Trade winds at last
Wednesday 1 December 2010
At last, the elusive trade winds have arrived. We’ve finally ‘turned right’ and are now heading directly for the Caribbean. J
Since the early hours of this morning a constant 16kt ENE wind has been blowing, which is what we should have had all along. We’re now heading due west at 6kts under twin poled out headsails and no main. Sir Humphrey is steering and Stella is loving finally having some proper wind.
The milestone of reaching the trade winds has meant life aboard has also changed. Today was the first day we haven’t had to make any sail changes and the first day we’ve been heading in the same direction for 24 hours. However we are having to get use to the constant rolling motion of downwind sailing. Stella is incredibly stable downwind, but with a constant 16kts of wind the waves are bigger which induces a constant movement of the boat. She’s relatively peaceful below decks and when sitting down below out of the sun it’s easy to forget that we are barrelling along at over 6kts above decks!
As you can probably see better than us from the ARC website (www.worldcruising.com/arc ), we’re one of the more southerly and easterly boats. The stronger and more consistent winds are forecast to be further south, so we are hoping our position should stand us in good stead as those boats further north will have to head south to ensure they keep the trade winds. Based on today’s 1200h position plot there are no boats within VHF radio range (about 50 miles) and only 4 boats just within 100 miles. We’re hoping that as we head west we will start to converge with the rest of the fleet as they work their way south.
The lack of other boats to talk to on the radio has meant we’ve had to resort to talking to passing ships for outside conversation!! There is now a competition to see who can hold the longest conversation with a ship. Alan was lucky to have a very chatty officer on the cruise ship headed for the Canaries that he called on Monday night. But Toby was less fortunate with the chap on the tanker bound for New York that he called last night . Roger is now waiting for his ship to pass so he can demonstrate his Irish charm!
Our new turn of speed must be making Toby feel nervous about catching a big one, as his fishing kit has remained stowed all day. With no fresh fish on the menu, Roger is making pizza. The bakery is functioning well and bread production doubled to two loafs today (in a bid to make more efficient use of the gas).
So life is good aboard Stella as the GPS cheerfully tells us we only have 2020 miles to go to St Lucia!!