Jumping the Puddle- Part 2
25 March 2008 | 15? 58'N, 107? 44'W
Day 5 16? 02N, 107? 32'W Last night the wind picked up to 10-12 knots over the 7 knots we had yesterday so we've been making 7+ knots in boat speed. Whee! Unfortunately as is often the case as the wind builds so does the swell so the ride is a bit rolly. (I guess we should have done school yesterday when it was nice and flat).
Also, we got some bad news from our friends on Imagine. They left Manzanillo on Monday but at 3:00 am Wednesday (these things always happen in the wee hours, I think) the rudder for their self-steering wind vane sheared off and was lost. They think they must have hit something hard to have damaged it in that way- possibly a whale they think. They hove to for many hours and tried to repair it but were unsuccessful and therefore had to turn back to Mexico. They really had no choice, they have no alternative self-steering mechanism and hand steering for 3,000 miles is nobody's idea of a good time.
Day 6 15? 13N, 109? 38'W During the day the wind was 17-20 knots so we're cooking along and getting our best 24 hours run so far. Late in the evening the wind subsided but the swell did not so we struggled to maintain our point of sail. As our stern was pushed around the sails flopped and banged as they emptied and suddenly filled. Hard on the sails and our nerves. Frustrating.
It's really amazing how much noise a sailboat makes even when the engine is off. And one that's been underway 24/7 for nearly a week develops even more annoying and hard to identify squeaks, rattles, bangs, and groans. You really begin to appreciate the tremendous loads that are placed on the sails and rig. and of course its all exacerbated by the pitching and rolling from the swell. I hate swell.
Day 7 14? 57N, 112? 03'W This morning Sophie spotted a sail on the horizon. This was rather exciting- as we hadn't seen another ship of any kind for several days and nights. I hailed them on the VHF radio: "Sailboat with blue spinnaker, sailboat with blue spinnaker. this is sailing vessel Meridian". I found out they were the sailboat "Shambala". They are an Australian family that has been cruising for the past 3 years including over to Japan and back across to Alaska and now headed for the South Pacific. Impressive.
It took all day but by late afternoon they had caught up to us and passed us- not quite close enough to pass a jar of Grey Poupon, but we could still see the whites of their eyes. We snapped some pictures and then they pulled away. slowly. It took the rest of the day for them to disappear over the horizon. (Yes, they were outsailing us. No shame in that.)
And thus the simple occurrence of a sailboat passing us in open water provided a whole day's worth of entertainment for both crews. Good stuff.
Day 8 14? 10N, 113? 58'W Last night basically sucked. The swell made the ride very rolly- and the wind died at 11:00 pm making it worse. So we motored through the night and no one slept very much because the swell had us rolling side to side. I hate swell. Have I mentioned that?
Today the swell minimized and we had the gennaker up and were making good boat speed (7+ knots). The tack again blew out so we pulled it down and decided to run with just the poled-out jib. This worked quite well for us and even allowed us to go DDW (dead down wind) something generally not possible for us. That meant we could actually sail the "rhumb line" southwest toward our destination.