Thursday, September 17, 2009

Encounter with a Cold Front

We had our first encounter with a Cold Front last night. Having lived in the Tropics all my life this was my first experiece. Luckily I had read about the various stages of approach of a front in the morning so could understand what exactly was happening. I was watching a movie on the laptop late at night when suddenly the boat crash gybed with the boom slamming on the windward runner and the autopilot gave up. Realised that the wind had suddenly shifted making the boat gybe on her own. Got the boat under control, setting her on autopilot again, this time on the wind vane option to avoid any more accidental gybes. We were already sailing with one reef in the main and the Genoa, enjoying good speeds through the day. My wishful thinking that the wind shift was a one off occurence and that we will continue to enjoy steady winds came to a naught as the wind kept rising and shifting direction. By around 3 AM the wind was blowing over 35 kts with gusts of 40 kts, while backing slowly, making us head North instead of East with the boat almost out of contol! No choice but to reef, furl up the Genoa and then Gybe to get back to an Easterly course! By the time all this was over, dawn was breaking and I was desperate to get in the sleeping bag! The night had just gone by!

          My feathered visitor of yesterday had managed to get inside the boat during all this and must have been quite petrified what with me jumping around every now and then and the boat moving around changing her heel making it go skidding from one corner to another. Got the bird out at noon and helped him climb up the cockpit as sitting inside the boat, though safe, it would have starved to death. It spread its wings as if stretching itself in the sun, went to the stern and when the next wave lurched the boat, was gone! There were other birds around so couldn't make out which one was our visitor. My best guess is that it accidently landed in the boat at night instead of landing on the water and then couldn't take off as it needs space to do that. Or was it a real smart guy who sensed an approaching gale and rode it out in absolute comfort! We will never know!


Tushar Kulkarni said...

Hi Dilip,

There you Go Man ! Wishing you great success on this mission. India is proud of you !


Neela Atya, Kumar Kaka ,Tushar , Leena & Miss Pranjal Bhopal (India)

Jaydeep said...

Regarding the birds instincts, I think it sensed the bad weather and found the shelter for the night. If you remember during tsunami incident, very few or none of the animals were found dead. Humans seem to have lost their ability to sense the weather ...

tell tale said...

I thought the navy had already shown you what a cold front is?

Anonymous said...

tough time ahead. only 8-10 days max to freemantle i suppose.
maybe the bird was as adventurous as you, willing to do what very few dared

pallavi said...

yeah any idea what is your feather visitor called ??

sai said...

Thats wonderful!!!!U look younger than yesteryears, i am tracking u on the net.

Inheritance India said...

Last night there was some spectacular thunder and lightning over Bombay and I was wondering what it must be all alone in the middle of the sea when there are such conditions.
Your mention of how your crew will arrive in Fremantle after you because of Delhi's bureaucracy reminded me of Manohar Parrikar, ex-CM of Goa who I connected with in an effort to get a leg-up for Mhadei's publicity. Mr Parrikar promised to call Admiral Awati for this. Admiral is still waiting for the promised call!

Anyway Mr P is in the news today. Evidently wants to be a frontrunner for National President of the BJP, and has compared Mr Advani to a pickle.