Day 36 - Good Trade Winds sailing!

Tuesday 30th November 2010 - Beautiful, sunny Day 36 - good sailing in SE Trades!

Up at 4am PST, as usual - well before dawn. A beautiful, starry, clear night sky, with bright crescent moon, lying 'on its back' and lighting up the scene!

It always takes a time to sort out the information for my noon UTC position/weather report, for posting on my website via the links there. I have to connect with a shore radio station (they have the necessary Internet connection), so that I can post my report over the radio by email via that station - that often takes a lot of time and effort - and is now becoming increasingly difficult as my distance from most of the shore radio stations slowly increases. That's why, when anyone emails me they should remember NOT to send my email back to me (delete it!) , or any other 'bumpf' for that matter.... It all takes radio time (and battery power that might be struggling to cope) to download over an often very slow, difficult connection. That said, I enjoy receiving emails!

This morning's report to Winlink looked like this (Yotreps is a NZ website that a lot of cruising boats report in to, for families/friends to keep track of them, and they make good use of the weather info given in reports like this):

YOTREPS: YES
TIME: 2010/11/30 12:00 UTC
LATITUDE: 01-47.20S LONGITUDE: 118-39.46W
COURSE: 195T SPEED: 5.6
WIND_SPEED: 13 WIND_DIR: SE
SWELL_DIR: SE SWELL_HT: 1.5M
CLOUDS: 1%
BARO: 1015 TREND: 0
AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 25.0C
COMMENT: 24hr DMG:125n.ml. Beautiful clear night. Crossed Equator y'day 0825PST

While I'm connected, I download incoming emails and if I'm behind with writing up my daily log for the website, I'll usually get that done and send it off as well. Invariably, there's also weather info to look at and think about, as well as keeping on top of email queries regarding current problems I'm having to deal with onboard (such as AP & VHF problems!) to get the help I need from technical people with the expertise/knowledge I'm lacking.

While I'm doing all that, the sun will have risen and the morning radio Nets are starting up - they provide a good way of making voice contact with people. Either I'll get back to sleep or, if propagation is good, I'll check in to one or two of them and maybe help out by relaying for them. I'm getting to know several regulars on the Nets now!

I'm amazed at how well my batteries are being charged at present... With so much solar and wind power going in, they're regularly over 13V, and it's not unusual for them to reach 14V - I'm having to take care, these days, not to OVERcharge them!! Seeing 14A going into them this afternoon from solar power alone, I ran my 12V watermaker today - normally, I only run that when topping up my batteries using the little diesel generator - but that's not been run now for nearly a week!

From the clear blue sky of earlier, the cloud very slowly built up over the day - large white cumulus, this afternoon - but not much overhead now, although a line of cloud ahead, on the S horizon.... I'm wondering if I'll get any squalls at some point - always something to keep an eye out for, but so far, no sign of any.... Just lovely gentle Trade Winds sailing, under mainly wind steering, in sunshine and good wind - around 14 kt from ESE-SE, so we're close reaching at 5.5-6.0 kt on a course of 185-195T. We're heeling in swell from the SE - I took a reef in this morning to stop excessive heeling - if the boat's not well-balanced, it's difficult for the wind steering to cope and if the electronic autopilot (AP) is on, it has to work a lot harder - using more battery power... The good news of this afternoon is that the foul current we've seen fora few days now has finally given way to a slight fair current - it's always nice to see our speed over the ground (SOG - given by the GPS) showing as more than the actual boatspeed (through the water)!!

After my problems with using the autopilot later yesterday morning, I was advised to try a couple of changes to the settings - I've done that and things are a little better but still not good enough to cope with stronger conditions and more demanding course-keeping - so that is still being worked on... It's a problem talking to someone in the UK who's 8 hours ahead - my morning (9am PST) is his late afternoon (5pm GMT) & end of the work day!

This morning's 24hr DMG was 125 n.ml. with half to one knot being lost to current over the period - we would probably have made 18 n.ml. more (DMG 143 n.ml.!) otherwise. We were 1300 ml ENE of the Marquesas, 1620 ml nearly due W of the Galapagos, 1500 ml from Mexico (nearest point: Tenacatita), 2483 ml from Hawaii .... and San Diego lay due N, 2100 ml away!

As I head S, I'll probably be passing betwen Pitcairn Island and Easter Island - they lie 1108 miles apart in the S. Pacific - to the NE of New Zealand and W of Chile in S. America.

Time for tea and thoughts of tonight's meal.... sunset not far away ... Still no 'green flash' seen, although yesterday I did see the 'emerald on the sun's finger' - the rim of the sun turned green just as it disappeared over the horizon - pretty, but NOT a 'green flash', which happens a few moments AFTER the sun has disappeared!! (I've only ever seen 2, maybe 3, green flashes - the very first one was spectacular!)

Written by : Mike

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