Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 7- going south to get west

Time: 1700 Zulu (noon PV time)
Position: 17-deg 19-min N 114-deg 17-min W
Wind: NNW 10-12-knots Seas: NW 2-ft
Course: 256 T Speed: 5.6-knots
Rig: double-reefed main, 100% jib
24-hr distance traveled/miles made good to Hilo: 97-nm/82-nm

Our diagnosis of the propane problem is a tired, corroded solenoid. We do have a replacement, but at this juncture have chosen not to install our new (used) one. Instead, Chris bypassed the solenoid, leaving the pressure gauge and regulator and, Voila, just in time for dinner, we had stove usage again. With the propane issue solved, the newest challenge being gaining the skills to negotiate the refrigerator. We installed our Norcold AC/DC front open fridge, just forward of amid-ships on the starboard side in the top half of what was called a half-hanging locker. It's original purpose was for usage while outfitting, plugged in at the dock, but since it's aboard, we've been making it work. Besides the obvious inefficiency from being a front loader, when heeling on a starboard tack, ungimbaled, it's contents tend to tumble out upon opening. We are aware of this and when paying attention, it is indeed possible to utilize especially with a map of its contents in your head. Yesterday, however, an ill timed wave launched a missile (aka metal water bottle) from the upper "freezer" portion. Attempting to catch it, the precious yoghurt took a dive, but not to be outdone, Shawn caught the yoghurt in mid-air. Still, the top came off and 1/4 of the contents sloshed out of the container oozing into every possible nook and cranny including the kitty litter located just below. <sigh> Oh well, note to self, always wear foul weather gear when opening a fridge from the downwind side.

We are very much enjoying the mellow winds while we have them. In less than 10-knots of wind we are able to sail comfortably on a beam reach (our fastest point of sail in light air) with our full complement of sails and no weather helm (whereas in heavier winds as the boat tends to round up, we have to drop the mainsail to move the center of effort forward in order to ease the workload on our Monitor, tiller, and rudder systems). We have been questioned by folks looking at our track as to why we're going south instead of heading straight line (called rhumb line) for Hilo- are we unable to point that high with our current winds? Not exactly. We could indeed point that high, but (1) it would be close hauled (i.e. uncomfortable) and (2) for long distances one must take into account the great circle route (i.e. follow a curve around the 3-dimensional Earth). The course we are sailing, actually is neither the rhumb line nor the great circle route. Instead, we are riding the south edge of the North East Pacific High. So, the course that we make is completely dependent upon where we are related to the high and what its winds are doing. As we're in the Northern Hemisphere, weather turns clockwise around the high, therefore, along the 19th parallel on the south edge of the high we've started with NW winds and as we move west, winds will shift N, then NE, and eventually ENE with which we'll be quite off the wind for more comfortable westward sailing and able to make up any northing we lost at the beginning.

Last night was quite mellow. The winds continued their cyclic bursts from the north, then shifting more NW and slacking some more before bursting from the north again. After dolphins visited during Chris' quite calm graveyard shift, Shawn awoke as the winds transitioned and filled in a bit more strongly from the north. The morning watch was something like this: log weather data, mix pancake batter while waiting for winds to cyclically slack, make pancake, winds haven't slacked so pull reef 1, flip pancake pour another, Moni still has too much weather helm, pull reef 2, flip pancake. So, with bellys full of apple-pecan-pancakes, we're currently flying along in fresh breezes sailing just under 6-knots getting used to a bit of a new point of sail as the winds continue to transition from NW to the north.


  1. Keep up the good work and calm. Are those flying fish edible? Will look forward to your next message. Much love, Mum

  2. Gretchen, Leah, Gabe, and LukaMay 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    You are truly amazing... sailing around the world while making pancakes! Much love to you all.

  3. Hope you're taking pictures! Ann-Marie and I are cracking some cold ones and toasting to continued smooth sailing...

  4. woohooo!!! I love the cooking details, it really brings me along for the ride. and keeps my mouth watering for more....

  5. Sounds like you are taking advantage of the weather, just like a Transpac yacht would do in the race. Just so you don't end up in the doldurms. As far as gliches aboard, well, selling Marine Electonics for 18 years, I've heard them all. Dont' forget to shut off the Propane tank... yes?

  6. Sorry, I'm Len Withington,Jr. On FaceBook