Trade Winds

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 23 Dec 2013 05:54

Noon Position (Mon 22 Dec): 02 27.8 N 153 13.6 E
Course: East nor' east Speed: 3.5 knots
Wind: North nor' east, F3 gentle breeze
Sea: slight Swell: North nor' east 2 meter
Weather: overcast, hot, and humid
Day’s run: 111 nm sailed, 93 nm made good

(This entry is for Monday 22 December. I sent it to the wrong address.)

We have held a near constant breeze since yesterday, though it continues to have a lot more north than east in it, which means we continue to be pushed more towards the west than I would like. Just after sunset the wind freshened enough to require reduced sail. The fresh winds also created a lumpy sea and after bashing into and over the waves for a few hours I decided to sacrifice some precious easting for what was becoming even more precious, a bit of sleep. I eased sheets a fraction and bore away about twenty degrees to the north west. Now Sylph ceased her bobbing and dancing over the waves, straightened up a little and picked up speed to a steady four to five knots.
Come morning the wind had shifted more into the north and Sylph was heading west, making no ground to the north at all. I put a tack in and was pleased to see that we were able to make good a course of about east nor' east, admittedly away from our ultimate destination of Okinawa, but at least getting back some of our much needed easting and still making some ground to the north. When planning this passage I was expecting this leg to be more of a beam reach, and hopefully it end up being mostly so, but I am fearful that it is going to end up a painful slog to windward, especially as we get closer to Japan. Strong headwinds are likely to be unavoidable at some stage, but I do not want to create a situation where we have to endure possibly over a thousand miles of them.
This is our twenty first day at sea. So far we have sailed 1,534 nautical miles to make good 1,349 miles. We have 2055 miles to go if we were to sail direct, which we will not be. So I figure from here we have about another three weeks sailing ahead of us, likely more, giving us an ETA of around the 15th of January. It is a good thing I have been conserving water as much as practical.
All is well.