2016-05-30 10:00PM UTC, 13°34'S 143°38'W # noon
2016-05-31 10:04PM UTC, 12°05'S 144°00'W # noon
2016-06-01 10:00PM UTC, 10°49'S 143°40'W # noon
2016-06-02 10:00PM UTC, 09°35'S 143°35'W # noon
2016-06-03 10:00PM UTC, 08°22'S 143°52'W # noon
2016-06-04 1:02AM UTC, 08°14'S 143°53'W
Sea temperature: 86deg
My noon to noon runs for the previous five days, working backwards, have been: 75nm, 74nm, 79nm, 91nm, 80nm. The wind has been rather light and squally...
This is part of the passage is shaping up to be a very frustrating. Not quite there yet, but the frustration potential is pretty high.
Today has been pretty typical. Starting last night, I was in 'squall alley', with huge squalls to each side of me, reefed down, doing 3kts generally N or NNW with the wind 6-8. The squalls managed to not hit me, but by 10:30pm I was drifting, with no wind - no moon, quite dark. By just after midnight I had 9 knots of apparent wind and I was going N, trying not to lose any more of my easting. I ran slowly all night between 3 and 4 knots. At 8:30am a massive squall was bearing down on me, so I reefed to M2SG2 and 10min later my apparent wind went from 8 to 24 in about 30 seconds. That lasted for about 1/2 hour and I was luckily traveling north, where I wanted to go. Toward the end of the squall, it started raining, which was nice. By 9:20 there was a dead calm and I reduced sail. I drifted until 10:25 when the wind started to pickup again and I started to sail again.
The same again happened at 11:20am, although no rain this time.
At 2pm a squall just missed me. I was sailing in 5-7 knots, when 1/2 hour after the squall had passed on the wind suddenly picked up to 10-12. Yay! I said to myself. The GFS forecast was forecasting 10.5 knots where I was, the whole area to my east was free of squalls and I thought this was the real wind appearing. 1/2 hour later it faded to 4-5 and by 2:45pm I was drifting again. Just now, 3:30pm, some wind arrived and I'm sailing at 3 knots again, NNW.
The forecast is for increasing winds overnight, from 10 to 11. I'll believe it when I see it.
At some point over the past five days I've spend at least a few hours drifting, otherwise sailing slowly, generally between 3 and 4.
I updated my forecast a little while ago, its a bit of a mess. If I could park and start this trip again in around two weeks that might be a good idea. There are sailable winds forecast until monday afternoon when it goes to 5.5 kts. Then it turns light SE until wednesday. If I make fast enough progress to be across the equator by then, I'll have south winds of around 6 knots (traveling N in that wind? not so easy...) and those south winds last through the forecast.
The big feature I need to get past is the ITCZ, inter-tropical convergence zone. Depending on the winds, above and below the ITCZ, the convergence is weaker or stronger. I'm seeing NE winds above the ITCZ and south winds below - this must be setting up a massive convergence. Think lots of rain, tons of squalls, fickle winds for that whole period. Hopefully once I get above it the wind will become more typical and be a little trade-windy.
Its frustrating, but all well onboard.
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