Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Typical Fun Passage

We are 70 miles out, and will therefore arrive after dark. Dave says we'll go in rather than heaving to. He's been told it is a easy marked passage into the main ship pier, where we'll have to tie up to clear Customs, etc.

The forecast said (and still says) we should have tradewind conditions from 15-20 knots. Well, we're down to about 10 knots, in 20-knots-worth of sea--sloppy rolly slow conditions. We gave up sailing Dead Down Wind at about 6am on Dave's watch. He just got frustrated and turned the engine on.

The last 36 hours have been challenging. Instead of "tradewind conditions" at 20 knots, we had squally conditions where the mean wind was about 14-17 knots, but 25 knots in squalls. This is always challenging.

To make matters worse--we didn't get around to re-sealing our bimini before we left Kwajalein (we had 2 gallons of 303 shipped in to Kwaj just for this purpose). We were too busy and a good day (wind wise) just never presented itself. Well, that project has moved way up in the priority list. When it rains we now have a fairly steady stream of water pouring down on our heads at the helm station. There is a low spot in the bimini at just the wrong location. It wouldn't be too bad, but when the wind gusts up on this point of sail, we have to hand steer--neither the wind vane nor the autopilot can handle the changing wind conditions gracefully.

I finally took a black garbage back and rigged up a temporary "awning" over the helm to funnel the water away. It's a big help, but the whole cockpit is wetter than it should be. Need to re-coat the Bimini ASAP!

At one point in our passage planning, we had hoped to be in this evening. According to our polars (a table of how fast the boat goes on what point of sail in what wind conditions) and the forecast--according to the Maxsea Performance Routing module)--we should have been able to make it easily by sunset. The fault is mainly in the fact that the actual wind was nearly always about 5 knots LESS than forecast (except in the squalls), so we never made the speed we anticipated. We're also pretty heavily loaded and our polars are probably a little over-ambitious on this point of sail.

The seas yesterday during the squalls were huge--3 meters according to the forecast. That makes life aboard challenging. Picture trying to chop vegetables. I've got the cutting board, the counter, and the green beans in one hand, and a knife in the other hand. Make one chop and the green bean pieces roll immediately into the sink. Wait for a wave to come by to be able to let go with non-knife hand and grab the pieces and throw them into the pot. Anything not nailed down is flying around (or sliding back and forth). Nothing stays where you put it.

Getting up in the middle of the night half asleep to go to the bathroom is another adventure. We have hand-holds at monkey-vine distance all the way from the aft cabin to the forward head. I know where every one of them is, and can easily navigate this in the dark. But I'm half asleep (and trying to stay that way, so I can fall back asleep easily), and the boat is lurching around madly. Just pulling your pants down in that situation is a challenge!!

Anyway, we're making it. We're tired and ready for this to be over.

At 02/04/2014 11:16 PM (utc) our position was 07°12.67'N 159°22.28'E

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