Friday, 4 March 2016

St Helena Outbound Day 11

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 09 44S 024 26W, saillng at 5 knots on a course of 300M. The wind is ESE at 14-16 knots with a 2m SE sea and a 1.5m S swell.  We are sailing under double-reefed main and full yankee.  Scattered small cumulus clouds.  Our day's run was 126nm, our DMG was 99nm and we have 2739nm to go.

Sunrise this morning

Winds have been quiet consistent for the last 24 hours, varying only from 10-16 knots in strength and perhaps 10 degrees in direction.  The sea state has been surprisingly variable so we wonder if there are current eddies about which are alternately smoothing and roughening the seas.  Regardless, we're just letting the boat do the talking (walking?  sailing!) while we read our books, study Winlink/Go! interfacing, watch movies and err… keep a lookout!!!

Several people have contacted us to ask why we don't pole out the yankee to run deeper downwind.  That's easy to answer - we don't have a pole!  I think I've mentioned it in the past but the story is worth repeating.  When we converted Zen Again from a sloop to a cutter rig we needed a halyard for the staysail.  The pole topping lift was ideally located so that's what we used.  Without a topping lift we considered whether we wanted to keep the pole.  My feeling is that manoeuvring spinnaker poles around the foredeck on a small yacht in blue water is one of the most hazardous jobs aboard.  So we decided to get rid of it.  We don't feel its loss generally.  It's only long dead-downwind passages where its absence may slow us down a little.

Yesterday afternoon we wound our clocks back again to UTC-2.  That earned us another weak rum punch to celebrate crossing 22.5 degrees west.  It also moved the morning and evening radio nets (which are fixed to UTC times) to nicer boat times.

For those interested in our Winlink RMS Express to Iridium Go! interfacing problem we now have a pretty good idea of its cause.  We are running RMS Express on Windows in a Parallels virtual machine on our Macbook.  We bridge the Mac's WiFI interface to Windows but Parallels sets it up as an ethernet interface.  The interface works perfectly but RMS Express looks for a WiFi interface and can't find one.  In all other respects RMS Express works perfectly with Parallels so we hope Winlink will address the issue.

Yesterday evening 14 yachts reported in on 6224kHz at 1900utc.  Everyone seems to be enjoying the great sailing conditions.  One boat further ahead suffered slight mainsail damage yesterday but had it fixed within the day.  Another boat has engine problems so is diverting to a port in Brazil to see to it.  We're all preparing ourselves for the ITCZ where we expect calms, sudden squalls and occasional heavy rain. That's still several days away for us but with the main already double-reefed we're well prepared!

Trust all's well where you are.

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