Position Report on Wednesday 9th April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Wed 9 Apr 2014 15:06

Position Report on Wednesday 9th April 2014 at 0800


08:47.1S  118:06.8W


So far, we've done 1,800 miles with 1,240 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 155 miles.  We’re sailing at 6.5 knots in 8-10 foot seas, still heading on a course of 260 degrees.  It's sunny this morning.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


8 April 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 13)


After breakfast, we swapped the spinnaker pole from starboard to port.  It's a bit of a mission having to sort out the up-haul, the down-hauls, the sheets and swing the  15 foot pole over to port, while hanging on for grim death on the bucking, rolling foredeck.   It took us half an hour to do it and get a semblance of order again. 


We were now back on track again with our heavily reefed main to starboard and the genoa poled out to port.  The wind was coming from 30 degrees on our aft port quarter, so the genoa was poled out on the windward side of the boat, but angling the spinnaker pole forwards stops the genoa backing.  This setup works great provided the wind is from dead behind or up to 45 degrees on the port side.


After a few hours, the wind picked up and veered another 10 degrees, making me wish that we'd kept on a broad reach.  Just before lunch, the genoa backed and we rounded up into wind  because the auto pilot couldn't cope, so I had jump up to steer us back on course.  By this time, we had 25 knots gusting 30, so we rolled away the main completely, gybed the genoa to the starboard side and ran downwind with just the genoa.


The afternoon was a bit more stable with the wind reducing to 20 knots and backing 10 degrees, so we gybed the genoa back to starboard on the pole and set the staysail up to starboard to run wing-on-wing.


While I had my afternoon nap, Glenys had a cooking session and baked some Pan de Yuca & blueberry muffins.  For dinner, she made Encebollada, which is a delicious Ecuadorian fish soup - should contain Tuna, but she made do with Dorado.


We’ve been living on Alba for exactly three years today, so I worked out a few statistics.  In the past twelve months, we’ve sailed 5,005 miles bringing our total to 14,457 miles since we moved aboard, but we’re still only 3,120 miles to the west of Grenada, meaning that we’ve only done 15% of our around the world voyage. 


The skies looked grey and menacing as darkness fell.  Halfway through my 7-10 watch, the wind dropped to 10 knots and backed 30 degrees as we entered a shower system.  I turned 20 degrees to port initially, then rolled away the stay sail, before turning back on course.  The rain hit us five minutes later, followed shortly by the wind increasing to 15-20 knots.  Over the next fifteen minutes, the wind backed to its original direction, so I unfurled the stay sail again and off we went.  We've had to do more sail changes today than we've done over the previous 12 days.


The rest of the night went without incident, but we're being forced to sail 10 degrees further north than our ideal course of 265 degrees because with the wind at 45 degrees behind us we're very close to backing the genoa.  I'm finding it frustrating that I can't quite get the sail plan right - if we raise the main and go onto a broad reach again will the genoa be crashing and banging in the lee of the main?