Position Report on Tuesday, 1st April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 1 Apr 2014 14:28

Position Report on Tuesday, 1st April 2014 at 0800


07:13.0S 97:59.0W


So far, we’ve done 590 miles with 2,450 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 140 miles.  We’re sailing at 6 knots in 6-8 foot seas, heading on a course of 260 degrees - direct to the Marquesas.  Unfortunately, the skies are grey and we have a persistent drizzle, but all is well on-board and it's nice to have the wind blowing up my behind.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


31 March 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 5)


During the morning, we passed 7˚ South, so hopefully we'll now be clear of the Secondary ITCZ.  We had a go at turning 20 degrees more west, but the wind came abaft the beam causing the apparent wind to drop and we slowed down to four knots.  This in turn caused us to roll more and the sails to slat, so we went back on a south westerly course.  The wind was forecast to increase over the coming 24 hours, so we decided to wait until we had stronger winds.


I chatted to other the other boats and took their positions as usual - we now have seven boats checking in and everyone is doing fine.  After I signed off, I entered everyone's positions for the last four days into our chart plotter program and it's interesting to see the differences in our tracks. Alba’s track follows a bearing of 210 degrees down to 7˚S; “Kika” kept to the east of us;  “Hera” have started out on the classic route of going down to 3 degrees and then following the rhumb line and the rest are now "cutting the corner" and taken a course more to the west.  All of us (apart from “Hera”) are through the Secondary ITCZ.  I hope that “Hera” time their crossing well.


In the afternoon, the wind picked up a little, so we bore away 30 degrees and started our run towards the Marquesas.  The wind was 50 degrees off our port quarter, and the sails were slating, so we rigged up our spinnaker pole to starboard and poled out the genoa.  I put a preventer on the main and off we went on the rhumb line to Hiva Oa.


We finished off the last of the Yellowfin Tuna last night, so I put out two fishing lines and in the late afternoon caught two small Dorado.  One looked to be 3 or 4 lbs, but the other one was a 1 lb tiddler - we kept them both of course.  Cleaning Dorado is so much easier than Tuna, which is much bloodier and much harder to fillet having tougher skin.


Just as I finished filleting the fish, the wind picked up to 20-25 knots, so we put two reefs in the main and four wraps in the genoa.  As the sun went down, we had 50% cloud cover, 20 knot winds from the south-east and we were rolling along at 5-6 knots.  We also had half a knot of current pushing us along, which was handy.


We had a pleasant night with consistent winds and 6-8 foot waves.  Most of the time we're rolling gently every two seconds, but every few minutes, a large wave will catch us and roll us violently to 30 degrees.  Everything bangs in the lockers and anything not held down flies through the air, but after six rolls we settle down.  Then, a few minutes later, we're holding on for dear life again.


The rolling isn't too bad when you're on watch because you can feel the boat being lifted up by a big wave and grab hold of something, but it's hard to sleep.  Despite wedging ourselves against the bulkhead, the violent roll always rolls us to some extent.  Ah well, only 2,450 miles to go.