Sailing to the max

Sailing to the max
Soon after handing over the watch this morning, the engine was turned off and all the sails were set again. Wind came from the south and got us up to a nice speed, 7 knots. On the weather reports we saw a small front that would pass straight over our heads, so all day we waited for the drizzle and the turning wind to come.

Around 16:00 the wind increased and started to turn, when it was south west we jibed and when it decreased a little after that, we thought that would have been it.. we had the second jib up and a reef in the mizzen and so we had a nice setup we could handle with one watch.. just before dinner the wind went a bit crazy thought! It increased from a 5bf to a 7bf within 10 minutes and turned all the way into the North and North East; down below nobody noticed anything, it still seemed quiet enough.. but outside the water was being blown up and wave crests turned into spray instantly. As we lowered the mainsail to get a second reef in, some heads poked out to see what the noise was all about and soon after everybody was out on deck helping out. Without sounding a all hands, we were pulling up the mainsail with all hands and then changed the jib into the small storm jib. Teamwork.

With those sails we tried going close hauled, but the force off the wind was just too much, almost blowing a gail by that time we chose a reaching course until wind would ease out a bit. The wind started turning back into the north west around 20:00 and so now (01:14 UTC) we are on course to Ireland and are doing a nice 6,5 knots between half wind and close hauled. Wind has decreased but sometimes still gets into a 6bf, so for now we will leave the reefs in, see what the morning will bring.