August 14, 2008
COG 339; SOG 6.9knts
App. Wind 20knts and gusting higher; 12degs Starboard
Set and Drift 025degs and 3.2 knots; Water Temp 82.1degs
Last time, you heard about the beginning of our heavy weather experience, so you might as well hear about the beginning of the end. Back on watch, and feeling OK, though not yet great, we began to encounter the back end of a stationary cold front that started to move off the coast just as we came through. Towards the end of my watch with partner Jack, we were running along as we watched the cells pass ahead on radar – except for the last one. This was a really nasty looking thing, which passed clear ahead producing both lightning and a rainbow. The wind behind the front veered substantially to the North, and we first thought we’d motor sail close hauled to be sure we got by and then tack over onto Starboard into Charleston. Didn’t work out that way. Within a few minutes, we’d gotten knocked enough that both wind and current were driving us towards the back end of the squall and out to sea. Time to exit the stream. So we tacked over and headed west, motor sailing a bit too close to the wind, but getting through as the current continued to push us North and East and 2 knots or more – increasing as we approched the western wall, where the current is known to be strongest. We could actually see salvation coming in the form of sunlight streaming through the clouds behind the front, and while we initially got 25 knots plus starting to oppose the current (not so good) we knew it wouldn’t last. By the time my next watch started at 0300, the sea was calming down a lot and the wind was down to 6.4 knots. We were still hours out of Charleston, but we were done with the rough stuff. Jack and I stayed on watch a bit to let folks sleep, as we were now feeling a good bit better. Cap’n Jim confided that it had taken hours to cross out of the stream, so we were likely over on the eastern edge when we started across (or the stream was particularly wide at this point).