We've had the most terrible weather
I've ever seen in three years of sailing here -- gale after gale after gale, blowing in on an endless parade of deep Atlantic lows. Just my luck to have had three weeks on the boat, just at this time.
The weekend was really bad -- a violent Nor'easter was blowing, and at Cowes it blew all night without getting below 40 knots, with gusts in the 50's. Cowes is exposed to the Northeast. Five boats sank at their moorings.
I was in Poole with a friend who had to catch a plane to the U.S. The forecast
for Sunday was NE 5, which would have been perfectly decent conditions to get back to the Hamble. Even if it was really a F6 (usually the wind
is one force above the forecast), it would not have been a problem.
But in the event it was blowing a full F8, and directly from ENE, our direction of travel. We headed out of the Swash Channel right into the teeth of it, with big square waves (wind against tide -- another hard lesson) washing
. The nav lights look funny
glowing under the surface of the water
I made NE to get closer to the shore where there is less tidal flow and less fetch, and the sea state gradually eased, letting me eventually get up to 5 knots, then 6. It was a hard crossing of Christchurch Bay into the teeth of that gale. One crewmember became violently seasick.
By the time we got into the Solent via the North Channel, the sea state was fine, and I put some sail up and motor
Back on my mooring
on the Hamble, I discovered a lot of engine oil
in the bilge
. This happened to me once before -- motorsailing against a full gale at night in the English Channel
, coming back from Cherbourg, last year. On that occasion, there was so much oil
that the turbocharger bogged down, making me think the engine
was going. This time I didn't have any power problems; the engine ran fine with good vital signs the entire trip. The oil level was even ok when I arrived.
Does this happen to any of you? Is this inherent when operating a Yanmar
in rough conditions? Or is there something wrong with my engine? Last time I thought the engine was overfilled. But this time I checked the oil before setting out -- seemed to be at the right level. I really don't get it.