At the beginning of the gale
Note the angle of heel
Today is Thursday, 15th July, 2010. I have been marooned on the yacht since last night. Basically, the wind has been too strong for me to risk using the tiny inflatable dinghy to get ashore and return to the boat. Blowing downwind and sideways to the Starcross shore is feasible, but rowing back against the wind is not. I learnt the reality of this last evening when I had to return to ‘Ladybird’ after spending the day at Exeter. The going was tough, as I explained in today’s Blog.
While the gale has been blowing I have had to entertain myself. After breakfast I had the usual self-clean which entails a strip wash, then I prepared and posted the Blog. The remainder of the morning I spent reading; likewise after lunch I did the same. I have run out of reading matter, but reading things a second time will be profitable because I shall pickup on themes and items I previously missed.
The time is 1845 and the ship’s barometer indicates an air pressure of 996 millibars and it is falling. I am expecting the forecasted force 9 wind shortly. Rain lashes the boat so as to drum on her decks while the wind howls through the rigging. In addition to that, the sea slaps the hull which seem rather thin, acting like a drum magnifying the effect, a bit like the sound of a cane when it comes into contact with the backside of a miscreant receiving just punishment. (Not politically correct these day, but nevertheless justice being meted out to persuade the wrongdoer to amend his ways, and an example for others to note that if they do wrong, that’s what they can expect.) The mooring line tugs on the bow fairlead each time the bow is flung upwards by breaking waves, while at the same time the stern hit’s the water, making a sound like water going down a drain. The main halyard now and again bangs on the mast which resounds loudly with a staccato metallic clanking overriding the other noises.
When I think of being at sea in a force nine my heart misses a beat. Here at Starcross there is not much protection from the wind, but the Dawlish Warren Sands come between the boat and the sea to cushion the effect. Take it from me, the experience is not exactly nice. I hope the mooring will hold and the moorings upwind will also hold. The movement is like being on the back of a bucking bronco and the whining of the wind is nerve-racking.
I hope the wind will abate by tomorrow morning when I’m expected to move to another mooring.