Monday, July 29, 2013

Gambier to Marquesas - Day 2: Sun!

Time: 0110UTC, COG 350T, SOG 4.5kts, Distance Remaining: 520nm

On Sunday morning, the wind still came out of the Southwest. Being off
course by more than 50° and having strayed 70 miles from our plotted route
(What's an extra day at sea?), it was time to head up a bit. We pointed
Irie's bow due north, still off course, but doing better. Now we were on a
straight shot to the equator, doing around 6 knots in 13 knots of wind. We
would turn off well before it, though, nudging our way left as we progressed
and the wind would clock towards the east (anti-clockwise in the Southern
hemisphere). The waves were benign, so having them come from the side did
not bother us at this point.

The sky slowly turned blue in some places and the sun decided to join us for
a few hours. What a treat! It was still chilly, but I strapped myself on
deck to let my face soak up all the rays and warmth it could. It was a dry
and pleasant ride. We dodged a few squalls, listened to music and took some

Good times never last. When the sun set behind a curtain of rain in the
western distance, Irie entered the "grey zone", a local weather system not
mentioned in any forecasts. A massive dark cloud engulfed us. There was no
escape! It stayed dry, but the wind died. Then, it turned northwest, the
direction we needed to go. Since we really did not want to sail more east -
as it was, we already managed to reach the eastern edge of our weather
forecast zone - we trimmed the sails and hoped for the best. The area of
messed up winds was huge and after an hour of unsuccessfully trying to keep
the sails full and make some progress, Mark turned the engines on to get
through the thing. It was an annoying shift for him and one with little
sleep for me.

After four and a half hours of motoring, the sky cleared up some and the
wind moved to the south. We turned more left, kept the sails relatively
full, the boat relatively flat and used the easting we had done before to
head a bit off course the other way. The wind frequently dropped below 10
knots from behind and at 4-5 knots, we steadily and smoothly sailed towards
another day of - hopefully - abundant sunshine!

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