As it turned out, the conditions on Thursday, the 7th of April, were far heavier than anticipated. Shortly before we decided to head back to port, we saw 32 knots on the wind instruments. We were up against pretty steep 1.5m sea, despite deliberately having chosen a route which was just 2-3 miles leeward of the coast, and with good water depth. Having motorsailed out of Middelfart with the jib, we had the headsail up. In those conditions we would probably have needed no jib at all and the mainsail in its second reef. Due to a jammed roller we’d have to tie in the 2nd reef manually though, which would have been problematic to say the least, in those conditions.
Under jib alone, the center of effort was way too far forward, and as a result could make only very limited progress to windward. After driving the bow through a wave, the anchor locker was flooded, and we were concerned about the locker’s hatch being damaged if we did that a few more times. Further along our route, we’d have been in much more open water, where the wind and the seastate likely would have been heavier still, so Daniel decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and we headed back to Middelfart once more. It was the right call to make. Heading back, was like any afternoon sail, with the wind and waves form behind, things were pretty relaxed and we made port shortly thereafter.
The rest of the day we just hung around and had a relaxed day in port. On a side note, I’d taken seasickness tablets (50mg dimenhydrinate) twice the day before, and once that morning (and they really worked), but despite being far below the maximum recommended daily dose, I really felt their side-effects that afternoon. Common side effects (>10% of cases) include sleepiness and muscle fatigue, and while I had a bit of that the day before, I wasn’t of any use when we docked that day, I was just lethargic to the point of not wanting to even move anymore. On top of that I was feeling down and a bit depressed, and ended up wandering off on my own for well over an hour, to try and clear my head a bit. I certainly recognized that gloomy state of mind from many years ago, but I couldn’t really understand why I suddenly felt that way again, and why I was having such a hard time working my way back to a positive mindset. Later that afternoon I read through the list of side-effects: depressive mood, in 1-10% of cases… Go figure… A few hours later I was right as rain again. It’s certainly something to take note of for the future though!
The next day we got up, and looking at the wind we knew that all of our efforts of that week were going to be royally rewarded! 🙂 On Friday we had perfect sailing conditions with 10-20 knots of wind at a true wind angle of 90-110° for most of the day. We never sailed higher than 60° or lower than 120° TWA, despite threading our way through several islands and channels. We had waves on the beam or on the stern the entire time, and even had as much as a knot of favorable current at times. That day we sailed 63 miles in just under 10 hours, without jibing or tacking once. That was pretty neat!
Overall I learned a tremendous amount on this trip, especially about the interior layout of a 9 meter boat, which is knowledge I’ve been busy applying to my own design, since I got back. I think Daniel, who intends to circumnavigate the Baltic Sea in his boat this summer, has picked a great vessel for the job, and I think he’s got a great experience infront of him. I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to sail with him and Hilke so early in the season, and I’m eager as ever to get out there on my own boat!