Wednesday, 2 March 2016

St Helena Outbound Day 9

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 10 50S 021 10W, saillng at 5.5 knots on a course of 290M. The wind is ESE at 20-25 knots with a 2m SE sea and a 1.5m S swell.  We are sailing under double-reefed main and single-furled yankee.  Sunny with scattered small cumulus (again).  Our day's run was 138nm, our DMG was 111nm and we have 2940nm to go.

Rain shower passing by (Monday afternoon)

Following our first week's disappointing stats, particularly our speed down the course (VMG), we did some thinking.  We recalled our sail from the Wessel Islands off the Northern Territory of Australia to Darwin in 2011.  We had dead-running conditions there too and tried out a "trade wind rig" using only our No 1 Genoa.  This worked very nicely for us at the time.  FSC member Jim P also made us think about this in an email yesterday.

So yesterday afternoon we decided to try running more broadly downwind under our yankee with the main double-reefed (= trisail size) and hauled in tight amidships.  With the 18-22 knot wind the boat slowed by a knot or so.  Unfortunately the motion was more rolly which wasn't fun.  But our VMG was clearly better so we stuck with it.

We broad-reached in this manner all night and the motion didn't improve, but we like the faster progress towards those Caribbean rum punches.  Zigzagging all over the ocean was probably the best approach when winds were less than 15 knots but now our new cruisy approach is clearly the go.  Our gybing angles will be reduced from 80-90 degress to 50-60 degrees, perhaps even less.  We hope Jim is suitably chuffed!

Cruisy Broad-Reaching Rig

Our DMG (distance made good) from noon yesterday to noon today was the second best yet for this passage, and we weren't in the new mode for the entire 24 hours.  Here's hoping the wind holds in and we get a "record" tomorrow.

Last night was spectacular yet again.  The half moon really sets off the two types of night skies well.  First half with no moon and gazillons of stars.  Second half with bright moonlight and only limited stars.  It is also amazing how much the times of sunset and sunrise move as one travels west (or east).  We'll be in yet another time zone soon!

Trust all's well where you are.

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