Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 0- Punta Mita to San Benedicto

Time: 1500 Zulu (noon PV time)
Position: 20-deg 20-min N 106-deg 49-min W
Wind: WWNW 5-7-knots Seas: W 2-3-ft
Steering: 235 T at approx 4-knots
Rig: Full main, 100% jib
Distance traveled: approx 80-nm

We pulled Rocky aboard at just before 1500 PV time and were off! Breezes were brisk with a promontory effect as we left Banderas Bay with two reefs in the main in slightly confused seas. Soon the reefs were shaken and though the seas were still coming from several directions, they settled into a predominately W swell at 2-3-ft. It was difficult to stay sad as the sun set and we waved goodbye to our last view of mainland Mexico because a brilliant full moon was rising spotlighting our way.

Nice mellow winds held through the night slacking only as the sun rose. This is the chance we have taken leaving during no specific wind event- calms between here and the Soccoro Islands. The GRIB files foretold very little wind and what there is from the direction we are trying to go. Knowing that hurricane season has officially begun we feel a bit of pressure to get into the NE winds as soon as possible so as the sails began to flog we decided to bring down the main and motor sail for awhile. This is the price we pay to not leave during a norther and have solid 20-knot winds, instead the light and variables (the comfort of which we so far much prefer). An hour later Shawn powered Yannie down in order to hear the Amigo Net weather and check in after which there was just enough to make way again under sail. Back up went the main and though we are not able to make our Soccoro Islands (aka Islas Revillagigedo) waypoint (specifically we're making way toward Isla San Benedicto) with a near-Westerly wind direction, the sailing is beautiful. We call them "Shawn winds" as they are steady yet relaxing, pulling us along at around 4-knots through the blue water dappled with silvery sun. With the winds this light we've even rolled out our awning creating very luxurious conditions aboard (i.e. this is being written on the computer in the shady cockpit sitting on comfy cushions with a nice breeze coming over the rail).

We have chosen to employ a non-rotating schedule of 4-shifts, 6-hours each (during settled weather at least) in hopes that a sleep schedule will emerge. Chris gallantly accepted the graveyard shift (1am-7am) and even got up (though he wasn't actually tired yet) to sign into the Pacific Seafarer roll call (10pm or 0300 Zulu) and caught his dad on frequency. Shawn is working to get a galley schedule rolling attempting to get through all of the freshies aboard (which managed to get wet when a random wave strangely slapped the side of the boat and came directly in through our front hatch...). Chris' seasick meds are working okay, Shawn just burps a lot as her body finds it's balance, and Grizzly joins us staggering around as we all re-gain our sea legs. Sea-time is strange as every task seems to take at least 15-minutes at which point we do another horizon scan for boats. None seen yet, though when we checked our GRIB files this morning we also switched on our AIS and it showed an unnamed boat near it's closest point to us over 50-nm away. We are loving the Mexican sun, winds and waters as current life aboard revolves around the slightest shift in weather conditions, sleep, food, and radio check-ins. It will indeed be interesting to see how our journey evolves.


  1. GRIB files come from weather forecasting websites and show wind arrows (direction and intensity) over any rectangular area of the chart at say 6 hour intervals out one or several days ahead. They can be automatically overlaid on marine charts in the computer.

    AIS is a receiver that picks up digital signals from passing ships and some medium sized yachts/boats. The data ia presented on a marine chart showing location, size, speed, name, destination AND estimated collision time (or closest point of approach) for these other (mostly unseen by human eyeball as they are likely on the horizon) ships.

  2. Wed am. C and S report via Ham contact with Dad (Dave) some uncomfortable unsettled sea state they have had overnight which unfortunately produced some unsettled stomachs on board. C says not to be concerned as they have altered course and the boat is riding better this morning.

    Dad here hopes they might get a break at Isla Soccoro sort of en route, but C says winds are still too westerly to head that far north.