Getting across the equator yesterday was both a challenge and a relief. As we approached, it seemed as though the wind gods decided they weren’t quite ready for us yet, so the wind turned to the north, and essentially, although all of the weather files showed us being in the southeast trade winds, and should be broad reaching, we were beating upwind to get there, and with only a few knots of wind to boot. So it was slow and mentally trying.
Once across the challenge continued. The Azores High had moved a bit to the east and a bit north, thus taking some pressure off the northeast tradewinds, and allowing the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) to move north. The NOAA tropical weather map showed, between two reports, that it had been moved by the experts a full degree north, thus making us go another 60 miles north in light doldrum winds beforee getting to the tradewinds. The very detailed satellite photos available from Dundee showed exactly where we were in the cloud cover mix. Yet there is not much you can do about where you are once you are in there.
Anyway, we did a few circles again, autopilot off with no steerage way, and eventually were able to sail north, with a northwest wind, yes a northwest wind, where the southeast trades were supposed to be. We had found, with the relief of the pressure on the ITCZ, yet another little bubble where the wind has no idea what it is supposed to do, and until an overall systemic change occurs, it will be random and whimsical, although the skipper did not see the whimsy!
So we headed north, with a reef and the solent. Often a smaller sail will do better in these conditions, it will stand and take shape, whereas the bigger genoa will not. This was the case, and we slowly, at 2-3 knots, made our way north.
This morning we had about 6 knots of wind, and occasionally up to 9 knots of wind, and we continue north now to get to where, eventually I am sure, we will encounter the northeast trades. Then we will head off northwest until we cross the trades, and then deal with what we are presented with at that point.
1° 37’N x 31° 01’W
True Wind Speed
True Wind Direction
Sails (click for diagram)
Mainsail (1 reef), Solent
86°F / 30°C
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