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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Day 11 Update
Bruce
08/04/2011

Today marks our 11th day, we have sailed 1505 nautical miles since Moorea. We are still in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, a.k.a. the Doldrums, which has been marked by flat calm interspersed with frequent squalls and rain showers. We are sailing north eastward as much as the wind and current will allow in order to have the best possible sailing angle across the north-east trades to Hawaii.

We are still sailing with the jib only. The mainsail needs to be removed to repair it, but to do so requires a crew member to go up the mast in a bosun's chair to help unfurl it. We are waiting for one of those Doldrum flat calm seas before undertaking that task. Nevertheless, the boat sails very well with only the jib. At the moment we have 17 knots of wind and the boat is sailing at 6.5 knots. With the mainsail we might gain another knot of boat speed, but that's not critical.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 9 on the Ocean
Bruce
08/02/2011

This is the 9th day since we left Moorea; we are north of the equator and approaching the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ, or "Doldrums"). The conditions are nice with light 12 knot winds and fairly flat seas.

Crew member Daniel and Antoine play poker in the cockpit. They've got the cards on the floor to shield them from the wind.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Equator Crossing
Bruce
08/01/2011, On the Equator, Pacific Ocean

We crossed the Equator this morning under bright blue skies and 15 knot winds - perfect sailing weather! To celebrate, we passed out chocolates and offered a beer to the Sea Gods. The position of our crossing was Latitude 0 degrees 00.000'N (of course), Longitude 145 degrees 50.442'W.

We are nearly exactly at the halfway point between Tahiti and Hawaii, which means we should have another 7 or 8 days to go. On a map, our position is about a thousand miles to the nearest land in any direction, which makes this spot one of the loneliest places on earth. Since we left Moorea 8 days and 1135 nautical miles back, we have not seen a single boat, ship, or airplane.

The last time we crossed the Equator was April 11, going in the opposite direction. So this crossing brings to a close our 3-1/2 month visit to the South Pacific. Next stop, Hawaii!

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 7 - Laundry Day
Bruce
07/31/2011, Pacific Ocean, near the Equator

Today marks 7 days at sea as we approach the Equator. We covered 150 nautical miles in the last 24 hours, sailing without the ripped mainsail. Conditions have improved considerably; we have blue skies and the winds have moderated to 16 knots. We still have a huge swell, though, mountainous waves 7 meters high, sometimes with breaking waves. Amazingly just when you think an especially big wave is going to flood the cockpit or knock us over, the wave just passes under our keel harmlessly.

In the recent days, we were constantly being sprayed with or sitting in sea water, so our clothes needed a good cleaning and drying, but it wasn't possible to hang the clothes to dry on the lifelines because of the waves that would spray anything hanging there. While Pascale was resting this afternoon I surprised her by washing the clothes and hanging them to dry. I had the idea to attach a clothes line to the topping lift and hoist the drying clothes up the mast, well away from the salty spray.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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08/13/2011 | Liz Wilder
Way to go Bruce! go where the wind blows, especially where to hang those clothes!!
Bon Anniversaire Mamie Olga!
07/31/2011

Pascale uses the satellite phone to wish her mother a happy birthday. This birthday was a big one - 90! It was amazing to think that she could speak from the middle of the ocean via satellite, to her mom in France, almost exactly on the opposite side of the globe!

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 6: Getting By Just Fine Without The Mainsail
Bruce
07/31/2011, Pacific Ocean

We've been waiting for calm conditions before attempting repairs to the mainsail but that hasn't presented itself; we have had winds in the 20 to 25 knot range all day. This however is perfect conditions for sailing and we have been able to maintain around 7 knots boat speed throughout the day with the foresail only.

The seas have flattened somewhat making for a pleasant ride, though the occasional big wave reminds us that we are in the middle of an ocean.

This afternoon we enjoyed an aperitif with Pastis cocktails and pate on toast. Pictured [L to R] crew member Daniel, Antoine, Pascale.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 6: Limping Along at 6 Knots
Bruce
07/30/2011, South Pacific Ocean

We have not been able to remove the mainsail for repairs yet because it is too windy and the 5 meter swells are too large. We're sailing with just the reefed jib and making about 6 knots which is not too bad. We'll wait for calmer conditions to work on the mainsail so that no further damage to it is done.

We covered 175 miles on Day 5, before the mainsail ripped. Now on Day 6 we have covered a mere 107 miles, but that included half a day yesterday struggling at 2 knots upwind through that 40 knot weather system.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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This is what 40 Knots looks like
Bruce
07/30/2011, in the South Pacific

Despite having triple reef handkerchief-size sails we are burying the rail as we traverse a squall in the South Pacific. This one put a rip in our mainsail which we hope to be able to repair tomorrow.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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07/30/2011 | Bob Haley
Giddey-up buckaroo

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