Rare Weather

Rare weather

Now in the Southern Hemisphere we keep pushing southeast to Bali. I have done this route in reverse twice and always found calm seas with the scattered local squall. As we are traversing in the transitional time when the seasons change we do encounter some rougher weather.

The crew experienced their first all-nighter on Furthur last night. With four of us the watches are luxurious. Two of the crew have done long trips on sailing yachts and Sam is so used to the boat now that I had total confidence. We awoke to a pounding northwesterly and pouring rain, as that squall passed we hoisted anchor and headed to the open stretch ahead. As predicted the wind died down and we enjoyed a gentle roll from behind. When I took my usual midnight to three watch I saw a huge cell approaching from behind. The wind picked up to over twenty knots and half the big radar screen filled with the sign of heavy rain. I could see the cell as it approached, long black cloud with torrential rain under it giving it a mushroom cloud look, ominous!

Soon the rain hit and hit hard, the radar put us right in the middle of the cell and there we stayed as it seemed to hover over us. Rain came down in sheets; visibility went to zero only to be illuminated by busts of lightning. The wind hit over thirty knots but being dead center in the squall the seas were mysteriously flat, this too will pass.

I stayed on watch until the cell passed and the rain calmed down but the following seas picked up in the wake of the cell. A confused sea emerged with swells from behind and wind waves from abaft the starboard side causing an occasional shimmer. Sam took over watch and it got a bit rougher so I dozed in the pilot house berth t be handy. She took it all like a veteran. We do get a bit complacent on Furthur as she is so stable and the usual seas calm so a few things did get launched in the galley. We all laughed that one would never leave a galley like we do on a sailboat.

There are many times on this voyage that I wish I was in a sailboat; clear nights with following seas and perfect sailing conditions. This is one of those times I was damn glad to be in a pilot house and a full displacement, stabilized trawler. We rode out the night in dry comfort and made good straight headway all night. No leaping about the deck reefing, no rain gear, no cumbersome safety harnesses and no danger of falling overboard. Give me a full array of two radars, plotters and sounders in full view in a dry pilot house, yup that is for me.