Today we are trying to get to the east enough to be spared the next depression, or at least the worst of the next depression. But we have light winds and are in the southern part of a small pressure system.
Although the boat specifications call for the downwind gennaker, or fractional gennaker, we decided to go for the genoa, which is a primarily an upwind sail, but can be used downwind also, and thus has more versatility. The forecasts suggest we will have downwind (now) and upwind later, and I am frankly too tired to do two of those big sail changes.
This morning, I lowered the storm jib, got it in its bag, and put the bag in the forepeak. Then I lowered the masthead stabilizing cable that we put up, bow to masthead, in the genoa’s place, when that sail is not up. Then I hoisted the genoa in its bag, all 75 kgs (165 lbs) of it, out of the forepeak, lashed it on deck, rigged the sheets and tack and halyard, and hoisted it. Then unrolled it. All of this took two hours straight. Then , as the wind had shifted a bit, I rolled it up, tacked with just the mainsail, and unrolled it on the other gybe, another 20 minutes.
I’m relieved to say that I’m not the only one out here who is tired. The others in the group, in their emails, all mention it. I mused to Murray Lister today on a Skype video chat that the last ship I saw was the Brazilian warship off Brazil. I can’t remember when I last saw a full sky of stars, or we had a full day of real sunshine, not simply a ray or two poking through for 5 or 10 minutes. Since the Atlantic, it has been gray, gray, gray, and I’m sure that that is contributing to the fatigue. Depression after depression after depression, either trying to avoid them, or trying to survive them, or trying to use the tail end or the front end to advance our cause eastward toward Cape Horn.
The Indian Ocean at least has some islands in it, perhaps a ship (like the research vessel that picked up Kito De Pavant), but the South Pacific has nothing, no islands, no shipping, no nothing, for 5000 miles across to Cape Horn. Maybe there are some fishing vessels here, but we’ve seen nothing on radar, or AIS, or visually. I’ll ask Murray the next time we speak whether any ships are on their old trade route, Wellington around Cape Horn to Europe, the longest trade route in the world.
This afternoon, we had a tsunami warning from an earthquake whose epicenter was 2000 miles NW of us, near Fiji. An hour or so later it was cancelled. These came in through our Inmarsat-C unit. At sea, its doubtful that we would have felt anything. The displacement of water by a subsea earthquake will wait until it gets to the shallows of a shore to then build to an enormous wave, but on the open ocean it will only be an unnoticeably small swell.
That’s a nice small favor from King Neptune today!
44° 38’S x 158° 09’W
58° F / 14.4°C
Sails (click for sail diagram)
Mainsail (1 reef), Solent
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