April 5, 2019
Noon Position: 34 56S 30 00W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): NExE 5
Wind(t/tws): NWxN 8
Sea(t/ft): NW 2
Sky: Altcum becoming cirrus with cum as a front approaches.
10ths Cloud Cover: 5
Bar(mb): 1017, falling slowly
Cabin Temp(f): 75
Water Temp(f): 70
Relative Humidity(%): 84
Sail: Big genoa and main, close hauled on port
Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 121
Miles since departure: 24,996
Avg. Miles/Day: 137
Leg North Days: 16
Leg North Miles: 2,046
Avg. Miles/Day: 128
We just can’t shake off slow days. On four of the last six, we’ve logged fewer than 127 miles in 24 hours, and those two exceptions were less than our average of 137 miles a day. I must refrain from complaining, however, as we’ve experienced a steady westerly with no calms at all since Cape Horn, but I’m beginning to forget what it was like to go fast.
Right now: 8 knots of wind; the big genoa and main up and the cover down to catch a bit more breeze, and all we can muster is 4.5 knots of speed. Nary a white cap to be seen.
On the positive side, it is warm. I’m in a t-shirt. Today I washed my head in the cockpit and without heating the water. Took it straight from the sea. Been months since the water has been warm enough for that.
Another first: hatches OPEN. Laundry (not clean, still dirty, still wet from action in the Roaring Forties) out to dry, but it remains too humid for this. Clothes come back below as heavy and damp as they were when laid out.
We crossed the latitude of 35S today and our first distinct shipping lane.
At 10:30AM, three bulk carriers came onto the chart plotter screen in a loose convoy headed due west and riding the 35S line. The BULK POLAND, MEDI KAZAHAYA, and the MIMOSA, all bound for Recalada, which I presume is around Rio de la Plata. All were making the bulk carrier’s signature speed, 12.6 knots.
Our intercept was such that the middle of the three, the MEDI, had to alter course for Mo by north three degrees, and even then, she passed within a mile. I sat on deck watching her slow maneuver and wondering at the sequence of events aboard the MEDI. Who on the bridge first reported the AIS target; who gave the order to alter course; who pushed the button on the autopilot that would engage the giant hydraulic ram to turn the rudder that would gently ease these many tons of steel three degrees to the north; who made note of these actions in the log? Was it all the same person?
I could have altered course by pulling one of Monte’s a strings, and certainly that would have been the polite thing to do, but I’d spent the last hour balancing sail and tiller in these zephyrs. And we all had bags of sea room. And I was curious …
The MEDI never rang as she passed. With binoculars, I could see that no one came out to the fly bridge to inspect the little, gray mosquito off to port. She made up the three degrees before going over the horizon. A clean, smart-looking ship. I was pleased we had crossed paths.
Two hours later, two more bulk carriers outbound on the 35S line and headed for Singapore.