Day 10 of passage to Marshalls
23 January 2019 | 15 35'N:173 51'W, 1,000 NM to Majuro
More than nine days into this passage to the Marshall Islands, the recurring theme remains slowly sailing through light winds. Every time that the wind or the clouds or the sky look as if it's going to finally fill in, QUIVER speeds up to six knots and begins sailing a good heading only to see the wind drop back off to sub-8 knots again. Last night and this morning have been a slow, tedious affair, but as has been the case for the entire passage "the good breeze is just a bit further ahead".
Two nights ago I decided that I would try to catch a sunset fish, as my fresh fish stocks were finally depleted enough to begin trolling again. Well, i didn't catch and ended up forgetting that I still had a line out. After the excitement of an ultra-exclusive blood moon lunar eclipse viewing party DJ'd by my iPod, I had tidied up and gotten into night mode. I think I was down below in my bunk, perhaps reading or watching a movie when it happenedÉ right around midnight, the line ripped out from the fishing rod! I grabbed my head lamp and went on deck to fight the fish. Once alongside, I could see it was a 15-20 pouind yellow fin tuna. Small ahi. beautiful fish!!! But it was midnight, I was already in bed and I didn't feel like deling with a bloody ordeal of killing, processing, bagging, and then cleaning up after a bloody tuna fight. So I gaffed the fish and removed the hook without too much disruption, though his mouth has probably surely seen better days! Lesson learned, do n't leave the lines out at night if you're not going to want to handle the fish! Sorry �"bout the mouth, guy.
During my last gnarly sea-trial on QUIVER, I sailed solo from Honolulu to Lahaina, Maui in December. Along the way, I saw up to 38 knots of breeze near the top of Lanai and my large Monitor wind vane air paddle came loose and blew off of the wind vane; it was lost at sea. Again, lesson learned; always use a lanyard to double-attach the wind paddle. Anyways, I didn't want to delay my departure and so bought some 1/8" marine plywood and used the table saw at the yacht club and made some spare wind paddles. Unfortunately, these ones are heavier than the stock plastic one and in light air - espeically downwind - the vane just falls over lock-to-lock, effectively making the boat swerve back and forth super hard and absolutley steer like shit downwind in light winds. The Monitor owner's manual warns of this and it's exactly what's happening. I have potential soutions and will eventually acquire another new Monitor vane, but for now, i'm effectively just limited in what angles I can sail in these conditions. I can either reach way up, or I can go almiost dead down wind with a poled out jib and no mainsail up. If I try to go wind on wing or deep reaching, the boat sails unacceptably poorly. To add to this, i've been having intermittent autopilot problems which have been rather annoying. Needless to say, this first light wind passage has been a good test for both the boat and the skipper, and have offered plenty of needed practice in dealing with these types of conditions. As offshore sailors, we oftentimes prepare for the big gales and big storms when in reality, it's the benign that present the most frequent challenge.
I have sailed through the last transition zone in the weather, in theory, and am now just touching the trades and sailing into more pressure tonight; pressure which should take me all the way to Majuro. The forecasts have been pretty close, though this lingering light air has been lighter than had been indicated. Fingers crossed I reach the trades tonight.
All is well onboard QUIVER. Systems are working well, life is comfortable, just very slow and sometimes interrupted by incessant slatting of sails, Like literally right as I typed that, haha. QUIVER out.