. We removed a damaged mainsail batten and are making our way steadily towards Bermuda at 7.5 knots.

260 miles to go.