Light Winds

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 13 Dec 2010 22:56
17.00 Position: 26 01.3 S 070 53.5 W
Course: ?? Speed: Drifting
Wind Northwest F1 Gentle Air
Weather: Overcast, mild
Days Run: 25 miles

We spent an uncomfortable night at anchor, Sylph pitching and rolling endlessly to the swell which invaded the Caleta. Bleary eyed we arose early with the coming daylight, weighed anchor and motored out to sea before breakfast, thinking it was a bit of a toss up if we would not have been better off drifting around at sea rather then rolling at anchor so close to the surf pounded beach. Nonetheless despite the less then ideal conditions it was an interesting stop, as we motored away I looked back at the landscape, as dry as I have ever seen, with not a blade of grass nor anything remotely green anywhere, just brown granite mountains, slowly crumbling before the onslaught of the elements, eventually ending up in light brown sand at their feet, which then bears the signs of being washed down to the sea in a wide dramatic river bed, though obviously this piece of the South American continent sees rainfall very rarely. There continued very little wind and we motored for an hour and a half so as to get us some five miles off the coast, flocks of of five or six large pelicans skimmed the surface in one sided chevron formations, gliding a bare foot above the oceans surface, presumably scouting for their breakfast. Once off the coast we shut down the engine and drifted with just a little jib up in an attempt to dampen the roll. Martina retired to the sea bunk for a couple of hours while I pottered about trying to keep Sylph from going backwards. At 11 a slight breeze picked up from the northwest which allowed us to at last set the mainsail and make a bit of headway. At this point Martina took over and I had a few hours rest. I was very pleased to hear her tack Sylph a couple of times and trim sails without any need for my assistance, she is settling in as a very welcome competent crew. When I came back on deck later in the afternoon Sylph was sailing well in the gentle breeze, closed hauled on a westerly heading, riding comfortably over the long two meter south-westerly swell. Mid afternoon we tacked to gain some northing, we were going very well but less than two hours later the wind has abandoned us once more and we are back to drifting, rolling heavily in the swell, mainsail stowed to prevent nerve wracking slatting and a bit of jib up to try to dampen the roll at least a little.

So far today we have motored and sailed 25 miles but only made five miles to the north, the direction we actually need to go in. It seems Arica is a long way away right now.

All is well.

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