Last night was a bit of a challenge! As darkness fell the increasing wind and the ominous black clouds on the horizon prompted us to put in the third and final reef into the mainsail, just as a precaution, and, oh, we were glad we did. At about 8.00pm the first of those clouds unleashed rain and wind, lots of it, and that became the pattern for most of the night. Some frantic winching in the cockpit, in torrential rain with waves crashing over us for added excitement, saw the yankee rolled away to about a quarter of its normal area and this reduced sail plan saw us safely, if not comfortably, through the squally night. We saw sustained winds of 30-30 knots (Force 7) and one half-hour period of mid-40's, with a peak of 51; that's Severe Gale Force 9.
Maunie coped admirably through it all, though the regular waves crashing over us were certainly a pretty stern test of our deck repair. We are delighted to report that it remained completely watertight.
This morning the rain clouds are long gone and we have blue skies and winds down to 22 knots. The sea state is still a bit rolly but we are making a steady 6.5 to 7 knots towards Bundaberg, now 130nm away. The forecast is for the wind to continue to drop and to go more behind us so, if the rolling isn't too bad, the Parasailor may be making an appearance for the final approaches. Final approaches with are, suddenly, busy with ships; we had three pass within a couple of miles of us this morning (heading between Singapore and Brisbane). We'll be keeping a good lookout as we approach the busy Queensland coast and it was reassuring to talk to one of the tankers this morning on the VHF to confirm that our Echomax active radar reflector was bouncing back strong echoes and that our AIS transmissions were good.