Drake Passage Northbound, Day 3

0800Z 26FEB21, Day 3, Drake Passage Northbound. We were making crazy, good speed, until we weren't and then turned on the engine. The weather was mostly sunny again with occasional cells with rain or hail and some gusty winds. However, they were easy to see and we could act preemptively.

Current Position: 57 37S / 065 44W
24 hour progress: 171nm, 7.1kts avg SOG! (This may be a record for Zephyros and it still doesn't capture, IMO, how hard we were pushing. We sailed with well over an 8kt avg for at least 18 hours in huge seas. We rarely see 8kts and to see 7.5-9.5kts for 18+ hours straight was crazy.) 2.5 hours of engine time in the 24 hours. Overall progress for the passage is 428nm, approximately 110nm to Cape Horn.

We were on a beam reach all day with winds slightly aft of the beam. Until the wind moved forward of the beam and then died off in the early morning hours. We sailed with 3 reefs in the main and 3 reefs in the genoa. Of course, we rolled out all of the genoa to sail for a few hours before turning on the engine as the winds fell and turned north. Ah, a short respite and taste of Drake Lake.

It was a fast day with strong winds and big seas. We are pushing hard to try to avoid some potentially strong winds that are forecast to come day 4. We know it is a possibility, we have a solid plan, and are ready. But we also are trying to limit our exposure, get into the lee of Cape Horn and get out of the Drake as expeditiously as practical.

It was also a strange day. We had been getting bashed with lots of water over the deck for this passage and knew there were lines washing into the water. We also noted that Watt&Sea, our hydro generator, wasn't making her normal whine as she bleeds off power. We went outside to check on her and found a line around her arm. Also, the pin that holds her down had fallen out in all the bashing. Jon freed the line and redeployed W&S, accidentally losing hold of the line in the process. He then went forward to clean up all the lines that were in the water. He successfully retrieved all but one - the one that had been around W&S. Not good. We were still screaming along and he left it as it wasn't easily fixable and didn't seem to be causing issues. The worry was that it was around the prop shaft. We discussed the potential problems and solutions for different cases, but agreed that we'd wait until the winds lightened / we slowed down.

In the meantime we continued our shifts and resting. While Jon was sleeping, Megan realized a crazy, huge wave was about to break over the stern. It was impressive and there was no time to do anything but scream. The wave knocked us pretty hard and things flew from the port side of the boat to the starboard side. Our dominoes box swapped its contents, picked up a loaf of bread and spewed dominoes everywhere! We were all fine. Megan's scream alerted everyone to hold on. The boys saw the crazy wave out R's porthole. Nike (our nke autopilot) said "what?" and then was back at it. Zephyros was back on her feet right away and back to hauling away at 8+ knots. She is always stronger than us. We cleaned up inside and laughed at all the crazy places individual dominoes went. We will surely find another stray or too when we clean up after the passage.

Before sunset, we decided to take another look at that line. We also had to clean up the cockpit from that rogue wave - yep more lines in the water, but all easily retrieved. It soon became clear that the problem line (reefing line) was stuck on something further back than the prop shaft, which meant it was probably back on the W&S. Jon pulled up the W&S and freed the line. All good.

We are all doing ok. Everyone is keeping food down, though there isn't much eating. We are looking forward to celebrating the end of this passage with a steak that we have saved! We plan to anchor somewhere before Puerto Williams to get some sleep and clean up the boat for a night or two, depending on when / where we arrive and how the next day or so goes. Hoping to have a clearer picture and be nearly finished with this slog by tomorrow's log post.

No comments:

Post a Comment