Thoughts on the Approaching Doldrums

April 15, 2019

Day 192

Noon Position: 18 29S  22 50W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxW 6

Wind(t/tws): ExN 15

Sea(t/ft): NE 4

Sky: Cumulus

10ths Cloud Cover: 2

Bar(mb): 1019, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 86

Water Temp(f): 83

Relative Humidity(%): 67

Sail: Working jib and main, close reaching on starboard

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 139

Miles since departure: 26,191

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

Leg North Days: 26

Leg North Miles: 3,241

Avg. Miles/Day: 125

Wind has stayed blessedly consistent the last 24 hours and the sky clear. On a 12 – 15 knot northeasterly we’ve made good time.

As I type, it’s approximately 1,000 miles to the line (the equator). Now the question of how we handle the approaching doldrums comes to the fore.

Conventional wisdom has it that a sailing vessel should stay to the west of that belt of calms, and a daily examination of weather at the ITCZ these last weeks shows that to be good advice. Calms there are, but toward the South American coast there is often a light wind bridging the southeast and northeast trades.

Of course, once through the ITCZ, winds come on strong and makes the entire run of coast to the west a lee shore, so don’t cut the cape too fine. Currently we’re edging slowly west and toward a waypoint about 400 miles east of the Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha at 4S and 32W.

I came on deck this morning to find clear evidence that the skipper has relaxed the footware policy for the crew. As is only right and just when the temperature rises from 45 to 85 degrees in three weeks.

Now that it has warmed up, my craving for calories has dropped way off. It used to be that my breakfast was a Clif Bar followed by a big bowl of muesli, and often I’d continue scrounging after that.

This morning, I had the requisite Clif Bar and forgot to eat the Muesli until noon.

No birds again. Only the occasional flying fish. Strikingly lonely here.

Mo spends plenty of time heeled to 20 degrees and pounding, which can be an uncomfortable ride after a time. But I am pleased to report I found a lovely napping position in the cockpit.

3 Comments on “Thoughts on the Approaching Doldrums

  1. I’m totally stealing your napping location idea. Fair winds Randall! So very much enjoying following your progress!

  2. Yo….Hang in there. We are all on the edge of our seats.

  3. ITCZ??? What’s that?
    Enjoy the warm weather and gentle sailing while you can!
    I hear the change (reduction) in ice is dramatic from just a year prior. I wonder what you’ll find?

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