06/16/2013, 11 24.9'N:176 17.6'E, NE of Majuro
Present position: 11deg 24.9' N 176deg 17.6'' E COG: 065deg SOG: 4.0 kts Estimated position 24hours:12deg 07.0' 177deg 49.6' Baro:29.65last 24hr range: 29.62-68 Wind: NE 22-25 kts, 24 h range 18-30 kts mostly in low 20's Seas:3-4 Clouds 45% Cumulus Summary: A bit stronger this morning
Looking for that rhythm of a waltz and we are getting a bit of John Cage as we progress in fits and starts through irregular seas. Partly sunny though and shearwaters everywhere wheeling and diving.
Our power train includes a John Deere 4045TFM 75 which is a 4 cylinder, turbocharged, diesel engine which puts out 135 horsepower. We are running it now at 45 % load with fuel consumption of approx 2.7 gal/hour. Speed depends on wind, waves and current. Pushing a displacement boat is far different than a planing hull which needs much more power to get it on plane and keep it there,
The engine is secured to the boat on flexible engine mounts which reduce noise and vibration. A universal joint is employed to connect the "movable" engine to the shaft which must stay fixed and the joints allow for this. The shaft passes through a thrust bearing which tranfers thrust to the boat without "pushing" the engine forward. The shaft then passes through a dripless seal to keep outside seawater from entering and then a cutlass bearing keeps the shaft aligned and lubricates the shaft's rotatory movement with seawater. Finally the propellor creates thrust as it rotates through the water and pushes the boat forward.
It is a wonderful thing to hear the engine running smoothly in all types of seastate. Deere engines converted for marine use represents a small fraction of their business which is predominently land vehicles, tractors, construction equipment and generators. Bob Senter, our diesel guru really likes this engine which also has a counter rotating vibrational dampers which reduces vibration and noise further. Happy with the Deere slogan, "Nothing runs like a Deere".
One consequence of bigger seas is a significant increase in numbers of flying fish ending up on our deck. If the wave they take off from is above boat level, they have an unpleasant surprise especially at night. This morning I counted 9!
Just passed a huge group of birds working over a school of fish so we have put out lines to restock. If not successful, we may have to resort to pressure cooked barbecued ribs or chicken which is not as bad as it may sounds, although my captive customers would have a hard time ordering in a pizza if they complained!
06/15/2013, 10 40.2'N:174 42'E, NE of Majuro
Present position: 10deg 40.2' N 174deg 42.0'' E COG: 062deg SOG: 4.2 kts Estimated position 24hours:11deg 50.2' 175deg 13.4' Baro:29.68 last 24hr range: 29.62-71 Wind: ENE 20-22 kts, 24 h range 17-28kts Mostle upper 20's Seas:4-5 M Clouds 20% cover Cumulus Summary: Change to 065 deg COG from 035 COG --Using Lee's information we are now on a rhumb line to Hawaii as there is no advantage to be further North at this time
We continue to have strong trade winds and big seas. The picture from the helm is as follows: Bare feet on the sides of the console, cool drink or coffee in the cup holder. The scene out of the pilot house window is somewhat chaotic. Big waves and whitecaps everywhere. Wanted to use the term white toothed combers for some time now, so there you go. Shearwater has no problem with the conditions. At the trough of a swell, one is looking up at a house sized wave. She simply lifts her nose and rides up the face, during which time, one only sees sky. At the top, it feels like a momentary pause to survey the scene and the she hisses down the back side with an imagined wiggle of her tail feathers. These big swells are far enough apart that during the described process we lose little speed over ground. What we don't like is the occasional 2-3 foot wind chop which slaps her in the face at an inopportune moment sending spray everywhere and slowing us down to below 4 kts. If it happens in conjunction with a swell, the reduction in speed is compounded.
Frankl;y these conditions in the past would have made me uncomfortable if not a tad frightened but the combined experience of our trip so far has, as I've mentioned before, make this routine and just another day. Boat is really stable and all systems are functioning normally. We hope the sea will get better organized and we can make better progress towards Hawaii.
06/14/2013, 09 29.5'N:173 32.2'E, NE of Majuro
Present position: 9deg 29.5' N 173deg 33.2' E COG: 045deg SOG: 3.9 kts Estimated position 24hours:10deg 38.5' 174deg 46.8' Baro:29.68 last 24hr range: 29.62-71 Wind: ENE 24 kts, 24 h range 16-26kts; last 12 hrs 24-25 sustained Seas:4-5 M building, 2 distinct swells Clouds 20% cover Cumulus Summary: Continuing 045 deg
We're not kidding anymore! Continuous winds 25-30 kts overnight have made for a big sea. Period is just long enough to not take significant water over the bow, though. Boat remains great aside from being slowed by the headwinds and seas.
Long trek ahead to Hawaii and we all hope these winds moderate soon to improve speed and fuel consumption. All feel fine on board. Wade has an iron stomach and offered me a Milkyway for breakfast at shift change! Fishing on hold for a bit until conditions improve.
Duck design is perfect for these conditions. High bow and flush deck with large scuppers allow it to shed water like a duck's back to coin a phrase.
06/13/2013, 08 18.7'N:172 23.7'E, NE of Majuro
Present position:08deg 18.7' N 172 deg 23.7' E COG: 050deg SOG: 4.4 kts Estimated position 24hours:09 deg 43.0' N 173 deg 050.0' E Baro:29.68 last 24hr range: 29.62-71 Wind: NE 19-21 kts, 24 h range 15-24kts Seas:3-4 M Clouds 25% cover Cumulus Summary: Continuing 045 deg
Yesterday after fueling 500 gallons headed West down the lagoon 10 nm to the channel. What a lovely change to be going with the wind. Ran at 1650 rpms burning 2 gph and making better than 7 kts. I saw Jef's request just before we took off and I will post data but it will be an asterix as the wind has been on the nose for the entire trip so far.
Majuro was great. There is a well organized community of cruisers and a net on both VHF and SSB. They were extremely helpful the evening we arrived and the next day to organize clearance. A highlight for us was an invite to their weekly dinner followed by a trivia quiz which was won by a team including Wade and Roger. Questions were both nautical and general knowledge. The prize was $28 split 4 ways but more importantly, winning the responsibility for submitting 20 questions for the contest next month! I have no doubt that these people will hold our crew to it. Heard stories after stories about leaving home 6 or 9 or 12 years previously and where they have been and what they've done. Especially intriguing were stories of going to tiny atolls and being accepted in village life, staying for a few months and moving on. (Eliza, I see an anthropology project on the horizon!)
We have consulted with Lee Chesneau, our weather router, and local cruisers concerning our course to Hawaii. Strong Westward equatorial current from 7-11 degrees and moderate to strong ENE winds in same region. Several options were discussed. One suggestion was to head South to 4 degrees and ride the countercurrent East and take advantage to mild headwinds until heading North to Hawaii. Problem with this route is extra miles and extra time. The rhumb line to Hawaii is not enticing as there is a long time spent in the current and headwinds slowing us down and being uncomfortable. We've selected a happy medium. Head North at an angle of 45 degrees true until Oscar.Noaa.gov shows a dramatic decrease in the westward equatorial current at 11-12 degrees where we will begin our Eastward trek.
Well, the time going with the weather was short lived and we are fighting it on the nose again. Now at 1700 rpm's and making 4 to 4.5 kts burning 2.5 gph. Hard to maintain momentum pitching into big seas which present ramps which slow down forward progress. No easing into sea legs!
Will try to post daily at this time with weather update and a bit of news or discussion of boat systems. All well on board if not a bit frustrated by the slowness of our boat from China.
06/09/2013, NTA Internet hut
Here I sit in the thatched internet hut outside the National Telecommunications Authority building with large satellite dish on its roof. There are picnic tables with bits of coral spread over the ground. Majuro is really interesting. There are multiple islets with an interconnecting road which is miles long. As you can see from the picture, the width of the land is narrow between ocean and lagoon and taxis run from one end to the other and pick up multiple fares along the way. People are helpful and friendly and we are getting multiple tasks done and meeting some of the local cruisers. Tentative plan is to leave on Weds for Hawaii if weather cooperates. Thanks for all your great comments! It is one of the best parts of getting into port and finding internet access. Imagine being on a whaling ship and posting a letter which took years to be delivered!
As with everywhere we've visited, we all feel sorry that we don't have time to explore the local sights and culture. This area is really rich in both departments and has countless atolls, both inhabited and not, which are accessible by boat and are perfect examples of tropical paradise. What is surprising is a drought here which makes life in outlying atolls difficult--attributed by some to global warming. Water is precious.
Heading out to the Port Authority to arrange for fueling.
06/07/2013, 07 19.9'N:171 04.0'E, Majuro
Hello all. Escorted by a group of a dozen or so cavorting porpoises riding our bow wave, we found the entrance markers into the huge atoll of Majuro and made it inside just at dark. Once inside we travelled almost 1 1/2 hours to the Northeast where we found an empty mooring buoy with the help of a local cruisers group on the VHF. After a good nights sleep, we enjoyed a pancake breakfast made possible by flat water, and we are trying unsuccessfully at contacting local authorities for customs and immigration which may be difficult on the weekend. Once checked in, we will go to shore and explore. Just wanted to update that we are happily sitting amidst a group of cruising sailboats, slightly bloated from pancake overload. More as it transpires.