The  fourth and last leg of the Baltic expedition 2014 promises to be quite a windy one! We sailed from posh and noisy Sandhamn Sunday morning, when the sun was shining and the wind was promising us a beautiful sailing and sampling day. And it did…for a short time.
Of course, the weather forecasts did warn us and the sampling plan was adapted accordingly. The first sampling station was nearby, and we succeeded to take both trawl and pump samples
First Sampling
Eric, the captain, and Magnus, the expedition leader, set up an adapted sampling plan for the rest of the week; the second sampling station was planned just east of Gotland, but it was against wind. The other sampling stations were spread along the Gulf of Finland, and more downwind (from Gotland). With the predicted wind forces and directions, the chances for getting good samples were best to go southwest first, and then east and northeast.
During the evening and night the wind picked up and we were sailing close to the wind in forces of 30 knots, with two reefs in the mainsail and the jib. Later on the wind increased further to 35 knots and the jib was replaced by the staysail and a third reef in the mainsail. During the night and in squalls wind gusts of over 45 knots were measured, and the Sea Dragon was racing off and over ever increasing waves like an experienced surfer off Hawaiian waves. Fortunately for most, this was the ‘worst’ it got. About half of the crew did not handle well with the rough sea state so early in the expedition and disappeared below decks, or stayed close to the deck hose.
Arjen 2
After realising that we were not to do any decent sampling with this weather, and the knowledge that it would only get worse on Tuesday, we decided to seek shelter at the northern tip of Gotland, and this is where we are now. A new squall is coming and dinner is being served.
Arjen 3
Apart from the less than perfect sampling, the last leg of the Baltic expedition is enjoyable so far and far from boring (for the other half of the crew that is…). The weather development for the rest of the week is not likely to leave us much room for expecting all planned stations to be sampled. We are in need of a cunning plan…
– Arjen Boon, Baltic Sea Discovery expedition with MTM Research Centre, August 18, 2014
This post originally appeared on the Baltic Sea Expedition 2014 blog here

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