Tuesday - Clearly, I should have gone up the mast to check on damage caused by a bird perching up there as we were nearing Zihuatanejo last week. Just before 9:30am today, I noticed that all the wind info that had been consistently appearing well since before leaving Ixtapa had disappeared - nothing at all, not even the zero wind-strength reading that had appeared after the incident. Looking up at the mast top, I can see the transducer dangling.... it must have broken away from its base fitting. So annoying...!
There's clearly only a light wind, as is forecast for the next few days. The mainsail is slack, showing almost no apparent wind, so even bearing away from our preferred route won't help our speed much, if at all.
I'm looking at my course options in view of the light winds from various directions forecast for the next five days.... A strong possibility is to head for Cabo San Lucas for fuel - nearly 5 days and over 500 mls away. There's a big High sitting not far to our NW & very little pressure gradient right over to the Gulf of Mexico. Decision time will be by late tomorrow. The priority is to get away from the hurricane region a.s.a.p. I've adjusted our course slightly to make CSL more directly, should I decide to make for there.
In the meantime, I seem to have picked up a cold :-( but I was cheered up a lot chatting to radio friends on the East coast and elsewhere early this morning... I can never understand cruisers being told not to get a SSB radio - a 2-way (expensive!) chat on a satphone can't compare with the community support and free info (safety, weather, emails, etc) available using a radio.
It turned out yesterday that the main reason for the Immigracion ladies wanting to come to the boat in Ixtapa was to see her and take photos of us all!! All very cheerful and didn't take long, ending with lots of 'Buen Viaje', but delayed my departure. I'm sure the document they gave me could have been handed over at the Capitania, as were those from the Aduana. Would have saved me several hours' delay leaving.
Well, we were forced eventually to bear away to fill the main as the wind increased and the genoa unfurled. For a time, we were doing really well, making a good course at around 6 kt - but that didn't last very long. We've gradually had to bear away more but even so our speed has dropped - we're often struggling to make 4 kt SOG, even though we're motor-sailing. Fortunately, having deliberately headed offshore last night, we were 20ml off when we first had to bear away, so although our course is taking us closer in, we're still over 15 mls off. I'm sure this is the afternoon onshore breeze affecting us so we'll see what happens come nightfall , when that wind usually dies away completely. The waves keep stopping us, killing our speed. Forecast is for winds from NW quadrant for several days - NOT helpful since that's exactly our preferred course!
Sure enough, by nightfall, we'd had to tack around to avoid ending up on the rocks near Pta San Telmo with the wind having veered to NW, so we're now headed back out to sea for a bit, waiting to see what the wind decides to do next. Present course is just a tad S of W... so not too bad We're still motor-sailing with full genoa and mains'l, having to make as good a course as the wind will allow, trying to get NW in quite boisterous WSW seas........