One week on, half way to the Aleutians
21 June 2018
So here we are a week after leaving Kushiro, on what has been a bit of a roller coaster of a trip! Winds dictated that we had to sail much further south than we would have liked, which will have added considerably to our total trip.
For this passage, we have taken on the services of a route planner, and early on he spotted a big low that would be heading our way, happily downgraded from a Typhoon! We can only get grib files for three days ahead, so it is good news that someone can advise us with a longer perspective. Our battle to get the least impact from the pending storm is to keep moving eastwards, which we have been fairly successful with, but now we have ESE winds of 20 knots and the best we can do is a course of NE 45".
We are at least more or less on a course for the Aleutians on this track, but to hell with Great Circle Navigation, all we can do is what the wind allows, and being hard on the wind for day after day is hard work and uncomfortable.
Progress was slowed yesterday, by our genoa furling line breaking, we had only replaced it two days before, and had thought we had found where it was chafing. So we are now using our last spare, which is worrying, but have rigged up a small line to make it come out of the furling drum very centrally, so fingers crossed.
We have taken our staysail off and replaced it with the storm jib, which is flying now along with a reefed genoa it works quite well to give low down drive, and is a comfort to know it is there if we need it.
The Hydrovane has been working well in challenging conditions, and is a great boon to save on battery power.
Managed to have a shower this morning, but haven't had a hair wash since we left, a bit worried that drying it is too cold for the head! I am up to 3 layers of trousers, followe by oilskins, and 4 layers of vests and thermals, with a thick down jacket, a down gilet and oilskin when on watch!
We try to do 4 hour watches, I go first, while Giles listens to a crackling SSB radio net with the other yachts doing this passage. It is a comfort to know that there are others out there. We thought we would have much more shipping, but we saw two ships yesterday the first we had seen for 48 hours.
Yesterday and this evening we had lovely sunshine, and it is a joy to sit 700 miles from anywhere, and watch the Albatross with their vast wingspan circling and wheeling behind us. The northern Fulmar which were are constant companions are no longer with us, but at night we are followed by little storm petrel who I think love the phosphorescence in the sparkling trail of water we create.
We are about half way now , depending on where we make landfall in the Aleutians. It will be good to get this Low through, which is going to give us an uncomfortable couple of days.