Thursday, April 1, 2010

Enroute from Easter Island to Pitcairn - Day 8

I keep thinking of Jimmy Buffett's song that goes "The days drift by, they don't have names."

It is Tuesday, March 30th, and it's hard to believe that we've been out here on our second leg of this grand journey for 8 days already. With a 24 hour watch schedule, the days just kind of blend into one another. If we didn't have watches with the day and the date, it would be really hard to know how many days it had been.

We have been running almost straight down wind for 2 days now. We started out with a triple reefed main and the genoa, but even that tiny main was blanking the genoa when we tried to head more down wind. So we took the main down early yesterday, and we've just got the big genoa up, without the pole. We've gybed twice over the last 36 hours, taking advantage of minor wind shifts... the wind started out SE, then E, and now is a little north of East.

We contemplated putting the pole on the genoa. But our pole is huge. 4" in diameter and about 20 feet long. It would be an adventure getting that sucker rigged up at the dock, much less doing it on our foredeck running downwind in 8 foot seas! But I have never seen it done on Soggy Paws, so Dave and I promised ourselves that we'd rig it up at anchor sometime soon, so we can both familiarize ourselves with the process. If the winds were lighter, we might want to wing-on-wing with the main, and we'd for sure want the pole up then.

The wind is still blowing close to 20 knots out of the East. This afternoon the waves were huge, but not bashing us around as much as yesterday, for some reason. Down here at 26° South, we are not that far from the famous 'Roaring Forties' (the very 'boisterous' area at 40° South). Our wide-area GRIB file extends down that far, and we can Lows pushing into the Highs, and big squash zones with 45 knot winds. We can see where the large confused sea comes from down here. There always seem to be 3 different wave trains, no matter which way your current wind is blowing.

Dave thinks we'll be at Pitcairn on Friday morning, April 2nd. We have about 24 more hours of good wind, and then the wind is supposed to peter out when we are still about 180 miles away from Pitcairn. If we want to take advantage of light winds to actually be able to visit Pitcairn, we'll have to crank up the 'iron genny' (our engine) and motorsail the last day into Pitcairn.

We plan to spend a day, or maybe two, at Pitcairn, if the anchorage is not too bad, and then head for the Gambier Islands, 300 more miles west of Pitcairn. Looks like it could be a beam reach in moderate winds between Pitcairn and Gambiers.
At 3/31/2010 5:01 AM (utc) our position was 25°47.88'S 124°08.00'W

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