About 12 hours after my last entry I was able to climb the mast and fix the jammed furler. I really don’t like climbing a wet slippery mast in 3 foot seas with no one below to tail me. I’ve been up my mast a dozen times this trip, mast steps save the day. They also foul my halyards but its a small price to pay. The winds have been light since Barrow Point (it is really Point Barrow). I’ve spent half my time on the tiller motoring away and the other half the time I’ve had enough wind to motor sail using the Monitor windvane to steer the boat. I spent most of that time curled up in my sleeping bag, reading a book on the history of Carthage on a kindle. Evidently, they were good merchants and bad politicians. Wealth alone is not enough to sustain a nation, without good leadership any country can fall apart.
There is a major storm system moving in so as you might have noticed I’ve stopped heading south. Alaska has a northerly current that stretches the length of its entire west coast. The current is strongest at the Bering straits, in some places flowing faster then the Gulf Stream off Hatteras. The problem is the winds are going to be gale to storm force and coming out of the north directly opposing the current. There is also a funneling effect caused by the land north of the Bering straits which will smash the waves together as they approach the straits. If I were to have continued south at my previous speed and heading I would of entered the Bering straits at the beginning of the storm and it would of been like sailing into the 7th circle of hell.
Plan B. Im going to deploy my parachute sea anchor off Cape Thomson and ride it out up here. Cape Thompson should give me some protection from the worst of the waves. At least it will for the first day. Eventually, l’ll drift far enough south that I’ll lose the Lisburne peninsulas wave shadow. Once the heavy weather begins I’ll hang out in my sleeping bag and read a book about Charlemagne. By the time the weather passes I should know his whole life story. The heavy weather will not start until the 4th and it looks like it will blow hard out of the north until the morning of the 8th. Weather forecasts in the Arctic are sketchy at best, but a big system like this is easy to see coming. I’m not sure how far this system will blow me south. I can drift 100 miles before I’m shipwrecked. I rode out a bad gale back in 2009 in the Bay of Biscay on this very sea anchor while sailing my Pearson 323. I drifted back at a little less then half a knot. At that rate I should have plenty of room to the south. It looks like I’ll have a weather window on the 8th and 9th to get through the Bering straits and into the Bering sea before the next big system comes. Well, Alaska isn’t known for its pumpkin pie. Its known for its big mountains and big seas, I don’t think it will let me down. All I can do now is wait for Poseidon to show up and start the festivities.
I just found out the storm system is really a typhoon that left Japan and hopefully will weaken by the time it gets to Alaska. Looks like I’m in for one heck of ride.