What a Bouncy Ride!

[NOTE: This message was supposed to go out a couple of days ago, but missed being published.]
We are beating our way against 20+ knot winds. It’s been a rough ride on all of us, including Tahina. First we had the problem with the outhaul chafing through. Now we have had a new problem.

Early this morning, we were surprised by a strong wind squall. We were more than double-reefed on the jib, and double-reefed on the main. But, the winds rapidly hit 35+ knots. I tried turning us away from the wind, but Tahina turned too slowly (I should have used the helm instead of the autopilot). Everything seemed fine after we made the turn, and we put away the jib quickly. After the squall blew away, we turned back into the wind and re-deployed the jib. But, I noticed we had a chafe mark on the furling line (the line which rolls up and deploys the jib sail). I went up and felt the chafe mark and could tell it was more than just the outside wrapping worn off. But, it still felt solid. So, we left it as it was.

The waves have been between 10 and 15 feet swells, and lots of “little” 6-8 foot sloppy waves in between. Since we’re sailing at about 50 degrees off the wind, we are bouncing over and through these waves continuously. Normally, on a catamaran, you rarely have problems with things flying off the tables and counters. Catamarans are known for a stable ride – at least in downwind conditions. Not so on this trip! Not only have many loose items gone flying around the cabin, but all of the crew have been thrown around a fair bit. I found an unexpected bruise on a hip and a welt on a shin already. Lara has been dealing with sea sickness on and off the last two days. Everyone is tired because we haven’t been able to sleep well with all the rocking, loud noise of waves bashing the sides, and the loud noise of the wind itself blasting through the rigging.

We have also had to deal with significant amounts of spray across Tahina for the first time since we left North Carolina. We’ve had hundreds of gallons of water be thrown across the decks at a time. Fortunately, I had us deploy our spray dodger before we left, and that has proved invaluable on this trip.

All of this bashing is taking a lot of wear and tear out on all of us. It’s been over four days so far, and the last two have been really rough. I think at least three of the crew are really starting to wonder whether the eclipse is really worth all this. At this point, on Thursday afternoon, we only have 75 miles left to go towards our destination. Only, we’ll probably have to sail 125 miles to get there because of the wind angles. I’m hoping I won’t have “Mutiny on the Tahina” before we arrive. I’m also hoping we have good weather on Sunday for the eclipse, or I may have to row back to Tahiti in the dinghy!

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