Monday, 14 March 2016

Caribbean Inbound Day 21

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 01 18S 040 27W, saillng at 6 knots on a course of 320M.  Our ground speed is 6.5-7.5 knots.  The wind is NE at 15-18 knots with a 1m sea and 1m N swell.  We are sailing under single-reefed main and double-furled yankee.  Broken alto-cumulus with scattered small cumulus.  Our day's run was 124nm, our DMG was 140nm and we have 1674nm to go.

The best thing about the above is that we are no longer broad-reaching.  The wind is on the beam.  Huzzah!  That doesn't mean we're through the ITCZ but it's nice to no longer need to zigzag down the course.  And we have enough wind to get the boat moving well.  And we have current with us.  Tis a marvel.  The winds "should" stay roughly NE all the way to the Caribbean.  The cloud is stopping the oppressive heat we've had for the last few days so that's good too.

We have completed our third week at sea so here are some stats.  First our speed plot for the passage to date.  Note that this shows ground speed, not velocity made good (VMG).

Zen Again Speed Over Ground - Passage To Date

And here are the stats:
  • Log Distance = 2689nm
  • Average Boat Speed = 5.3knots
  • Distance Made Good = 2226nm
  • Average VMG = 4.4knots
  • Engine Hours = 24 hours charging (5%) & 5 hours motoring (1%)

Yesterday afternoon winds lightened gradually until at 1700 we motored for the first time on the passage.  Winds were down to 4-6 knots and boat speed was down into the 2 knot range under sail.  We motored for 5 hours which gave the batteries a good charge.  At 2100 a nice 8-10 knots breeze appeared and we shut down the engine.  The wind gradually backed from ENE to NNE overnight, initially giving us several hours of close reaching.  After dawn it veered NE giving us a beam reach.

We are heading a little inshore to get back into the best current.  While broad reaching we were being forced offshore but can now head back in.  There's a nice patch of 3 knot current begging to be ridden ahead!  Finding the current seems to be a bit hit & miss.  Some boats report not finding the current and declare the GRIBs rubbish.  Others had ridden the current all the way.  I suspect the strong current is narrower than the GRIBs show.

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