Zigging and Zagging. 16:32.83N 115:45.39W

Alex Belmont
Fri 11 May 2012 00:47
Last I wrote we were having trouble getting enough west in our course. Now I
fear we have plenty of west, but are struggling to get south. Always the way
it works I suppose. We've actually had pretty nice conditions, but there
seem to be more waves than wind more often than not, making our sails slat
and shake if we sail to deep. The past two nights we have been forced to
harden up sheets and reach a bit closer to the wind in order to steady the
boat and keep the breeze in our sails. Our course ends up looking a bit
saw-toothed, going west each night as the wind dies down, and reaching as
far south as we can each day, making the most of the stronger breeze. This
wandering course is not helping our daily runs, but I don't want to cross
the equator too far west as that would mean beating into the SE trades for
almost 1000 miles. We had that last year on Orianne, though I think that was
due more to the time of year rather than the course we set. The SE trades
get a bit more south in them as the season goes on. As we were so late last
year, they were quite southerly. I suppose we will just have to sail to the
wind the seas give us.

Moondance is pretty happy now, reaching to a nice force three on her
quarter. The working jib is poled out to port, the pole secured with a
topping lift as well as fore and after-guys. The reefed main is sheeted a
bit flat to help steady our motion, and secured to the rail forward to keep
it steady. It looks like a lot of lines, but is actually very simple to work
with. I use three sheets on the jib, two regular sheets, and another just
for use with the pole. This way I can easily get the pole set and secured
while it's under no load. Then it is just a matter of easing the jib's
primary sheet and taking up the load of the sheet through the pole's end.
Much easier and safer than wrestling a heavily loaded pole onto the mast
with the boat rolling and the sail knocking you about.

Even with the main over-sheeted, we still roll. Sometimes heavily. The
motion is never too violent though, and always predictable. I'd like to put
up the spinnaker when the wind falls light, but the constant motion would
just cause it to collapse, giving a great shock to the rig when it would
refill. The extra speed would not be worth the wear-and-tear on the boat and
sail. I'd rather save the big red kite for some fast reaching in smooth
water. The coral sea is a long way off, but may provide some gorgeous
conditions when we get there. Last year, after getting into the lee of New
Caledonia, we had water so flat you wouldn't know the boat was moving except
for the gurgle of water past the hull.

I've been listening to the audiobooks of George R.R. Martin's series, "A
song of Fire and Ice". It's a pretty cool story, and I like audiobooks while
sailing. You can put in your headphones and listen while still watching the
boat and sea and stars. I could read it in about a third of the time it
takes to listen to, but what's the hurry?

Important update: As I write this, Rose just finished moving the last of the
fragile produce (we still have a few cucumbers, apples, and tomatoes) from
the big hammock into the small one. This means we no longer have a hammock
hanging the full length of the cabin right in the middle of everything. That
was getting a bit irritating. We still have plenty of potatoes, onions,
cabbage, jicama, sweet potatoes, limes, grapefruit, garlic, and ginger
stowed in bags forward and out of the way. It's been nice to have the fresh
stuff last as long and well as it has, but I'm actually looking forward to
moving to a diet of beans and fresh bread.

Well, I think that is about all I have to say for the moment. More soon...

Salut a tous! Un petit bonjour simplement. A date, il n'y a pas grand chose
de nouveau... A part la fete des meres!!!

(en retard mais bon... comme ils disent, mieux vaut
tard que jamais!)

La seule chose exitante qui est passee vraiment est le
petit poisson volant qui s'est echoue a bord et qu'on a trouve tout sec
quelques heures plus tard! J'ai joue un peu avec et je l'ai laisser pour les
plus gros poissons et les oiseaux hahaha!

De plus, le hammak geant rempli de fruits et legumes est reduit a un tout petit hammack de 2 pieds! Ca fait du bien en titi de pouvoir se rendre directement au lit et en sortir tout aussi facilement. Ouf! A bientot le pain frais et les feves!

HAPPY BELATED MOTHERS DAY! Love you all. Take care!