W to E

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 6 Jun 2011 02:27

Monday 6th June

Noon Position: 20 10.8 S 178 58.0 E
Course: South west, Speed: 5 knots
Wind: South sou' east, F35 gently breeze
Weather: Sunny, warm
Day's run: 125 miles

The weather has improved remarkably since the passage of the rain squall yesterday. The sun is now shining, the seas are calm, a long swell is undulating past, Sylph barely rolling to its rhythm, and we are beam reaching to a gentle breeze.

For those of a navigational bent, you may have noticed that our longitude is now east instead of west, and the numbers will now get smaller instead of larger. I will have to be a little extra careful when calculating my celestial sights as some figures need to subtracted instead of added. It is rare that I do not make at least one silly mistake when reducing a set of stars, and the silliest mistake I have made so far this passage, perhaps ever, is looking up the wrong month of the almanac (I blame the pdf format where either the numbers are illegibly small or you can only see part of the page on the screen), then of course finding all my sights hopelessly wrong but only after having worked them all out. It took me quite a while to work this very silly error out, then to find the patience to re-work the whole set of stars out all over again. I did not finish until early in the morning – having had a small sleep in between. The position would have been almost useless navigationally by the time I had finished but I have a bit of a stubborn streak in me.

Crossing 180 degrees longitude would usually also mean the loss of a day but the international date line kinks to the east to include Tonga so we gave up the extra day we had been incrementally gaining in our slow nine year western pilgrimage when we arrived in Va'vau two weeks ago.

All is well.