Sailing Leander

Sailing Leander

Who: Sima Baran & Paul Robertson
Port: Boston
22 November 2010 | Fethiye, Turkey
22 October 2010
20 July 2010 | Endeavor Bay, Tawila Island, Egypt
17 July 2010 | Red Sea, Egypt
15 July 2010 | 27 41 N, 33 48 E
14 June 2010 | 14 48 N, 42 57 E
12 June 2010
08 June 2010 | Sataya (Dolphin) Reef, Red Sea, off the coast of Egypt
07 June 2010 | Dangerous Reef, Foul Bay, Egypt
02 June 2010 | Khor el Morob, Sudan
30 May 2010 | Marsa Shin'Ab, Sudan
27 May 2010 | Marsa Shin'ab, Sudan
25 May 2010 | Suakin, Sudan
24 May 2010 | Aden, Yemen
03 May 2010 | Day 5: 160 miles northeast of Aden, 15 miles from the Yemeni Coast
29 April 2010 | Day 1: Passage to Yemen
24 April 2010 | Day 16: 135 Miles From Salalah, Oman
21 April 2010 | Day 13: 460 Miles From Salalah, Oman
19 April 2010 | Day 11: A Little Bit Closer to Oman
18 April 2010 | In the midst of the Arabian Sea

On Passage, Boring Days Are The Best

21 April 2010 | Day 13: 460 Miles From Salalah, Oman
5:00 p.m. (12:00 UTC) Wednesday, April 18, 2010 15 N, 66 E

We had a visitor yesterday. A unmarked patrol plane buzzed us at tree-top level, providing excitement to an otherwise quiet day. We snapped on the VHF, and he called, as they tend to do after providing such a wakeup call, and he identified himself as "Maritime Air Patrol." What's that, in the middle of the Arabian Sea? The "NATO" Maritime Air Patrol? "EUNAVFOR." Or maybe a "Coalition" Maritime Air Patrol? He wasn't saying.

(We write "he," but this thing was a veritable Spruce Goose, and probably had more than a handful of personnel aboard. Or maybe it wasn't that big, but just felt that way as it roared by at what felt like a couple of feet above the mast.)

They wanted our particulars, which we provided on the radio as they soared away.

We had been worried about wind and fuel reserves, and it looks like we have planned things right. We had chosen to motor through much of the middle of the trip, which found us crossing through the innards of a giant high pressure system that blankets most of the Arabian Sea, with the weather system's center matching the sea's center. The calculated risk we took in motoring so much was that we would have enough wind to sail again after we came to the far side of the high, and approached the Omani coast. The weather charts said that this would be the case, but of course it's hard to predict whether the high will have shifted to somewhere else by the time we were supposed to be through it, keeping the windless center right over us for the duration of our trip or, even worse, setting adverse winds against us. The other option would have been to meander through the middle of the high very slowly, relying on the tiniest breath of wind to push us along at a knot or two. But this seemed nonsensical, since it would likely have doubled the duration of our trip. As it was, we had enough fuel to motor about nine days, or 1000 miles, meaning we'd have to sail about 500. We watched things closely, but felt a little anxious as we motored for our fourth, fifth, and sixth straight days. But the weather charts stayed the same, and so on we motored.

Each night, we get the weather by radio email, and wait with baited breath to see what will be in store for us.

The news has mostly been good, and last night it was excellent. The charts confirm what we feel on the sails we've now passed through the gigantic middle of this stationary high. The winds will stay strong for the next several days, and slowly back from westerly to more southerly as we pass through the top end of the high, and give us an easy pass down the chute for our last few days.

These last 24 hours have been a bit bumpy, as we've been trying to beat west with the winds still coming from that direction. The seas have been bumpy, and Leander has been healed over, sails filled, with waves pounding at her bow as she claws to get as much good ground as possible. We had to tack today, meaning that we sailed about 100 miles but made only about 50 miles toward our destination, but, if we've done things right, should have to do that only once or twice more for the duration of the trip.

---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see:
Vessel Name: Leander
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 41.1
Hailing Port: Boston
Crew: Sima Baran & Paul Robertson
About: Following our wedding in Istanbul we are taking a two-year break from land-life and going sailing. Sima is taking time off between strategy consulting and business school while Paul is on a sabbatical from his career as an attorney.

Sailing Leander

Who: Sima Baran & Paul Robertson
Port: Boston