Sunday, November 13, 2016

Land Ho Philippines!

After a fast and beautiful moonlit sail, slightly off the wind and with the current with us, we made great time.

An Easy Passage

We normally put one reef in the main at sunset, which pretty much sets us up to handle any normal squally conditions, with whoever is on watch. But last night was so nice, and the wind so light, that we didn't reef the main at sunset. But by 11:30pm, the wind had risen to 15-16 knots, so I woke Dave up. We put a reef in the main, and a reef in the jib, and were still doing over 8 knots! Just before we reefed, we clocked 9.5 knots!! In the early morning hours, the wind died off a little and Dave unfurled the jib. Then as soon as I got up, we shook the reef out of the main.

The only thing that marred the beautiful sail was having to watch for fishing boats and unlit FADs. We saw a number of white lights out there, passing through the fishing grounds, but never got close enough to see exactly what it was. I tried, but could not pick them up on radar, so most were probably the large wooden trimaran-like "mother ships". These carry a stack of smaller single-person fishing boats. They go offshore for a week or two at a time. We have seen FADs up to 200 miles offshore! We did NOT see any unlit FADS overnight, though we did see one yesterday. It was a big rusty cylinder (something like a large industrial sized propane storage tank). A collision with something like that would have been disastrous as we were smoking along at 8-8.5 knots.

Our Code Zero Sail (Light Roller Furler)

We are now (10am local) 20 miles from San Agustin, with an ETA around 1pm Palau time. This is the SE-most point of Mindanao. We've got sunny skies and the wind has dropped off to about 6-7 knots. We put up the Code Zero, our light air roller-furling sail, and are "drifting" along, making about 4.5 knots through the water and 6-7 over the bottom. A newly-discovered feature of our integrated Raymarine instrument package is the ability to have the autopilot track the relative wind, which is much easier to manage keeping our speed up. (Trim the sails for one relative wind and let it fly).

Dave's Home-Made "Prodder"

We plan to round Cape San Agustin and then hustle along the west coast of the peninsula to anchor in a place we have stopped before. We'll get there just before dark and plan to leave at the crack of dawn to go the final 40 miles into the marina, Monday afternoon.

At 11/12/2016 11:45 PM (utc) our position was 06°30.35'N 126°37.66'E

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