Position Report on Thursday, 3rd April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Thu 3 Apr 2014 14:28

Position Report on Thursday, 3rd April 2014 at 0800


07:44.5S 103:11.6W


So far, we've done 900 miles with 2,140 miles to go – we’ve been at sea for one week now and the time seems to have flown by – only a couple more weeks to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 160 miles which is our best run so far.  We’re sailing at 6 knots in 8-10 foot seas, still heading on a course of 260 degrees.  Unfortunately, there's a lot of cloud around, so it's a little dull this morning and we're hoping that it won't rain.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


2 April 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 7)

The weather was beautiful in the morning, blue skies with occasional clouds and the forecast was for little change with the wind remaining at 20 knots from SSE to SE.  A band of heavy rain is still forecast to form in a couple of days, but it's over 120 miles north of us, so we should be okay. 


Karsten sent out a warning email last night. There was a large earthquake in northern Chile yesterday at 1800, which measured 8.2 on the Richter Scale.  A Tsunami warning has been issued for the coasts of Peru and Chile, which is 2,000 miles south-east of us.


Tsunamis are an interesting phenomena.  In the deep ocean, they are a series of waves possibly a hundred miles apart, but they only have a height of a few feet.  These waves travel at up to six hundred miles per hour.  A boat in the deep ocean will not be aware when one passes by.  If a Tsunami from this earthquake has hit us then it would have been at around ten o'clock last night.  We felt nothing unusual - the normal 10 foot swell affects us much more.


However, Tsunamis are very dangerous to coastal areas.  When the waves reach shallow water, they slow down and the wave height grows to as much as a hundred feet causing devastation.  If a Tsunami warning is issued while we're in a Pacific anchorage, then our best strategy is to get out to sea into deep water, as long as we've got time...


The weather stayed at 20 knots all day, occasionally gusting up to 25 knots, so we didn't have to touch the sails at all.  We've been sailing with the wind at 100 degrees on our port side, which is an awkward point of sail for our Hydrovane especially when the boat is yawing around because of big waves and we have gusty conditions.


If the boat yaws upwind then the apparent wind increases quite dramatically and over-powers the Hydrovane, so the boat heads upwind and the Hydrovane gets overpowered even more - a vicious circle.  The opposite happens if the boat yaws downwind.  It's not a major problem, but someone needs to be in the cockpit to keep an eye on it, so we've been very lazy and have been using our electric autopilot for the past few days, with the Hydrovane working alongside, hopefully taking some of the load off the autopilot.


Glenys did us proud today producing fruit salad with yoghurt for breakfast, Couscous with chicken and apricot for lunch, Fish Tortillas for dinner and she made a batch of Banana Bread for our night-time snacks.  We're not starving yet.


At dusk, we had 50% cloud cover and we were still sailing happily at 6 knots.  The clouds always look more forbidding as darkness falls and I always have an hour of worrying whether I have the correct amount of reef in the main sail.  It's a delicate balance between wanting to be comfortable at night, but not going too slow.


It's not that I was bored during the night, but I've been thinking about rolling.  Let's say that we roll once every 5 seconds with 2 violent rolls every 3 minutes.  We still have 2,300 miles to go and we averaged 150 miles in the last 24 hours.  If we keep up this speed, we'll arrive in the Marquesas in 15 days.  That's a total of 265,000 rolls with 14,500 violent rolls, which are capable of damaging something or someone, I guess that's why they say "Always keep one hand for the boat."


The night passed without incident.  We've finally got a sliver of a new moon, which is visible for the first couple of hours.  It's been very dark at night up to now, but from now on, the nights will be brighter and we’ll be sailing with a full moon as we approach the Marquesas which will be wonderful.