Bobs prediction about the crap weather was amazingly accurte - he warned me to expect it around 9pm and for it settle by noon today or therabouts and thats pretty much nwhat happened. AT 20 to 9 last night I was thinking maybe it wont come an I will be OK - and five minutes later the boat strarted bouncing and bashing about and the wind noise increased and when I looked at the wind instruments -= it was 26 knots. He said gust might be up to 35 but I didnt see anything over 30 but it was pretty wild. I rolled up the headsail except for a tiny scrap and reefed to the second on the main then eased it out to depressurise it and we moved slowly forward all night quite comfortably - I was waiting at first to see what else would happen - I was thinking of heaving to if it got much worse - but it didn't so I decided to wait it out and try to sleep. With daylight in 9 hours we had travelled 20 miles and though the wind was still strong , it was still pretty wild but I decided to start sailing now I could see what to do, and we increased to nearly 6 knots by letting a small bit of the headsail out and pulling the main in a bit. Midmorniung I saw the first lull at 20 knots and guessed the worst was over and it seems to be the case, though we have had a couple of squalls where the wind and sea sprang up remarkably rapidly to 27 and 28 knts again and I felt a certain despair that there was another long slow night of being bashed about ahead of me again. I was sleep deprived for sure. The second squall arrived and I rolled up the headsail again, getting completely soaked in the process and decided to try and sleep after vdrying off and changing my shirt as the boat sat quietly. I couldn't sleep but after 20 minutes it all seemed too quiet I went up top and the wind had fallen away to only 15 knots and the amazing sea, so recently a carpet of white and spray and hills and valleys had evened out to have almost no whitewater anywhere. So amazing! I thought I mighht write this whist all was calm - God only knows what will happen next but what I am hoping is this lighter wind is the one predicted and we have an easier sail for the next couple of days to Bundaberg - now 250 miles away. But who knows what might happen next?
BTW during the night in one of my many checks on wind and boat speed and everything generally I surpised myself to find a ship going by, just the lights are visible of course, a single one at the bow and way further back a cluster at the bridge and the green starboard light . My AIS wasnt on but when I turned it on he didn't appear - not sure if the AIS was at fault or the ship! Another night I saw a very peculiar light on the horison that turned into a sort on line of light and then a vague yellowy sail shape that slowly disappeared - it was the moon rising behind clouds!
I am developing huge confidence in the Boat and have blessed myself repeatedly for having gone back to Fiji to have the rigging checked and fixed as its taken a hammering this last 24 hours!
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