Westing, Always Westing

October 20, 2018

Day 16

Noon Position: 07 02N 130 42W

Course/Speed: E 5

Wind: S 12

Sea: S 3

Sky: Squalls of rain

10ths Cloud Cover: 5

Bar: 1012+, falling

Cabin Degrees Fahrenheit: 88 (got up to 91 at one point)

Water Degrees Fahrenheit: 83

Percent Relative Humidity: 74

Sail: Big genoa and main, full, close reach.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 77

Miles since departure: 2121

Avg. Miles/Day: 133

According to my log from the first Figure 8 attempt, it took 18 days of sailing to get to yesterday’s rough latitude of 7 30N. It took only 15 days this time around. However, we are 7 degrees, about 417 miles, further west of last year’s position of 122 40W. Getting around hurricane Sergio had a cost.

With that in mind, I’ve been looking for opportunities to grab back some easting. I thought I had one this moring. Wind had slowly backed to just W of S and then suddenly went SW. I put Mo about and we took off SE. A straight shot to the Horn. Woohoo!

Then the wind shifted and our course was ESE, then ExS, then E; then a touch N of E. I waited. Our course rose. Then the wind died. Rain.

So much rain I could fill my water bottle from the sail cover spigot as if filling from one of those vending machines at the airport. Then I washed head. Still it rained. So I took a full shower under the spigot. Still it rained.

We drifted for a couple of hours. Then the wind went back to its now usual direction, SSE. So, off we go making more westing.

I’m not good enough with navigational triangles to know how much it will really matter. Cape Horn is still at least 5,000 miles off. Imagine a line from 7 30N 130W to the Horn and one from 7 30N 122W to the Horn. Is there enough of a difference to sneeze at? It’s not like I’m trying to get to a wedding.

The question is how much further west will we go? Last year we were headed due south by 129W. This year the SE trades look decidedly less helpful to sailors wishing to point their boats poleward.

I’ve re-rigged Monte’s control line, brining it into the cockpit where I can reach it and make course adjustments without departing the protection of the pilot house. For years, the line has been attached to the stansions, outboard of everything, necessitating one climb fully out of the pilot house and nearly the cockpit to pull the line. Nothing wrong with that, as several circumnavigations will attest. But the convenience of being able to make course adjustments in really foul, wet weather without having to get suited up or risk a drenching … I look forward to it.

Last of the bananas, now rotten, over the side. I’d intended to take two large green bunches. Somehow, I ended up with three. I just couldn’t keep up.

3 Comments on “Westing, Always Westing

  1. Now that the banannas are off the boat, wind, course and speed will improve! It’s writ clear in the clouds.

  2. Randall,
    You’re race against your own track from last year reminds me of Moitessier in The Long Way tracking Joshua against Joshua, comparing his Golden Globe route to his Tahiti-Alicante passage. Good company to keep.

    Are there any plans to send video? Those were much enjoyed last year.

    Good luck with the Easting!

  3. Yes, waiting for some video… Now that the bananas are gone, maybe you’ll get that wind to the cape!

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