Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 7 - Well it depends on how you count...

It's Thursday morning Hawaii time. Tonight at 9:15pm will be exactly one week since we left the dock. So, I'm going to call today, day 7. For those of you who may also be reading Adrien's posts today might be called day 8 because he started counting from the day we were supposed to leave, and not from the day we actually left. So if you read both Adrien and my posts and are confused about the days, that's why.

But back to yesterday, Wednesday, day 5. We had an interesting day wind and sailing-wise. In the night before the wind had gradually been dropping, and the seas getting smaller and smoother. The wind had also been shifting more and more toward the North instead of the Northeast so that instead of us being able to sail almost directly North from Hawaii our track was gradually curving off to the left taking use further and further to the West of were we wanted to go. We were pointed toward Russia instead of San Francisco. We were actually over 100 miles west of where we started.

And during this last night not only was it blowing the wrong way, it was getting weaker. The boat was going slower and slower. So when morning came it was time to put up more sail. L'eau life has roller furling on both the main and the jib. The jib (the sail in front of the mast) is easy, just let out the line and the sail unrolls like a big window shade along its front edge. The main is another story. This particular version of a roller furling main has the roller inside of the boom. The front edge of the sail feeds into a track on the back edge of the mast, and a halyard (line from the top of the sail, over a pulley at the top of the mast, and back down to the deck) is used to pull it up into the track, and unwinds it from around the boom. There's a separate line that you pull to turn the roller inside the boom to wind the sail back in. Sounds simple enough. But us is a little finicky because the front edge of the sail has to wind up on the boom really, really straight or else the edge creeps forward as you wind and then jams against the mast, or starts pulling away from the mast at a weird angle.

But this shouldn't be our problem because we are going to unwind the sail and hoist it higher. Unfortunately we had made a mistake when we originally hoisted the sail up when we left the dock. The main halyard was twisted around another line called a running backstay. This line runs from the deck to part way up the mast. So the main was able to go up and down, but only as far as the place where the running backstay attached to the mast about 40 feet up (the mast is a bit over 50 feet tall). Anyway the end result was that we needed to bring the main all the way down, untangle things, check for any damage caused by the twisted lines rubbing each other for almost a week, and then raise the sail again. What should have been a 5 minute job turned into an hour. The nature of boats...

The end result of all this is that we did get both sails all the way out and we started moving again. And bonus! The wind started to pick up strength a bit, and then changed directions. It suddenly was blowing from the ENE, and we could actually start sailing NNE. We were actually making some progress in the direction we actually want to go. Yeah.

The rest of the day was some fine sailing with 17-20 knot winds, smooth seas, sunny skies. This is the day that should be on the travel poster, if there were ever a travel poster for a trip like this.

To make things even better we got to take showers! Hot fresh water showers! It feels really good to get that salty crust off, put on some clean clothes, and because of the weather the cockpit seat cushions were dried out and you could sit down without getting your own seat all wet again. Mac and cheese and salad for dinner with Toblerone for desert topped off an excellent day.

But was not to be perfect. As I said before we need to run the generator almost every night to keep the batteries charged. But up until now we had been using the water from the tanks we brought with us from Hawaii. But after those showers, washing, cooking, etc it was time to refill so Adrien turns on the watermaker for the first time since we left. It runs for about 45 minutes, but then suddenly cuts out. Not sure what happened just yet. Adrien is planning to investigate when his watch ends in about half an hour from now. If it doesn't work, it will mean an end to our hot showers for the rest of the trip, as well as careful conservation of all the water we use to wash, and cook, and do laundry (I only have 2 pairs of clean underwear left. The horror!) There's no issue with drinking water as we have a separate supply of bottled water for that, but I am going to miss that underwear if we don't have enough water to do laundry :-(

That about brings us up to date. Time to receive some weather faxes and see where the Pacific High is headed. All you folks who have been trying to move it down and to the right have got the to the right part working pretty well, but it is still higher than we would like, but that may end up working in our favor. The current plan is to get up to about 40 deg N lat to the west of the high and then start chasing it as it goes to the east. When we get too close to the high the wind will die on us and we start to motor until we find winds from the northeast and then we sail straight to SF from there. We will see if that works or not. We are currently at 37N lat and we cover about 1 degree every 10 hours so will get to 40N sometime tomorrow.

Position report 22-JUL-2010 19:31 GMT
37 deg 8.274' N Lat
160 deg 6.828 W Long
speed 7.2 knots course 008 true
Wind 17 knots from ENE seas about 4 feet from the ENE
Sea temp 70.8 F (getting cooler)
Air 77F 68% humidity 1028mb pressure

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