July 23rd, 04:45 pst – lat 24 11 N, lon 145 15 W
Wild Night in the North Pacific!
In the last 6 hours, we saw it all: 10 to 28 knots, big thump (we hit ‘something’), multiple jibes in the night and one of the few times that we both trusted the auto-pilot so that I could crunch some weather files while Richard was off watch sleeping. As I was down below, a big 20+ knot puff hits, the autopilot doesn’t respond and we are on our side before we know it, kite flapping in the pitch black night after the moon has set. Last night, we saw it all and we made it through stronger, adrenaline pumping, drenched in the pouring rain of the squalls, a few bruises here and there, nice war wounds to brag about.
To make a long story short because I need to go shut my eyes for a few hours while Richard is on deck,
1. There are squalls everywhere and they start getting active around midnight. And some of them carry quite a bit of power in front of them.
2. So Richard is getting his Z’s, I’m steering in a dark squall, 22+ knots, and the boat wobbles violently. It feels like we’re tearing through blubber. We hit something and it is coming apart… It did. It didn’t phase Richard who slept right though it. When he woke up, I asked him to check the keel and drive the boat to see if he felt anything different. He wasn’t quite sure. We are still going fast in the breeze. We’ll wait until daylight. I bet all is ok.
3. We are puzzled how the solo sailors can possibly trust the auto-pilot. That puff was no more than 25 knots. We both rushed out of the companionway into the night. Richard eased the kite and main sheets and I focused on steering the boat down. Just like a 505, except that we didn’t capsize. We were on our side no longer than a minute.
Bottom line: there is really something extreme about this adventure. We’ll have many stories to tell.
Now for some sleep….