Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Passage to Tahiti: day 16

2016-05-14 10:00PM UTC, 35°34'S 157°59'W # noon
2016-05-15 10:00PM UTC, 34°56'S 155°36'W # noon
2016-05-16 10:00PM UTC, 33°47'S 153°56'W # noon
2016-05-17 7:00PM UTC, 33°53'S 152°00'W

Yesterday's noon to noon run was: 107nm, for the 15th it was 123nm, the 14th was 149nm.

One of the things that you try to plan around when heading East from New Zealand is the position of the high pressure systems. In the southern hemisphere, highs circulate counter-clockwise. If you are heading east, you would like wind from the North, West or South, not coming from the direction you are going. In order to achieve this, you need to be below the high pressure systems, as that is where the west wind is. However, there is actually not that much control we have over this as high pressure systems can be large enough that being south of them would not be practical. Also, generally the later in the season you wait the more northerly the highs migrate.

The normal pattern is also that there is a low which follows the high, and the low is followed by another high.

I have had some good luck with this passage and have been riding to the south of a high for the last little while, with wind behind me, generally making good progress. The high has now pretty much moved to my east and the low that follows is approaching. The pressure where I am as fallen from 1021 to 1012 currently. Highs are generally warm with blue skies, lows are generally colder with heavy cloud - I have that now as well.

The weather forecast shows my having north winds where I am, however I am experiencing NE wind, which is moving me well to the east but also a little to the south. As the low moves over me, the winds will back around and come from the N, the NW, W, SW, S, etc. I hope that the winds will start backing tomorrow, which will allow me to make progress north again.

The passage will be a little more work for the next week or more than it has been, but I have been waiting for a break in the beautiful sailing I have had - it lasted much longer than I had any expectation for.

All is well here.

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