7/8th June Days 2&3 of the Great Trek North!!

Sunday 8th June 08

As I write this, the sea has a glassy surface, although plenty of small wavelets.. not much wind in these parts: 2-3 knots, whether from dead astern as now or from any other direction, doesn't make for good sailing! I'm motoring, changing course very slightly, trying to keep some wind in the mains'l, and have just been forced to furl in the genoa.

I'm presently trying to eke out my fuel while trying to get West. I was expecting to motorsail in not much wind initially, before heading NW, tacking N & then NE ..!! Had a rainsquall up to 27-30kn yesterday early (boat heeling woke me up just beforehand...as wind built!) Got totally drenched as I reefed hurriedly and had to towel off & get some warm dry clothes on. Similarly this morning, I sensed the boat heeling slightly & found the wind rising so we got sailing nicely & switched off the motor
for a bit. Gribs not looking too hopeful for wind over next five days - but they've been completely wrong for today's wind - so maybe things will be better than they are predicting.

I'm on Day 3 now of the Great Trek North - hoping not to have TD/TS/hurricane problems while I'm down this way....!!

Actually ended up with four blissful hours of pure sailing this morning! Was so nice to be sailing in peace & quiet but didn't last long enough & had to keep resisting the urge to turn on motor again as boatspeed dipped down to below 5 kn. If this continues for very long (as in over 2 weeks!) there's no way I'll get to SF in time... At this moment, I've 2-3 knots of wind from the SE, boatspeed (at 1000revs - minimum) is 4.7 knots and SOG is just over 5.2 knots. It looks as though I've still got
the favourable current I experienced along the Panama coast around Punta Mala yesterday - the Equatorial Current, maybe?? Long may it continue!! I keep gazing at grib files, trying to decide what to do for the best - present plan is to make a course of 275-280 in hope of sailing in gentle breeze in a week's time...

Unusually, apart from carrots (in fridge), I've very little fresh fruit & veg - just some apples,bananas & grapefruit and onions & potatoes. Tomatoes I bought in the Rey supermarket in Colon lasted about 3-4 days before disintegrating into a wet mess - must have been chilled.

I tried to raise Don Anderson yesterday - heard him on 16534 kHz frequency but couldn't make sense of what he said, despite another English-sounding boat trying to relay for me - pity, since he usually provides good weather info. I'd emailed him so he was expecting me & swung his antenna my way - I'll try again Monday.

Both day's runs so far (trying to motorsail & economize on fuel consumption) have been around 130 ml - with 4000 ml total to SF.... a long haul!! I keep gazing at the fuel gauge (in the red!), wondering if I dare let it run for a bit longer - I'll have to switch tanks soon, if only for peace of mind - and to save myself unnecessary fuel line bleeding!! (Just did it... just over 50hrs of minimal engine use so far..)

Written by : Mike

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