Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easter Island to Gambiers day 3

0700 Report (0000 GMT)
South Pacific Ocean
29 16.2S/113 45.2W

NW winds peristed yesterday through the noon hour. At noon we sailed between 2 small squalls 25 miles apart connected by a line of clouds between them. Just like the looking glass, when we came out the other side, we found the SE winds we were looking for on the other side of the front.. Well, here is where it got interesting because just like wonderland the SE wind grew, and Grew, and GREW!...until we were sailing with winds steady at 30 knots plus (averaging over 30 kn individual hour after hour) with gusts noted as high as 40 knots. This is what we sailors call too much of a good thing. Jo, who remains a seer, suggested we shorten sail even before our staedy 30's, and we found ourselves sailing with a triple reefed mainsail (about the size of a handkerchief), and staysail (about the size of a postage stamp). We also ran off downwind to lessen our apparent wind and this sail combo did pretty well in terms of balancing wind speed as we slowed to a reasnably comfortable 7 knots ...but then there were the swells. I still long for the tall but gently sloped long period swells this ocean is known for, but I seem to drag atlantic condiitons any where I go. There was a large southerly primary swell 10 - 12 feet, but quite square with steep sides, and these were joined by a wind driven SE swell and let's just say that things have been rather kinetic, although I think that Jo might have a more colorfull description for these conditions. These devilish swells actually seem to work in pairs as one biggie will slide us quickly down his backside causing our bow to slide faster, thus spinning us just enough to be walloped abeam to by his successor. Quite nasty, really.

Well dear reader, I think you can tell we are having fun yet!

Conditions this morning have improved somewhat, as we are seeing winds of only 20 - 25 knots, a comparitive zephyr. Swells remain however. The confounding thing is that the GRIB weather files we download called for less than 10 knots through the night, and 15 knots max yesterday, seemingly on a different ocean in a different planet. GRIBs contain incredible amounts of weather data and are so popular now that many people rely on them as the end all source and the only thing you need for weather, but in the end they are just computer models forecasting conditions in your neighborhood. They lack the interpretation of human intelligence and obviously can be very wrong. At times like these, one wants a meteorolgist and weather guru to opine. Ken, I know you are out there. Are you listening? Locus Weather will give us a sense of what to expect over the next 24 hrs and a why the GRIBS might be so wrong. Ken's routing advice will also take into account the seas and will try to avoid having them on our beam. Finally, we need to set ourselves up to head NW from 29 -30S in a few days, near 118W.

We did manage a memorable dinner last night as Gram offered to rub and roast a filet of beef, served with baked potatoes and salad. It was wonderfully tasty, even though presentation was impeded by the bowls it was served in. Flying fish report can be "one in the cabin". That's right, in the cabin. We had a hatch open yesterday (before noon, of course) and a fish flew in right onto the galley counter whilst Jo was fixing lunch. I must say that at first I did not believe her, but I think that we got it back in the water quickly enough to survive the visit.

Winds continue to ease, and I am seeing numbers in the teens still from the east, 104 deg. mag. Time soon to shake out a reef. We made162 nm 6AM - 6AM. 1208 nm to go.

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