03 October 2008

03-Oct-2008 Noon Position

Noon Position
Coast of Algeria
Mediterranean Sea

  • 87 nm last 24 hours
  • 474 nm from Malta
  • 447 nm to Malaga, Spain
  • Winds NW 15 knots
  • Seas NW 2-3 feet
Another fun packed 24 hrs! We motor sailed till sunset last night when the winds veered around to the SW and had a perfect overnight sail averaging 4-5 knots with a flat calm sea. One of the more perfect nights for sailing... Winds off of land, so no swells. Stars overhead. And hardly any movement on that boat. That all changed at sunrise when the winds switched back to the NW and started picking up to 15-20 knots. Once the seas picked up, it slowed us down to one knot at times. Basically we are just running the engine at low RPM's to keep us from bashing into the waves and keep us on course. Our only other options are:
(A) Sail off the wind to the north, which would take us way off course and put us in the middle of the Med where the weather can get even more extreme.
(B) We could heave too by back winding the staysail and drift. But with the counter current against us, this would make us go backwards at 1-2 knots.
(C) Or we could turn to port to try to sail. But would hit land (Algeria) in 2 hours.

So for now we are just going to slowly keep motoring into the wind and seas and ride this out hoping for a wind change later in the day.

Still lots of ships all around us and will probably be this way till we get out of the Med.

Just as we plotted our noon fix I looked up at the top of the mast and noticed that our lightning grounding rod was coming loose. Sandpiper has a lighting grounding system that has a 4 foot rod on the top of the mast and at the bottom of the mast a large cable that we can drop in the water. So if we get zapped, this gives the lighting a way to get to the water without, hopefully, going through the boat. We were rolling around a bit while motoring into the wind and swells, and I decided to do something I have never done before. I really did not want to loose this rod, so I climbed the mast while at sea!! After doing this I definitely would not recommend it. With Amy belaying me with the main halyard, I climbed to the top using Sandpiper's mast steps. It took some doing as we were rolling around so much. And the higher I got the worse it was. Once up there I discovered that one of the mounting screws was missing and the other 2 were loose.

As luck would have it, I had the wrong screwdriver with me, and the winds were starting to get stronger . So I tightened the 2 remaining screws as much as I could, then had Amy lower me back down. Once on deck a large wave smacked Piper's side, soaking us through. 2 hours later I look up and it is loose again! I told Amy it was her turn to go up the mast as the seas and winds had increased. She declined. Hopefully the 2 screws left in the rod will hold till we get to port so I can fix this when the boat is not moving.

Never a dull moment.
Tom and Amy

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