Happy Fourth July to my US friends!!
Sunday 4th July 2010 (Day 32)
(Onboard I'm still in NZT! The actual date today is really 3rd July and actual 4th July, in position where "Nereida" is now, is tomorrow - I've still not adjusted my calendar after having crossed the Date Line from New Zealand! ... confusing?....)
A perfect day!!! Sailing beautifully and fast in bright sunshine, full genoa & staysail, swell not too bad, so we're not heeled way over too often (took 2nd reef in overnight), and we're laying our course to Kauai - all very relaxing and enjoyable. Definitely makes up for those 'other' days!! Boat speed 7.0 knots, SOG 6.4 knots... Oh well, when you're going fairly fast and wind is in a good direction to lay your course (E4, 13knots, at present), a slight loss to current is not so important. (Of course, by noon, we'd had the first two squalls - had increased wind but missed the rain!)
The day even started well with a lovely sunrise around 0400 UTC - I checked in with the SHTP10 0900PDT Roll Call - I've not managed a morning one before! 'Idefix' finishes around sunset today and 'Hecla' finished yesterday... It's good to finish in daylight - see the coastline as you come closer to shore, smell the damp earth and vegetation on the air - such a sweet smell, I recollect ... see where you're going ... and where the shallows are! I'm hoping for landfall next Thursday at latest, but will surely be in by Friday for their Awards Dinner - my deadline! Of course, I have a complication or two that the Racers don't have before arriving in Hanalei Bay - clearing Customs & Immigration, getting a US Cruising Permit, etc. But even with that, I hope to be OK.
Fresh food! I'm enjoying the last few Gem squashes & still have delicious NZ apples, mandarins and grapefruit as well as eggs, potatoes, carrots and onions - cooking a lot, trying to finish those before landfall, so I don't fall foul of the Quarantine/food regulations. Had a nice Spanish omelette the other evening to finish up a red & a green bell pepper that had kept surprisingly well in the fridge (They normally last no time at all in the cabin)
Friday/Saturday 2/3 July (Days 30/31)
Friday started with light SSE winds meaning that we had to continue to motorsail under grey, rainy skies to keep us on course at a reasonable speed. Soon after dawn, in rain, I saw the wind shift from SSE to E ..and then to NE - "The NE Trades are starting," I thought .. At last!! We were almost at the waypoint I'd put in to make the angle for them where they were expected - so I decided this was it - we changed course and made for Kauai.... Big mistake!! I looked out an hour later into heavy rain, to find the wind had veered to SE ... then SSE! It continued ESE in lighter rain until my noon report - when a really big squall came through just as I was writing the details in the logbook.... I jumped up into the cockpit, seeing SOG 8.5 kt .... and got totally soaked as I frantically winched in the genoa a lot.... It's a good thing the air temperature is high - wearing hardly any clothes means less to dry afterwards!! As it was, I decided this time I'd use the fact that body and hair were dripping wet - and proceeded to wash both with soap, enjoying the shower.... and being salt-free afterwards! Clean hair ... bliss!!
To my dismay, I then realized that the strong winds had picked up & blown overboard my one and only lovely cockpit cushion ('engin flottant' - a thick, jointed, double one, ideal for both sitting on and leaning back onto) - clearly lost while I was showering. It had been very useful for kneeling on to protect my knees from the ropes lying about when winching and will be missed....
I was interested to see that although the wind was still ESE, the noon swell direction was ENE .... but we didn't get that wind direction until well after sunset, by which time the cloud cover (& rain) had gone well away to the West. And that was basically the ITCZ finished with - a very different experience from the usual thundersqualls and lightning, mixed in with calms and violent wind gusts.... Great!!
Saturday was a frustrating, hot, sunny day of fickle wind - mainly ENE but not quite strong enough. We were constantly struggling to make our course, being so close-hauled our speed dropped way down, despite letting out more canvas... I turned on the motor every so often to see if that helped, which it usually did, but my fuel supply is very limited so we mainly kept sailing, despite the slow speed. Just lots of 'tweaking' needed to help us along at the best speed I could manage and in the right direction.
It is now so hot that the computer keeps overheating .. it needs an external fan to help it. (Also, the power input connection is damaged - so it gets difficult to keep the power supply on continuously to charge it when in use.)
Friday: 139 n.ml. Saturday: 148 n.ml. Sunday: 135 n.ml. DTF (0000 UTC on 4th July) : 643 to Kauai +32 to Hanalei Bay = 675 n.ml.total