28 December 2008

28-Dec-2008 Noon Position

Atlantic Crossing Day #4

North Atlantic Ocean
  • 99 nm last 24 hours
  • 456 nm from Cape Verde
  • 1565 nm to Barbados
  • Winds E/NE 10 Knots
  • Seas NE 2-3 feet
The winds are pooping out at bit and our 24-hours runs are getting shorter. We have had 10 knots of wind for the last 24-hours, right off the stern, with the main sail out to port and the jib poled out to starboard.

Our 'Says Rig' wind vane (courtesy of Cap'n Chris on S/V Christa who we are expecting to reunite with very soon) has been doing all our steering. It gets a little testy in light winds. We have given it the name 'Haywire" because it looks a bit crazy and steers a little nutty at times. 

When we use our electric autopilot, it steers a straight compass course using a digital compass. So if there is any change in the wind direction, the sail trim changes. It is also very easy to jibe because even the slightest change of wind on a downwind run will back wind the main sail. 

However, when 'Haywire' steers it uses the wind direction to tell the boat which way to go. So the sail trim never changes. But if there is a change in the direction of the wind, and one does not occasionally look at the compass, it is very easy to go way off course without even knowing it.

Also, with 'Haywire' steering in light winds, Sandpiper does a sort of a long "S" pattern through the water. But when the wind picks up, it steers a somewhat straight course. Another thing with 'Haywire': We have to lean off the stern of the boat to change course, and with the electric we can change course at the helm with only the push of a button.

Being out here in the middle of the ocean where steering a straight course not as important as keeping the sail trim correct, we like using 'Haywire'. But near shore and near other boats, we switch to the electric autopilot.

We have been fishing for the last few days but we only keep catching a very small fish,  1-2 feet long, and looks like a Mahi Mahi/Dorado. They must be a smaller species out here in the eastern Atlantic. So far we have caught about 6 of them and thrown them all back as we are still hoping for the big daddy.

More in 24,
Tom and Amy

No comments: