You Can Not Get There From Here
20 March 2012 | 09 34.6'S:129 33.6'W, Still in The Middle of the Pacific Ocean
I apologize in advance for the sailing jargon/lingo in this blog but I cannot help it because I am really into sailing lately. We have been on the water for more than 16 days now. We have another 4-5 days to go but for each of the last 4-5 days, we have had 4-5 more days to go. Reason being, the winds are gradually dying a little more each day. So we are going slower and slower. Right now we are sailing, so to speak, in 8 knots of wind doing 4 knots only because we have a 1 knot current pushing us to the Marquesas. Thank you Neptune!
To keep the sails from loudly flogging/flapping due to the rolling waves, we have headed up wind and then down wind and are zigzagging our way along. This does not help the progress but it gives us a moment of quiet to sleep. The forecast is for the wind to continue to die down for the next several days. We are waiting for the last possible moment to turn on the engine in order to conserve fuel. We just received an email from WARC Rally Control that the dockside fuel station in Hiva-Oa will not have any fuel for the fleet upon our arrival. The nearest port to get fuel is another 100 miles north west. Talk about testing our light wind sailing patience (not skill).
We do a sail change at the end of almost every shift (every three hours) hoping to find some way to make the boat go faster. But we are not all that successful. We put as much sail out as we can as you can see from the picture above, where we have the jib, stay sail and the main sail deployed. Right now we are flying the spinnaker and jib together. Last night at 3 am a squall came up from behind me and I was soo thankful to have 12-15 knot winds push the boat along for thirty minutes. Normally one would try to dodge the squalls. We look forward to them.
Otherwise, life is good aboard At Last. Janet is really becoming quite the sailing chef and that does a lot to keep our spirits up. She made an apple, raisin and cinnamon cake yesterday. It is all gone now. Our daily routine is sleep, tighten the autopilot bolt that is still giving us trouble, do laundry, cook, sweat, shower, and eat. Oh, I forgot about sailing the boat. The sun is really intense here and it is hot!! The lack of wind makes the boat all that much hotter below.
I thought of a comparison for the trip that everyone might relate to. Imagine traveling with one other person from Juneau, Alaska to Miami, Florida in a minivan doing only 7 miles per hour. You are not able to stop at all and have to cook, bath, steer and change the oil and tires while underway. That is pretty much the picture.
We look forward to getting to the Marquesas and getting access to email and skype to catch up with everyone. Till then....wish for us wind, any kind will do.