Monday, September 27, 2010

Enroute to Hawaii - Day 11

<yawn> Another long day on the high seas.

We had a very quiet night last night--the wind was light and we ghosted along, averaging only 4 knots. But we were able to keep sailing in mostly the right direction. I had to talk Dave out of turning on the engine several times, but fortunately every time the wind dropped off to the 'too light to sail comfortably' range, it would pick back up just enough to convince Dave to keep sailing.

For a few hours this morning we had some really nice wind--close to 15 knots, but it soon eased off again to the 10 kt range. We still were able to average 5 knots for most of the day. Our noon-to-noon mileage was 121 miles--the lowest so far this trip.

But it was a nice sunny day, and really a beautiful sail. However, we've been at sea for 11 days, and we are ready to "get there".

All 4 boats we've been tracking on this trip are now out of the ITCZ, and though we all suffered through about 36-48 hours of drizzle and shifty winds, no one clocked over about 22 knots, and no one saw any lightning. Pretty different than we expected. Hope we get as lucky on our return trip in April next year.

We have seen only 2 ships so far in 1300 miles of sailing. One was a freighter who crossed our in the middle of the ITCZ. It was enroute from Los Angeles to New Zealand. We 'saw' him on the AIS and the radar, and talked to him on the radio, but never actually saw him--even though he passed within 2 miles of us. The constant drizzle obscured him completely. Usually a freighter of that size is lit up like a Christmas tree, and you can see them 10 miles away. Another ship just passed us a couple of miles away. Again, we saw him first on the AIS, then went out and looked for him.

For the non-boaters, AIS stands for Automated Identification System. It is a new gadget that big ships are required to have that broadcasts a digital signal over the VHF radio (receivable about 25 miles away), with the ship info, location, speed, and direction. We have a receiver aboard that receives that signal, and plots it on our computerized charting system. It's pretty cool. Way better than radar. The ship's info includes the name of the ship, what kind it is (freighter, tanker, etc), how big it is, and its destination. I think we'll be upgrading our AIS receiver to a transmitter when we get to Hawaii. That way THEY can see US too.

658 Miles--about 5 more days--to Hilo, Hawaii.
At 9/27/2010 7:14 AM (utc) our position was 12°41.29'N 146°17.14'W

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