8th Day 01:04:67S 90:42:54W

Superted V
Jean & Matt Findlay
Fri 10 Feb 2012 14:48

Day 8


Well we started the day motor sailing (again) but at least we had land to look at!  Isla San Cristobal very diverse – at first sight it looks so barren – just brown volcanic land but then as we turn to the north east we see green slopes dotted with brown craters – “like carbuncles on the landscape”.  Frustrated with having to motor so much, we kept trying to sail but every time we got the genoa out, the wind would head us again and we would make no progress.  We also had a current of around 2 knots against us!  Eventually we did manage to sail on port tack with 2 sails – but making very slow progress.  Within minutes the cloud came down and we lost sight of San Cristobal – then the rain started.  Just after lunch the wind did a complete U-turn to the north east and got up and we off at over 10 knots with 20 knots of wind from behind.  The sea started completely flat but soon built to a short steep chop to compliment the wind and rain.  This continued for a couple of hours – the current now with us at around 2 knots and boat still charging along at over 10 knots. We gybed about an hour before dinner but decided to put the main away while we ate. Just before dinner we had our evening SSB net with Malarkey and Darramy. Now about 60 miles to go, we decided to slow down and make a daylight landing, so started to experiment with the best sail plan to give us the right speed through the night. As the wind died more, the seas rolled more and the genoa became very unstable.  It was now pitch black dark – no moon and dark clouds and surprisingly chilly for the equator – we both had long pants and fleeces and Matt had his heavy weather jacket on!   Only the equivalent of a channel crossing and back to go!  To settle in for the night we put the genoa away and put the main back up with a preventer on.  This dampened things down a bit and the boat was steadier.  A couple of hours later the wind dropped right off so guess what – engine back on again but we still had 2 knots of current with us so were doing a good speed – which if we kept that up we would be at our destination in the dark.  At around midnight we were able to sail again but of course the wind was now in excess of 20 knots and on the nose. We spent the night tacking back and forth under reefed main and stay sail.  Progress was a bit slower than planned, but as dawn broke we could see Isla Isabela in the distance – hope to get there some time during the morning. As I’m writing this Matt has just called down that he has sighted a whale – we watched it blow a few times but couldn’t see much of it’s body – enough only to know it was a rorqual with a small dorsal fin towards the back of its body.  Days distance: 120 miles.