Try Something Different


Sept 15
Hanalei Bay to San Francisco
Day 5

Noon HST position: 32.25.71N by 158.58.93W
Miles since last noon: 128
Total miles of passage: 652
Avg. Miles per Day: 130
Course: NNE, now N
Sail: Broad to beam reach, now starboard quarter; Flying all three sails.
Speed: 2 to 6
Wind: ESE to 16, then SE5-10
Sky: Mostly clear; rare, small cumulus
Waves: Mixed to 3 feet
Bar: 1016
Air Temperature: 89 degrees
Sea Temperature: 77 degrees

First Albatross sightings. Two big Blackfooted Albatross, one flying–lots of flapping in these light breezes and small waves–and one squat in the water awaiting more opportune conditions. A beautiful, clear, still day, to which the Alby says, “Can you believe this crap weather?”

Also, several Sooty Tern sightings. At distance their flocks are sprays of small insects jerking and diving, and in company are a Frigate bird or two eager to collect their tax. Today, additional large splashes at water top suggested Dorado were busy from underneath.

Haven’t caught any fish since the Dorado. Actually won’t try until I’ve finished the two already aboard.

Wind rose with the afternoon again. Not before this trip have I noticed a diurnal quality to ocean winds.

Yesterday, for example:

0700 SE7
1000 ESE8
Noon ESE11
1600 ESE16
1900 same
2200 ESE11
0700 SE6

Mo and I rode NNE most of yesterday and overnight in order to escape an area of really light wind right on the 160W line. In the afternoon and until about moonset, we slicked up the sea-top beautifully. But the moon took our breeze with it, and by 5am we were ghosting NE and then E.

At dawn I turned Mo N as there’s really no point to any more easting at this low latitude.

All morning we barely made steerage before a light SE breeze that wouldn’t commit to blowing as had its cousins of yesterdays. Even now (2pm) we barely have 10 knots true on starboard quarter.

But am I ever using those 10 knots. I’m flying everything.

In really light wind on the quarter, it’s tough to get more than one working sail of a sloop (main or jib) to draw. Either the main catches the breeze and blankets the jib or one douses the main and just flies the jib.

Not me!

At about 10am, employing usual tactics, I polled out the big jenny to port and dropped the main. No go. Not even enough wind to hold the dear out.

Back up went the main, but I left the big jenny poled so at least it was still.

Then I poled out the smaller jib to starboard, but swung it way out so it would fill with the wind from starboard quarter. Then I snugged in on the main sheet until the main boom was positioned more for a broad reach, the idea being that it would spill its minimal breeze forward and into the two headsails.

I’m not entirely sure this is what Mr. Solent intended for his rig, but we are moving briskly, and what’s more, a) the sails slat hardly at all, and b) the main kept on such a short lead disallows rolling.

And it looks good, dammit! (Note: Personal observation which might be contested by others.)

Mo and I are still aiming for that flow of SW winds at around 35N, but forecasts show the flow being erased by this weekend when a massive high moves in under the Aleutians.

So, we may have persisted our way into a big puddle of nothing.

As N is the only direction that makes sense, I’ve decided not to worry about it for now.


Running before a light breeze is hot work at this latitude. Not even a nap is relaxing.



The last five slices of bread didn’t make it. Gifted to the ocean.

3 Comments on “Try Something Different

  1. Fascinating. Can you really use the main in light air to feed breeze to twin jibs? Very clever.

    • Seemed to work. Of course in really light stuff aerodynamics goes out the window in favor of putting anything up there that might catch at least some breeze.

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