And Little Change.

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 17 Dec 2013 03:50
Noon Position: 03 02.8 S 153 36.7 E
Course: Drifting Speed: 0 knots
Wind: Calm, F0
Sea: slight Swell: North east 1 meter
Weather: sunny, hot, and humid
Day’s run: 80 nm

We have realized another respectable day’s run for the conditions, though it has been hard work and a tiring night. We kept a breeze for the afternoon and night, though it was by no means consistent, with passing thunderheads and their associated wind shifts requiring sail configurations to be adjusted accordingly. For much of the night the wind was fresh from the east and north east and with the Tanga Island group less than ten miles to leeward of us meant that we had to stay close on the wind and keep a good eye on the navigational situation. My concern in these circumstances is that if I am overtired and fall asleep through a major wind shift we could end up in navigationally hazardous situation without me being aware of it. But by about three this morning it was clear that we were well past the islands, the worst of the squalls seemed to have past and I thought it relatively safe to get a few hours sleep.

Since dawn we have been ghosting along under the drifter. Unfortunately now that we are in the more open waters of the Pacific the seas have become more confused. We have a fairly long low swell from the north east, and I reckon two minor short swells, one from the south east and another roughly from the south west. The two minor swells I presume are being caused by the frequent thunderheads passing by. Overall the combination is creating a confused sea, which is causing Sylph to roll about a fair amount, which in turn means we need that much more wind for the sails to fill and hold a steady shape to make any way. Just before noon the wind dropped to less than five knots and the drifter was doing nothing more than wearing itself out from draping and chafing over the shrouds. I stood in the back of the cockpit and slowly scanned the horizon. There were no dark patches anywhere indicating any wind, so I reluctantly lowered the sail and since then we have been drifting.

I suspect getting north of the equator is going to prove just as challenging as crossing the Solomon Sea, if not more so.

All is well.