Sunday 17th June - Early Thoughts Pushing West

Jon & Carol Dutton
Sun 17 Jun 2012 15:14
1:08.50S 94:42.20W

Sunday 17th June – Westward Ho
The trip had a slightly fitful start as we headed SW from Santa Cruz  island  to the southern shore of Isabela island – the most westerly of the Galapagos group.  The wind was fairly light and often rather too much on the nose for our taste.  So, we sailed, motored and motor sailed as the occasion demanded until we had turned west under Isabela and had cleared the islands.  At that point – around 0600 on Saturday morning – it began to fill in from the SE giving us a gentle beam reach that developed into a sometimes lumpy but generally fast beam reach in 15-18 knots true wind. 

Joseph and Marci Paravia had told us in Colon that in their experience there was usually more wind to be found within one or two degrees of latitude of the Equator than further south and their advice was to head pretty much due west from the Galapagos Islands until perhaps 130º W (well over 2,000 NM) before turning much more southerly to the Marquesas.  These lie at 9º or 10º S – so on a line of latitude around 550NM south of our current latitude.  Looking at our downloaded weather charts that all makes quite a lot of sense.  Whilst it may be true that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, there is much more useful wind here at the moment than further south and by the time we get to 130ºW it turns helpfully to blow us south.  Meanwhile, we’re nicely truckin’ along at somewhere between 7 and 8 knots.

However, there is much to play for and we’ll see how things develop.  For the moment we head resolutely west.
The three of us have begun to settle down into a single man watch system with broadly 4 hours on and 8 off but with two 2 hour dog watches – when everyone is about - one from 1200 to 1400 to cater for lunch and one from 1800 to 2000 to allow for dinner.  Unless we do something like this there is a danger that we will all simply pass like ships in the night for the best part of 3 weeks.   Orville the Autohelm is in charge of steering at the moment.  Hector the Hydrovane will be aired shortly to see how he fares in these conditions.