One Third of the Way

January 7, 2019

Day 95

Noon Position: 46 58S  53 14E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExN 7

Wind(t/tws): WxN 17 – 26

Sea(t/ft): NW 10 – 12

Sky: Partly Sunny

10ths Cloud Cover: 8

Bar(mb): 993, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 41

Relative Humidity(%): 75

Sail: Working jib, two reefs

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 161

Miles since departure: 13,066

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

Days since Cape Horn: 38

Miles since Cape Horn: 5,422

Avg. Miles/Day: 143

Longitude Degrees Made Good (degrees minutes): 3 55

Longitude Miles Made Good (at Lat 47S): 161

Total Longitude Made Good Since Cape Horn (degrees minutes): 120 31

Two pleasant milestones today. One, we’ve achieved an average of 143 miles per day since rounding Cape Horn. This, to me, is a magic number as it means we’re cranking out 1000 miles a week. With wind and better management, Mo can do more, but that’s not at all bad.

Two, we have now crossed 120 of the 360 meridians between our first Cape Horn rounding and our second. One third of the Southern Ocean loop is in the bag. It’s tempting to start doing the math on the miles and number of days it took to get here and to project that forward. But don’t. The Atlantic part of this leg saw lots of northing and southing and was, thus, very inefficient. Between here and the Pacific should be faster.

I’d wanted to swing by the Crozets for a peek, but the wind wasn’t for it. We passed 33 miles under Possession Island at 6am. Now that we are E of the islands and are back in deep water, we are really in the slosh pit. The sea is even more steep and chaotic than yesterday and has the distinct resemblance to the kind of seas one gets in wind-over-tide situations. I’m betting the current here reverses or creates a large eddy behind the islands.

Add to that today’s squalls where wind is either 19 or 39 from W or SW, and Mo is having a tough day. She’s getting thrown off some of the larger seas, rounding wildly one way or the other. I’ve had to slow down a bit to give Monte more control (the opposite of my general philosophy).

Re the confused seas here, Michael Scipione commented thusly on the Figure 8 site a few days ago…

“Randall-for over a year this issue over the area around the Crozets has piqued my interest and I have been tracking the ocean dynamics and following your second attempt. On the east coast we are very sensitive to the effect of the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream on waves and weather.

“The answer may lie in the merging of two main Summer current streams.  The tail end of Angulhas running ESE has warmer water than the West Wind Drift running E to ENE. The Angulhas produces a lot of eddies on its southern edge that confuse the seas with a predominant wave pattern from the SW.   Add to that the falloff of ocean depths which probably magnifies the eddies further. The ocean temperature gradients on maps in the area around the Crozets are unusually tighter than elsewhere in the southern Indian Ocean and I have been noticing that the wave height is larger along a band on the Southern edge of the Angulhas there.”

Amazing to think that Africa could have an effect all the way down here. Thanks for the research and the thoughts, Michael.

We are trending ENE partly because I want a little northing and partly for the beneficial wind angle, and our heading takes us directly to the spot of last year’s knockdown, a mere 80 miles distant as I type.

Though this is the strongest weather predicted here for a week, I’m eager to get well beyond the effect of the islands.

8 Comments on “One Third of the Way

  1. No knockdowns, please. The last one nearly gave me a heart attack, just from reading your post-knockdown blog entry. Skedaddle on out of that wavy mosh pit.

  2. Terrific pictures. Some of the best I have seen of the southern ocean. It looks excruciatingly lonely

  3. Always interesting to read the technical discussion of sailing, weather and seas. But even more i love the photos from parts of the world I’ll never see in person. The majesty of the waves and the terroir encountered never ceases to amaze me.


  4. Randall –

    I have a further riddle for you to ponder

    Date & time: Sun, 18 Feb 16:16:38 UTC
    41.0728°S / 42.9526°E

    have fun!

  5. and one more for the riddle…further away to the west

    Date & time: Sun, 18 Feb 02:54:57 UTC
    58.7°S / 25.69°W

  6. and lastly

    Sun, 18 Feb 07:04:44 UTC
    5.97°S / 100.88°E

    BTW these are all on that challenging day in February of 2018.

  7. Having sailed oceans with my wife, I absolutely feel your experience through the amazing narrative that you give me every day. Thank you!

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