13 April 2006

13-Apr-2006 Position

  • 13-Apr-2006 Noon
  • 86nm made good last 24 hours
  • 1670 Miles from Z-town
  • 1574 Miles to Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
  • E 15 knots wind, 1ft NE swell
LEFT FULL RUDDER!! We have finally decided that we not longer want to sail downwind in lite winds. So we turned left today and are heading for the equator. We sailed the last 24 hours in very little wind, making only 2-3 knots. Plus, the wind is not predicted to pick back up till Saturday. We are reluctant to motor any more till we get to the ITCZ (the doldrums). We are about half the way to Hiva Oa and we have used just under a half of our fuel to get out here to the tradewinds.

We are going to sail as much as we can, even if we are only going 2 knots. We need fuel to motor across the doldrums when we hit them somewhere south of 5°N latitude. We are motoring due south the catch the southerly trades on the other side of the ITCZ.

We were supposed to have been making good time the last two days as we are supposed to be having strong winds. But believe it or not, the rain storms in California have stolen our winds!! The northern tradewinds are driven by a high pressure system that permanently sits off the west coast of the U.S.. This drives these trade winds in a clockwise direction over the whole northern Pacific Ocean. So what does all this mean? It means that the low pressure systems (rain storms) that are hitting California have blocked all the winds heading way out here. That is why we are heading south today, instead of turning south at 130°W latitude where we heading. Might as well since we will just be sitting out here for two more days with no winds anyhow.

Turning left today is the first time we have had the winds off the port side of Sandpiper in two weeks. So we trying to get used to everything leaning in the other direction. If we do this properly, this will be our tack all the way to Hiva Oa. When we get there, I think we are going to be walking around in circles, as we are not used to be standing level anymore.

This is a much better course, as now the winds are off our port side and we can use the jib, which we have not been able to use going straight downwind. Sandpiper really hates going straight downwind. It really makes for a rolly ride. So now on this tack we are making great speed and should be having good 24hr runs.

Thanks to Ann, Vern, and my old boat neighbor Tom, we have figured out how to get AM radio stations on our SSB/Ham radio. This morning we got to hear the traffic report for the Bay Area. No traffic out here...

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