Position Report on Wednesday, 2nd April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Wed 2 Apr 2014 15:21

Position Report on Wednesday, 2nd April 2014 at 0800


07:31.1S 100:28.7W


So far, we've done 740 miles with 2,300 miles to go (almost a quarter of the way).  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 150 miles, which was a good run for us.  We’re sailing at 6 knots in 8-10 foot seas, still heading on a course of 260 degrees and the sun is shining.  We're both feeling fine and keeping ourselves busy.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


1 April 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 6)


Dawn brought us grey, overcast skies with intermittent drizzle.  Glenys made us a fruit cocktail with yoghurt for breakfast again because our bananas have decided to all ripen at once.  After a nice cup of tea, I hunkered down over the laptop and sent off my daily emails. I posted our daily blog; sent an email to Karsten with our position and weather conditions; and sent a couple of emails to request a GRIB file & an ITCZ report.


Ten minutes later, I reconnected to our satellite email server and downloaded the response emails containing the GRIB file & ITCZ report.  The ITCZ report showed no ITCZ activity within 48 hours.  The GRIB file showed that the intermittent rain might continue for 48 hours, but then we should be back to blue skies for a few days.  The wind should stay at between 15-25 knots from the south-east, which is just what we want.  There's a nasty looking band of heavy rain forming in three days, but it's forecast to be 150 miles to the north of us - I'll be keeping an eye on it.


The overcast skies stayed with us all morning with the wind occasionally rising to 25 knots and the seas steadily building up.  After lunch,  we had another period of 25+ knot winds, so I decided to put another reef in the main sail.  While reefing I noticed that the outhaul car had jammed half way along the boom.  It's been a bit sticky for a few months and it's on my to-do-list to service it the next time that I have access to a decent chandlers.


I rolled away all of the main sail and, with a few judicious blows from a mallet, I freed the outhaul car.  The car runs inside a 10mm wide slot on the boom, so it's difficult to see what is going on,  but it looks like one of the nylon wheels on the car has disintegrated and the other wheels look badly  worn.  I'd have to take the end cap off the boom to inspect the car properly, but there's no way that I'm doing that in the middle of the Pacific Ocean when we're rolling like mad in 9-12 foot seas.  I slapped loads of Teflon grease onto the parts that I could get to and the car seems to be running more freely.  I hope that it lasts until we get to Tahiti in two months' time.


The sky brightened up in the afternoon, but the strong 20 knot winds and 9-12 foot seas continued.  The wind and waves were coming from the south-south-east, so we were on a beam reach and occasionally surfing at 7-8 knots - like being on a giant sleigh ride.  We've resorted to putting up the bimini rain flap on the port side to protect the cockpit from the occasional monster wave that slaps against the side of the hull and showers the boat with seawater.


Glenys made us Dorado in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce for dinner, with a big pile of mashed potatoes - just what the doctor ordered.  After dark, the wind picked up to 25 knots again, so I rolled away the genoa and pulled out the stay sail, which immediately gave us a much better motion because the stay sail is lower and closer to the mast than the genoa.


The night was a mixed bag, with the wind  dropping to 15 knots for a while and slowing us down to 4-5 knots.  Then, just when we thought that we needed more sail, it would pick up to 25 knots and we'd be romping along at over 6 knots again.