Panama to Galapagos Noon position 6th day (Wednesday 10th March)

Mike and Liz Downing
Wed 10 Mar 2010 21:00
Have sailed most of the last 24 hours with 2 reefs in the main and a well rolled genoa, and covered 136 miles. The wind has been from the south and up to 20kts at times, so we've remained close hauled the whole time, making between 5.5 to 6.5 kts most of the time. The motion hasn't been too bad, but downwind sailing is so much more comfortable. As I type the winds are easing down and the direction is forcing us further west, which is a bit of a shame as the Equator is only 20 miles to the south. At this angle to the wind we are unlikely to cross it until after dark this evening. Liz will have to stay up for the celebration! Our watch routine is working well - Liz has 4 hours sleep from 19.00 to 23.00, I then have 4 hours from 23.00 to 03.00, Liz then gets another 3 hours from 03.00 to 06.00 and I have my final 3 hours from 06.00 to 09.00. We normally lose an hour in the watch changes, so my final 3 hours normally finishes about 10.00. Which is when the first net we listen to on the SSB starts. The second net, the local one we helped to establish, starts at 12.00 and we give our position and a weather report. The other boats in this net left Panama today, so are 6 days behind us. Then it's lunch and the main meal is at 17.00 or so. The days go very quickly, especially if we have to play with the sails and/or hydrovane!

Tried using the sextant today for the first time since the Atlantic crossing back in 2008. It was a bit of a rushed job, realising that I only had 15 minutes before local noon, and so the results were not so good, being 20 miles out on latitude - definitely more practice needed! From a noon sight it's easy to calculate latitude.

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