10 April 2012 12:49:00 PM AEST

Uncategorized Send feedback »

.
.
.

It's kind of hard to find something to write about, when day after day, I am stuck in a windless ocean.
I gave up sitting east of the Marquesas, and motored for a day, just to get past them., using up about a third of my fuel. I can't do that again. After getting through, I had to swing to the SSW to use the available bit of breeze. Unfortunately, the only course I could get any push from the breeze, is aimed straight at Tahiti, about 580 miles away, and on this course, I would have to go through the Tuamotas, a long series of low islands and reefs, and only a few safe passages through to the Society Islands, and Tahiti. I certainly do not want to have to navigate through the reefs and small islands, but I need to get south at least to 15 degrees, just north of Papeete where the guide books claim the south east trades really exist. In order to make miles westing, last night I had to point northwest, using the light breeze. By sunup, I had made 23 miles west, but had to go back north ten miles to achieve that. Now I am pointed SSW again, but there are no winds. I guess that once there were winds in this part of the ocean, but not now, so sooner or later they will return. The question is, can I last that long, waiting for the wind to come back? I make about 1 mile an hour, with the current, and a tiny occasional waft of wind, hardly enough to cool me at all. Just sitting here, drifting, it is HOT. I seek out every little bit of shade. I need to wear a t-shirt to protect my shoulders, but I can only do that for a short period, it is just too sweaty. What closes I wear, when I wear them, soon get sweaty and smelly. I reckon I must have a world class pong right now, even though I get a bucket and slosh sea water all over myself it doesn't seem to freshen me for more than a few minutes. Yesterday we made about 3 knots in the light breeze, but today even that is gone.
Night times are the best, the billions of stars, the big yellow moon, and the cooler evenings when I can sleep in the open are very peaceful and serene. I go through moods. When I get overcome by the frustration of drifting, not making any mileage, and wondering how much longer this is going to go on, I get pretty down. Then I say what the hell, I'll get there when I get there. The winds have to come sometime, and then I will sail. It just astounds me that so much ocean can be windless. This makes nineteen days, without seeing ten knot winds for more than an hour or so. The best I get is 5 knots wind, which gives us 3 to 4 knots speed. If it would just go to ten knots, we would really move again. It could take a week to get down to 15 degrees, where the books say Tahiti has south east winds at this time of year. Once I hit a ten knot SE wind, I can go at 5 to 6 knots to the west. The fantasy of getting south of the equator and getting weeks of great sailing sure is a myth to me. Just like all the grib wind forecasts I get. They specify exactly..for the whole area.. for example, 8.8 knots of wind from 77 degrees at a certain time. B.S. Maybe 2 knots from 135 degrees.
It is getting harder to get a radio connection each day for email and weather info. Sometimes I try half a day before getting connected. Conditions are not right during the day, and are only good for some hours at night. Very frustrating, the whole lot. But I am here, and not there, so I will have to suffer it though until something happens. The next waypoint for me is being half way to Oz. It woould only take a couple of days good sailing, and I would be half way.

7 April 2012 2:42:00 PM AEST

Uncategorized Send feedback »

.
.
.
Thursday March 22nd, it starts at 4 degrees north when I am becalmed.
15 days later April 6, I am at 8 degrees south,with no wind.
It continues without end. And when there is no wind, it is HOT!

6 April 2012 11:50:00 AM AEST

Uncategorized Send feedback »

.
.
.

Well the gribs have got it wrong again. First, yesterday it showed almost NO wind in this area over 4 days. Then a whiff of breeze from the north came up, and we headed west at 4 knots. This lasted all night, giving a daily total of 87 miles. Big deal. After sunrise the wind shifted more to the east, so I had to keep turning to the northwest to keep the sails from luffing. Eventually I decided that going north towards the equator was not what I wanted to do, even if I was making 3 or 4 knots, so I swung to go south west, with the winds behind me, the genoa poled out and the main hard over to starboard. For a while we moved at between 3 and 4 knots, heading about 220. I am about 85 miles from the major northern islands in the Marquesas, so I have no choice now but to sail through the island group, I can't stay to the north anymore.
And of course, the winds died in late morning. So here we drift, making about a knot, the sails snapping back and forth as if there were wind, and it is HOT. For want of something to take my mind off of the frustrating bobbing about, watching a few bubbles slowly move along, I baked a loaf of bread, and am now waiting for it to finish and cool, so I can at least have a couple of slices of fresh bread slathered with Mexican butter (a bit of a strong taste to it), and maybe some strawberry jam.
We are over 8 degrees south and 137 west, and there is no wind. Nearly 500 miles south of the equator, and still no sign of the fabled southeast trades. A whiff of air from the north yet! Who would have thought there would be wind from the north this far south? I think that what has happened, is that the southeast trades have been canceled for this year, and someone forgot to tell me. If so, I want my money back. This is ridiculous. Sitting bobbing about in a rippling sea, hardly a swell, rarely enough movement of air to cool your neck, and no idea of how long this is going to continue. Today's gribs showed winds from the NE and ENE of 8.8 knots. Damn, I would love to have winds of 8.8 knots. The last time I felt 8 knots of wind, it felt like a hurricane. We got moving at 5 knots for a half hour or so before that too died.
It is hard to convey the sense of frustration and desperation that overwhelms a person in this situation, without using a lot of curse words. I am absolutely amazed to find this happening. 500 miles south, where the trades should be strong and steady, and nothing. They call this the milk run, supposedly a nice easy peaceful, no work type of sailing voyage, but it is more as if we were back 60 years ago, behind a milk wagon with a horse that was nearly dead and can hardly walk. What to write about when you are sitting alone, waiting for the wind? Winds. Where in hell are you?

5 April 2012 11:38:00 AM AEST

Uncategorized Send feedback »

.
.
.

In the 18 hours since 3 pm yesterday afternoon, to now, at nine in the morning, we have made a magnificent total of
3 miles. At 3, the winds just died. After listening to the sails snap for two hours, I finally decided to haul down all the canvas, and just drift. The evening was hot, and I thought sleeping in the fresh air of the cockpit was a good idea, so I bedded down on the cushions and went to sleep. About 11 the first rain drops woke me, and I zippered down all the side flaps. The second rain cloud really poured it on, and I had to retreat down below and close the hatch. During the night, there were several more rain bursts, none of which provided any winds to even think about sailing. Around five a.m., I was up in the cockpit and was impressed to see some magnificent lightning to the north. Counting the time between flash and thunder at 23 seconds, I concluded that it was far enough away to not worry about it.
After breaky, at nine, I got the gribs for the area 7 to 9 south and 135 to 137 west, which includes the northern islands of the Marquesas group. These showed that for the next four days, forecasts were for no wind over 3.8 knots, and on the southern end of the block, winds from nowhere and everywhere at no speed. I am not in purgatory. I am in hell. I have died and gone to hell. Hell is sitting on a boundless ocean with no wind. At nine a.m. the seas are like a mirror, not a ripple of wind waves. The prospect of sitting here for another four days finally got the best of me, and I started motoring west. Anything was better than sitting still on a placid lake. After two hours, the flags indicated a wind from the north, so I stopped, headed to wind, and raised the main, pulled out the genoa and the jib, and swung west. We poked along at 3 to 4 knots, so I was happy with that. At least we were moving. At 3 p.m., we are still just poking along. Imagine. Winds from the North at nearly 8 degrees south, where you would expect the south east trades. All the jazz about the southeast tradewinds and never having to touch the sails for weeks as you sail along with steady strong winds looks to be a fantasy. I want my money back. There doesn't seem to be such a thing as a southeast trade. Even below 10 degrees south in the Marquesas, there is no wind. The pundit on the puddle jump recommended crossing the line at 125 west, catching strong winds about 5 south, and having a good ride. That may have worked the time he did it, and he was headed for the Marquesas, not Australia. I would have been better to have ridden the northeast trades past 140 west before crossing the line. I would have missed more than a week of the ITCZ moving up and down and now catching me at 8 south for another few days. I feel like I am on an endless windless voyage, fully expecting to catch up with vessels who have been here for two or three years, with ghost crews, or addelpated skippers who are so seriously mental as to not know where they are. I keep scanning the horizon looking for boats trapped in the ITCZ forever, like me. I am 150 miles from the nearest island in the Marquesas, and it seems like I am taking forever to get past the place. I could motor, but since I am getting 3 knots at the moment, the extra 2 knots that I would gain would cost me a dollar a mile
in fuel, fuel that I hate to use. It is hot, and I am sweaty. I crave having ice, so I cleared out the refrigerator ice chest, put in a tray of water, and turned it up to max. Now I sit and drink a gin tonic with ice., my first drink on the trip. The waft of a breeze from the north that is moving us along is just enough to feel refreshing, and I can feel my patience returning with every sip. Because I have not had alcohol for a long time, I can feel my cheeks flushing. I am happy. We are moving, who knows for how long, but it is mentally more acceptable than sitting looking at a placid mirror ocean, and imagining that you are being punished for a life of incompetence and error and ineptitude, and are doomed to be trapped forever in a world with nothing but water and clouds. Not even a contrail for a month to tell me that there is a world out there. I don't listen to radio, so I may have missed WW3 and the end of the world and not know it. The SeaFarer's Net has been hit by a wave of electrical storms the last few night so the reception is bad, and that is the only link I have with the real world, if it really exists. Other than the charts Clinton so regularly sends me, and those are mostly bad news. Oh well. I will get there some day. There will be winds. And I will sail at seven knots and make up all the time I have lost struggling through this wretched ITCZ. From 6 North to 8 south..it has been a mess, and doesn't look to get better. I still live in hope that once past 140, I will find 15 knot SE winds, and sail for 3000 miles without changing sails while I drink my gin tonics and think of what I am going to do after I get there. And the ice didn't last ten minutes. Cheers.

4 April 2012 12:06:00 PM AEST

Uncategorized Send feedback »

.
.
.
Today is another day in purgatory. The wretched ITCZ moved south faster than we could, and I have had a day of drifting, with the sails snapping as we roll, watching the bubbles slowly pass as we make a knot or two, directly south, as the wisp of breeze that does come, comes from the east. Clinton said the ITCZ moves back across the equator tomorrow. Hah. My luck is that the south east trades don't return for a week. After having a great day making up to 8 knots, and 135 miles, it sure is painful to be caught back in this dreadful zone. I am nearing 8 degrees south, surely enough to find some decent wind? Scuttlebutt says that by 5 degrees there will be winds. But here I am, hardly enough air movement to cool my forehead.
So here I sit, listening to music. I had Bobby Darin ballads on the stereo, and lay back with my eyes closed. For weeks I have checked every hour, and never seen a trace of another boat. But suddenly as I listen to the music, another throb comes to my ears. I look up to see a Korean fishing boat about a mile away, the sound of it's engine quite apparent. I raise them on channel 16, and in their limited English, they just tell me that they are going to 'the fishing grounds.' So I wish them luck and go back to my music.

Contact. ©2018 by andyaye. Social CMS software.
Design & icons by N.Design Studio. Skin by Tender Feelings / Evo Factory.