Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 10- chasing the high

Time: 1700 Zulu (noon PV time)
Position: 18-deg 11-min N 120-deg 25-min W
Wind: N 10-knots Seas: NNW 6-ft
Course: 308 T Speed: 6.2-knots
Rig: double-reefed main, 100% jib
24-hr distance traveled: 128-nm

Yesterday afternoon the clouds broke apart to allow some solid sunshine through. The winds were filling in from the N, the seas built almost instantaneously to 6-ft and we were still headed upwind a bit to gain northing. We decided that whether or not we needed it, it was a good time to grab a shower. So we pulled out our shower gear, the bucket, the freshwater filled insecticide sprayer, and braced ourselves, one foot in the cockpit and one foot up on the downwind seat to wedge ourselves safely. Several buckets of not-so-sudsy saltwater and a pressurized freshwater spray rinse later and it felt good to be clean again.

When the winds/seas increase, we want to be far enough north to be able to fall so all day yesterday we headed above the beam, moving quickly. As we are nearing a new moon, it has been very dark during night watches. Forced to use senses other than sight, small changes in the conditions are more difficult to notice. It's like being able to read another language but unable to understand an overheard conversation in that language. In addition, the protection of the dodger, creates a false sense of calm conditions. Still, even in the dark, around 10pm it became obvious that conditions were changing as waves splashed over the bow more frequently. Since the wind direction hadn't shifted, this must mean an increase in intensity was forcing our windvane to steer us higher into the wind.

Maybe Shawn just figured it would cyclically reduce as so many nights past it had, or maybe she just wanted to put off any sail changes until after her Pacific Seafarer checkin. Either way, plans rapidly changed when a sneaky wave got past the dodger to soak Shawn, the comfy dry watch cushions, and with the hatch open, the navigation station. This of course awoke Chris who joined on deck and together we pulled the main from it's 3rd reef down completely and fell off to a more comfortable beam reach. With the increased seas, being beam-to with the main down for several hours made life aboard quite rolly from side-to-side. This new configuration gave us a whole new chorus of noises (not worrisome but note worthy) to listen to and individually identify including the water in our two stainless tanks sloshing loudly around beneath our bunk.

We haven't quite broken into the southern edge of the high as it has been elusively moving west, just a day ahead of us as our newest weather guru Jacob (s/v Pisces) teasingly pointed out. (He is now in the midst of his physical oceanography PhD at UW and has been looking at models and sending us information- we are amazed that he can basically tell us exactly what we are seeing and thus we're trusting his predictions. Thank you, Jacob). Both he and Don Anderson say that we're close to some solid NEasterlies. This morning as we munch on pineapple and mango topped granola, the barometer is back up to 1015 and we are watching the winds fill in. Day 10 was our biggest mileage day yet, speeding over the peaks and gliding through the troughs of the waves. We are presently holding speeds so fast, we wonder if there is a current helping us along as we continue to chase the edge of the high.

1 comment:

  1. Leah, Gretchen, Luka, and GabeMay 26, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Huzzah for making such great progress! We're thinking of you and sending great wishes and love.