Beyond the Solomon Sea.

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 16 Dec 2013 04:02
Noon Position: 04 15.5 S 153 15.6 E
Course: North Speed: 4 knots
Wind: South east, F3 gentle breeze
Sea: slight Swell: North east 1 meters
Weather: sunny, warm, and humid
Day’s run: 58 nm sailed, 49 nm made good.

We have enjoyed another relatively respectable day’s run and now the Solomon
Sea is behind us. Ahead lies the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

Yesterday and last night conditions were fairly typical of the last several
days, with winds light and variable and the odd thunderhead passing by, with
sudden wind shifts and copious amounts of rain, but this morning, at about
nine, the wind shifted into the south and has picked up to a nice consistent
ten to twelve knots. I have the drifter set to port and the jib poled out
to starboard as we run before our fair breeze. The sun is shining, there are
lots of large cumulus nimbus over New Ireland, and over the horizon ahead,
but I think we are likely to hold this breeze at least until sunset.

Our next objective is to cross the equator and the inter-tropical
convergence zone, or ITCZ, commonly known as the doldrums. This will be
Sylph’s third crossing of the line while she has been in my keep, and, as
far as I am aware, in her fifty three years of existence. From here my
intention is to maintain a north nor’ easterly heading until we pick up the
north east trades on the other side of the line. The NE trades are
generally quite fresh at this time of year and the more easting we can make,
while taking us away from Japan for now, will give us a better angle on the
wind once we do get into the trades, and should make for a faster and more
comfortable ride. Also the risk of encountering a typhoon should be less
the further east we are. Anyway, that is the theory. We shall see what
actually happens in the fullness of time.

All is well.