Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wednesday 27th June

At Sea
4 26.075 S
104 42.007 W (at Midnight)

The good thing was that as the night continued we both managed to sleep a bit despite the fact that the boom kept banging because the wind dropped to about 6 knots and we couldn’t keep the sail full. With the sky as black as it was we expected it to rain or at least produce some wind gusts – huh who was I kidding, it did nothing; we didn’t sail we wallowed until dawn. I thought we might have hit the famous doldrums but Gerry and the book say that we are already past them – I certainly hope so as I don’t like this motion at all. Gerry did the morning radio schedule and Y Not had similar problems all night too; after a bit of discussion with the guys Gerry decided we had nothing to loose by trying to run square to the wind and pole out our jib; effectively this means that we have the jib out one way and the main sail out the other and try to use the wind directly from behind. As the wind was so light there is no certainty that we could keep either sail full and as each collapses and fills again there is even more banging, but anything was worth trying at this point. The grib chart for the next 24hrs showed that the winds were likely to be the same – oh joy! We talked about trying to run the spinnaker but despite the weather chart Gerry was very reluctant as there was so much cloud and possible gusts around. We decided to put the main away and run with just the jib poled out to one side, we ran like this for a while. Gerry went for a short sleep and then the wind began to drop even further; it was time to try something else. Out came the spinnaker, we furled the jib away and prepared to put it up; I was dreading the temper tantrum that had followed the previous deployment of the spinnaker and agreed to put it up only on the condition that we had no shouting and bad temper. For the first time it went up without a hitch, didn’t tangle, the sock didn’t get stuck and it didn’t wrap around the forestay – a minor success. However, once we had it up we very quickly realized that it wasn’t going to fly - back to plan B; whatever that was! It turned out to be the ever reliable mechanical wind! The jib went back out on the pole but couldn’t hold any shape as the wind had died down to 2 knots and less. The engine went on at very low revs and we motor sailed for the rest of the day reaching the nose bleed speed of 4.5 knots at least twice for 10 seconds! This is sailing at its worst but at least we kept moving forward and the infernal banging had stopped. Gerry did the 17.00hrs radio schedule; of the 4 boats only JJ Moon had had a good run for the day, the rest of us had struggled and resorted to motorized wind or gone around in circles chasing the wind. We discussed what we were going to do for the night as we don’t carry a great deal of fuel and can not motor indefinitely, the solution was that we would put the main back up along with the jib poled out and sail to the direction of whatever wind there was; this is fraught with danger as it means that we could be going miles out of our way. Up until this point we had been following a rhumb line course to the Marquesas, by following the wind we would be creating a cross track error which would ultimately add miles to our trip but we decided that it was better to keep moving somewhere than to wallow and bang around. Having made the decision we applied it and began to head much further south than west, the wind was now about 8 knots and we kept it on the beam to keep the sails full without the banging and slapping; I have to say it is very distressing watching the cross track error increase by the second but at least we were now moving forward at a decent pace again. The other boats are already a lot further south than we are so it will put us more in line with them but eventually we will have to make up the miles that we are pilling on by heading off course. The sea was flat as a tack and you could see for miles, it would have been a great day for whale spotting - if there had been any to spot (and we did try, all day!) We ate dinner and watched a beautiful sun set, the only thing missing was the ever elusive green flash, I am convinced it doesn’t exist, the conditions were perfect for it and it just didn’t happen. The sky changed to a picture perfect blend of blues, mauves and pinks to the east and yellow, orange and red to the west, it’s a pity that our digital camera doesn’t pick up enough of the variance to do justice to what we are seeing. The moon came out almost full and lit up the sky followed by a million stars looking like pinpricks of light – truly magnificent to see. The night watches began and we were both glad that we were moving along without the banging and rolling that we had experienced the previous night, at least we could sleep for the night.



Blogger Ray Lopez said...

Hi guys,
Just remember this when it gets dull and not so exciting.
"The sky changed to a picture perfect blend of blues, mauves and pinks to the east and yellow, orange and red to the west" and the possibility of seeing the ever elusive green flash. I wish I was there.
Chin up ;)

7:52 p.m.  

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