Log #11b Second Day Out

May 21, 1999 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 11 Atlantic Crossing, The Logs

Log # 11b

May 12/99 Second Day Out

27 57.4 N, 078 02.6 W

I am starting this during the “first” watch of our second day at sea. Judy is sleeping and I have the watch until about midnight. No heavy weather yet. Right now the wind is very light, about 4 knots from the southeast, and Veleda is coasting along at a slow 3.0 knots. It has been this light all day, although a few thunderstorms have passed us, and even now I can see lightning in the distance. This is the first time I have brought my laptop into the cockpit. I probably won’t do so again, at least not on night watches, as it kills my night vision.

It is good to be at sea again. The work alongside to get ready was heavy, and this is like a rest period even though we are tired after our first night at sea.

So far, the first day we had to empty out the starboard cockpit locker twice and the port locker once searching for sails or effecting minor repairs. Because of the light winds, we put up our larger 150% Genoa, but because of threatening storms we have left the main with the first reef in. We have used our spinnaker twice with good results because of the sleeve and a special device to attach the spinnaker to the furled genoa, enabling us to use it as a drifter without using the spinnaker pole. It works well. I am getting caught up on my leisure reading, and we have had lovely full course suppers our first two evenings. We travelled 125 nautical miles in our first 24 hours. We will not do as well the second 24 hour period because of the light winds.

I’ll close for now and get back to my watch.

Day 3, May 13/99

Still light winds, even through a rainfall that came down heavily for about a half hour. In the morning the wind started to pick up to 10 to 15 knots from the SE moving us along near hull speed at 5.9 knots. However the day’s run for the last 24 hours was only 99 nautical miles as we had little wind and were out of the major current of the Gulf Stream.

In the afternoon we set the spinnaker with the main still up and moved along in light 8 knot winds at 6.5 knots. Beautiful! As the wind moved aft we doused the spinnaker and unfurled the genoa to go wing on wing for another 4 hours before the evening calm set in.

Day 4 May 14/99

We had another lovely spinnaker run for over four hours before the winds started to pick up to 15 plus knots, at which time we dropped the spinnaker and flew the genoa wing on wing going along at 6.5 knots for over 7 hours.

Day 5, May 15/99 (Our first Atlantic gale)

The wind finally picked up with a vengeance as we went through our first north Atlantic gale starting about 0330 with winds averaging 30 to 40 knots, gusting to 55. We had a double reefed main and our genoa furled in to less than 30% of its area. We have foam padding strips in our luff which gives the genoa better shape when partially furled. We were bombing along at 7 and 8 knots on a broad reach for the next 24 hours. It was too heavy for our autopilot, and we didn’t want to risk stripping a gear as we did in the gale coming up from Cuba, so we hand steered for at least 12 hours through this gale.

For a while it was an exhilarating challenge, especially surfing down some of the rollers that were in the 15 to 20 foot range. Veleda has a hull speed of a little over 6.2 knots. I clocked her at over 12 knots on the GPS on several occasions with a high of 12.7 knots! After a while it became a chore. To move around a boat going 7 or 8 knots in 15 foot seas and 35 knot winds is a challenge. At least this time, Judy was not seasick, although she let me be the one going below for things and to get what food we ate during this period. ( One way to lose weight!)

Veleda handled it quite well. We were under full control at all times. We put in the starboard curtain on our bimini making it quite dry and comfortable in the cockpit. Periodically a wave would slap or break at Veleda’s bow and water would splash up over the bimini, and frequently her bow would plunge through a wave, putting her toe rails in the water for a few seconds, but she never buried her bow into a wave; she always rode on top of them. However, all the water splashing over her caused some leakage in our starboard windows and some moisture in the port V-berth area that possibly came through the hull-deck joint.

The day’s run after this gale was 142 nautical miles over a 24 hour period!

I will include Days 6 to 8 in my next log as I want to get this out at the early part of our Bermuda visit. I may have the opportunity to get out the next logs before we leave for the Azores.