A Photogenic Day

Day 136/14

Noon Position: 43 25S 173 40W

Course/Speed: NE7

Wind: WXN25

Bar: 1007, steady

Sea:n NW8

Sky: High Cumulus

Cabin Temperature: 63

Water Temperature: 60

Sail: Broad reach with two reefs in working jib and main

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 143

Miles this leg: 1,735

Avg. Miles this leg: 124

Miles since departure: 18,990

We are now treading lightly over the extreme northern arm of some powerful lows to the south. This has lead to unsettled and changeable weather and a very photogenic day.

Wind was WNW at dawn; then veered NNW and just after noon backed sharply to the SW, all while managing a velocity from 15 to 30 knots in the course of just a few minutes. Thus, the neighborhood we are traversing has become a mass of sharp-pointed seas from all directions. Nothing large, but enough to toss Mo around like a piece of driftwood.

Dawn revealed towering cumulus, some with bases big enough to cover the sky and take wind briefly to 40 in their squalls, all forgiven for the beauty of beholding something other than infernal gray.

I began by letting go reefs just after morning coffee. Before lunch I was putting them in again, and in a hurry. For my labors I was rewarded with a boot full of water and about a gallon of frothing sea down my front. Now we slide along under working jib alone. Mo wobbles and corkscrews but makes good time and all of it in the right direction.

From The Chatham Islands, our next waypoint is one thousand miles northeast at 30S and 160W, a spot directly below the Cook Islands. Achieving this latitude should get us up, over and through the Horse Latitudes (calms and variables) that separate the Roaring 40s from the SE Trades.

More importantly, the Cook Islands are on a longitudinal line directly below Hawaii, and for the purposes of getting home once, passing near the Hawaiian Island chain gives one a good launch point for getting around the Pacific High, that ocean’s major summertime weather feature.

I may extend the next waypoint out east to Tahiti in the coming days, this simply to ease the wind angle once in the trades, but right now the SE trades are so light, going close hauled into them might be a good thing. More on that as the days develop.

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