20 August 2007 | Swingin' on a Star
I went to make a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich today and realized that we had run out of sandwich bread. Hideko to the rescue. In a matter of hours Hideko and mixed, beat up, proofed and what ever other violence you need to do to produce a fantastic loaf of sandwich bread. She had baked a lot of great baguettes over the last few months but this was the first time that she had come to the rescue of the peanut butter and jelly cause.
I spent the rest of the day preparing plans for our South Pacific Crossing. Hideko and I have been totally focused on getting far enough south to be out of the hurricane belt and in the insurance zone since the British Virgin Islands. Once here we began to realize that it won't be long before the longest crossing in our circumnavigation will be before us.
We have done a fair bit of pre-planning for the crossing of course. That said it is amazing how much work you really need to do to properly vet a real solid crossing plan. Jimmy Cornel's World Cruising Routes is always a good place to start planning any route. From Jimmy's work you can get the best routes and weather windows. This is really just the start though.
It has been about a weeks worth of work to get all of the data together to field our first draft of a plan for the South Pacific Crossing. We have decided that we would like to have six aboard for the trip. This means soliciting participation from four sailing friends. Here's the draft we're working with:
While route and timing specifics can not be determined precisely at this point, a general framework is in place targeting the Spring of 2008 using a well defined route from Colon Panama to French Polynesia. A crew commitment of two months would involve transit from Panama City, Panama to Papeete, Tahiti. A three month commitment would allow for transit from Colon through the canal and throughout the length of French Polynesia, perhaps returning from Bora Bora. A one month commitment risks becoming overdue on the return side but could be possible for crew wanting to make the ocean crossing only. Crew preferences will weigh heavily on the specific anchorages and durations of stay.
The tropical storm season in the Northern seas begins in June. The tropical storm season in the Southern seas ends in March. Our transit targets the month of April in an attempt to acquire the best possible conditions for the crossing.
Week 1: Second Week of March - Cristobal, Panama/Canal Preparations
Week 2: Third Week of March - Panama City/Canal Transit
Week 3: Fourth Week of March - Las Perlas Islands/Crew Shake Down
Week 4: First Week of April - North Pacific Crossing
Week 5: Second Week of April - Galapagos
Week 6: Third Week of April - South Pacific Crossing Week I
Week 7: Fourth Week of April - South Pacific Crossing Week II
Week 8: First Week of May - South Pacific Crossing Week III
Week 9: Second Week of May -The Marquesas
Week 10: Third Week of May -The Tuamotus
Week 11: Fourth Week of May -The Eastern Society Islands
Week 12+: June -The Western Society Islands and onward
Our goal is to make this crossing with 6 crew and a dog aboard. We have three empty cabins and couples are certainly welcome. Minimum crew for the crossing will be three and maximum will be eight. Crew will be responsible for a watch each day while in transit and will also share in the operational responsibilities of the boat. The watch plan with 6 crew would involve 2 hours on and 2 hours stand by, followed by 2 hours on and 2 hours standby. This puts each member of the crew at the helm for 4 hours a day and standing ready to assist for 4 hours a day with 16 hours off. Cooking, cleaning and maintenance tasks will also be shared amongst the crew.