A miserable night at sea

We have just had a thoroughly miserable night.

Last view of Cherepovits

Last view of Cherepovits

We left Cherepovets with forecast 5 knot headwinds. The afternoon started well and fiveses were lengthy and voluble.

But the weather predictions were wrong. The worryingly shallow waters of Rybinsky Lake (5-10 m maximum) with 25 knots of wind on our port bow created very steep, short seas over a fetch of 40 miles. Poor Tainui without mast and steadying sails rolled abominably. The motion was made the worse because mastless, her centre of gravity was so much lower. At least the skies were clear and it was not cold. But just horrible nonetheless.

I was very worried about the mast and the three 6×1″ cross frames I had made to support it. A couple of times I went forward for an icy douche, to beef up their support stays. Mercifully our Heath Robinson structure survived, although poor Dirk’s dinner didn’t. What a baptism of fire for him. Little Miss Perfect, immune to seasickness, just loved it all. Dreadful woman.

At 3 am, after 12 hours of this misery, we turned into the 15 mile channel leading into Ribena (Rybinsk) which brought us head into the seas. Our speed dropped from 4 knots to 1.9 and the constant pitching was very irritating and stultifyingly slow.

Crosstrees supporting mast

Crosstrees supporting mast

Finally we were able to drop anchor in the Rybinsk Roads in flat water, and collapsed into bed.Total loss – 1 jerry can of fuel, Dirk’s dinner and my prestige as route planning manager.

approaching the great Rybinsk lock

approaching the great Rybinsk lock

After 4 hours of coma and in bright sun we entered the great Rybinsk lock, gateway to the Volga River. Today’s fresh headwinds have veered 30 degrees. Had we deferred our departure from Cheropovets the winds would have been right on the nose for our crossing of Rybinsky Lake and I feel justified in deciding to cross the reservoir last night instead of today.

Dirk’s seasickness, whose ground had been generously laid by our fiveses the evening before, vanished as we sidled along in the river’s still waters. I have assured hime that last night’s adventure was not a normal sailing experience.

I advise those who follow to choose Rybinsky Reservoir weather carefully, before setting out for the trip down to Rybinsk.

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