San Blas Day 5 - A robust days sailing

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Mon 13 Jan 2014 21:53
Position 12:07.61N 077:4.18W
Date 1200 (EST) Monday 13 January 2014

Approximately 175nm North West of Cartagena, Columbia and 166nm from the San
Bas Islands
Days run 173nm - Distance over the ground 176nm

Interesting, to us anyway, today's run is the same, give or take, as
yesterday it just was achieved with a bit more bounce.

There is a correction to yesterday's entry, we were sailing with two reefs
in the main and mizzen. I know this because at 0400 this morning, when the
forecast 25-30 knots on the beam set in, we put in that extra third reef and
fully furled the genoa. The moon set shortly after and sitting in the
cockpit I was aware that the seas were getting bigger but could not really
see them. First light solved that problem and I was able to see the beam on
waves occasionally looking to be higher than the cockpit hard-top as they
swept us up only to slide down their other side. Perhaps it was better in
the dark.

We seem to have lost the Panama traffic as our course diverges. We did
cross paths with a small, 150m, gas tanker on its way into the wind and
swell towards Cartagena. Perhaps we can take some measure of comfort that
it could only manage the same speed as us.

In common with the other boats on their way to the San Blas Islands we do
not have much choice about the time of year for this passage as we require
the maximum season in the Pacific. Jimmy Cornell in World Cruising Routes,
as well as warning about the Windward Passage states of this passage "The
strong trade winds of the winter months should be avoided". Hey ho!

Cooking has taken on a minimalist approach, if you can believe such things
of the Mate. Watches are being made easier by a combination of Kindles and
our new iPad's with a large library of videos and books loaded. Our sailing
may not be quite Hornblower, but we do have the boxed set.

In the last 24 hours we generated for one hour whilst warming up dinner,
this also had the benefit of making 100 litres of water and providing warm
water for washing. Other than that our renewable sources have meant that at
noon we had fully charged batteries.