Day 27 Into calmer, sunny conditions - pleasant, gentle sailing - until nightfall...!

Sunday 21st Nov 2010 - wind shifts to E-ENE and we head SE-ESE

A bird roosted on the solar panel overnight.. but had left by first light. Still seeing an occasional storm petrel darting over the waves and a soaring, graceful, blue-grey and white prion nearby.

Thought we were into SE Trades - but not yet!! Our track is a zig-zag from effect of tropical Low remnant and trough we passed through yesterday and overnight. We actually were struggling to head East late in the night with a SSE wind, so before getting to sleep, after posting position report at 5am, we tacked around - and made a far better speed and course, heading SSW. When I woke up 4 hrs later, we were heading nicely SSE with the wind having shifted to E - being under wind steering has definite advantages in that situation - I hadn't needed to do anything...! We've continued to head SE-ESE over the day - making good Easting, ready for the SE Trades when we reach them. But South winds are expected ahead before that.

A relaxing day ... very warm & humid this afternoon: sea 30C, air 29C, humidity 73%. I'd treated myself to a fresh grapefruit with breakfast in the cockpit and later enjoyed a fresh tomato with some of Port Townsend Creamery's cheese for lunch.

It was so warm & sunny, I decided to do laundry in the cockpit using an enormous "Spanish fishermen's bucket", the idea being that if the water spills, it will simply go down the cockpit drain...safer than doing it down below! I stripped off, added my clothes Into the washing in the bucket to soak in detergent and had a lovely shower - I feel great!

Forecast just received ... typical of ones of late: " INTERTROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE...09N84W TO 07N106W TO 10N122W..... NO SIGNIFICANT CONVECTION.'
Since we're presently at roughly 10N 120W, we're clearly very close to the ITCZ axis .... but all I'm seeing so far are fairly average rainclouds - nothing too dramatic.. According to the satellite picture of the clouds in the Pacific that I just downloaded, it looks as though the strong convection is now to the N and W of us.

LATER:...... Oh well, I was clearly tempting Fate with that statement! At 7.15pm, I was just noting down our position and other details ready for the Pacific Seafarers Net when I realized we were heeling rather a lot - the wind had got up.... I could hear rain... We were upwind of a large raincloud close by - and getting its strong wind effect. We'd accelerated & were making excellent speed -but heeling rather too much... time to start furling in the full genoa. Well, it's great to see your speed up at 7.6 kts or so ... but not so good when the furling line gets jammed in the winch self-tailer, so you can't furl in when you need to...!!

I'd been a bit careless and hadn't donned my headlamp as I normally do at night when going up on deck to trim the sails... the moon was so bright... Fortunately, we survived unscathed, bar the heeling and a flapping genoa for a time... and came away from the cloud & into clearer sky .... calmer but still with good wind. I was able to sort out the jam with the aid of the other winches close by.... no rolling hitch needed this time .. In the dark, I'd thought the line had left the 'jaw' of the self-tailer - and had wrapped it around a second time.... wondered why it was so difficult to winch in.... I should have stopped sooner to investigate... when winches get unexpectedly difficult to turn, there's usually a good reason...!

Our 24 hr DMG to this morning was just 81 miles - if you could see our convoluted, zig-zagging track, you'd understand why!

We're 640 n.ml W of the small atoll of Clipperton Island - a French possession, 2100 n.ml. ESE of Hawaii, 1840 n.ml.WNW of the Galapagos Islands and 1030 n.ml SW of Cabo Corrientes in Mexico.

Written by : Mike

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