Galápagos>Marquesas 17-08-2011 (Day 15, 05:30 UTC (18-08)): DTF 53nm (10:55.1S 137:59.4W)

Vries Peter Pons
Thu 18 Aug 2011 04:30
DTF: 53nm
Track: 2962nm
Trip: 2807nm

After a rather uneventful night with a bit of squally weather and a few
showers, today we did more sail trim than we've done the whole rest of the
passage thus far. After coffee with delicious home-made chocolate muffins we
decided it was time for our gybe; the wind was completely east and all
systems indicated we would be able to reach our next waypoint directly. Of
course just after we had done so, the wind turned more SE again, or, just as
likely, the combination of speedtransducer, gps, compass, and windmeter do
not give you the precise data you'd like to have. Anyway, our course turned
north way too much, which would have added another 30-40nm to the 50nm we
already accepted by staying on a broad reach instead of running. The latter
would have meant booming out the genoa and quite a bit of rolling, at least
that's what we assumed (never assume, check).

In hindsight that was the only wrong tactical decision we've made during
this trip. After a lunch of spectacular home-made pizza again, I reluctantly
made the call to furl in the main (which went surprisingly easy with the
jury-rigged outhaul car), boom out the spinnaker pole over starboard and fly
the staysail over port. Setting the boom is always a bit of a hassle on
Aquamante, and not something you'd easily do, if it's only used for a short
while. Moreover, you tend to become lazier about such things towards the end
of a trip like this, so the hurdle to take was even bigger. But adding
another 5-7 hours to the ETA, once you're almost there and start feeling
anxious to get it over with was too much to bear, no matter how quick the
passage was. So we did, the rolling was not as bad as expected, and the
speed was ok, although the winds were a bit light for this setup initially.
When the sails were out and we were ready for sundowners, we noticed we had
to move the boom to port to stay on the proper course, which added another
half hour to our trimming exercises of the day. Finally, at around 19:30
local time we could sit down and relax. We're spot on course now, doing some
7-8 kts with 20kts of wind, do not roll dramatically, and expect to arrive
at around 13:00UTC on 18-08-2011 (03:30 local time). Had we done so earlier,
we could have saved ourselves a detour of some 40nm or 4-5 hours. In all
honesty not a dramatic difference on a 3000nm trip of some 16 days.

We will be anchoring close to our fellow countrymen Henk & Miranda of SV
Mirus, who anchored on Monday at Baie des Vierges, Hanavave, Fatu-Hiva, and
who informed us there are no particular hazards to watch out for when we
come in at night. And the bright moon will make it even easier. Just a pity
we won't be able to enjoy the stunning scenery of the island everybody
mentioned when approaching it.

If all goes well, tomorrow our last blog of this passage!