Friday, July 15, 2016

Passage to Neah Bay: day 12

2016-07-12 7:00PM UTC, 40°31'N 162°26'W # noon
2016-07-13 7:00PM UTC, 41°32'N 159°54'W # noon
2016-07-14 7:00PM UTC, 42°47'N 158°37'W # noon
2016-07-15 7:00PM UTC, 44°21'N 156°46'W # noon

Sea temperature: 57.2deg
Barometric pressure: 1028 (center high pressure 1036)

I've started to relax into this passage. After starting, there was a period of initial shock for me to be back at sea, on passage, yet again. It took until around day 9 for me to relax into the passage - normally the initial adjustment period is only a day or two.

I closed my last blog post by mentioning how far there was to go and how long it might take if I average 5 knots, and then mentioned that I was hoping to move faster than 5 knots on some of the remaining days. I should have mentioned that I also expected to move slower than 5 knots from time to time as well.

By 9:30pm on day 8, the day I last posted, the wind had fallen to 5 knots and the boat speed was less than 2. There are times when this is just fine. If the seas are calm Luckess will happily sail for days in such wind, maintaining steerage, making slow progress. However this was not the case, the seas were not calm and the sails were not happy - as the boat rolled back and forth the sails would slat and bang back and forth. As this light wind was exactly what the forecast said would happen I didn't let this go on very long before reducing sail and starting to wait it out. By 2:30am the next morning a light wind, 7-8kts, had filled in, which I noticed after one of my one hour sleep cycles. I raised the sails and started sailing slowly again - then went back to sleep. At 3:30am the wind was back to 4kts and the sails were not happy again, so I reduced sail and started to drift again. By 6:15am the wind had returned in the direction I expected, I jibed and started sailing. The situation was that I was initially approaching the high, with the wind on my starboard side, and then the high moved away and a low from the NW came down and I rode its southern edge for a while, the jibe was my transitioning from moving toward the high to moving away from it. It makes sense if you draw a picture...I hope.

This was around the time I started to relax into the passage. The morning was colder, cloudy and a little rainy, but the cloud was patchy - some blue sky, some dark cloud, some light puffy clouds with the sun rays shining through and lighting up patches of the ocean - it looked quite majestic and amazing. I keep seeing different but quite beautiful sea/cloud/sky-scapes, each day.

By the next day, July 13th, at 11:30pm I lost the wind again, and again, this was perfectly forecast by the GFS weather model. As the low moved out of the area it left behind a little light wind chaos as often happens behind a low (or a front.) The next low was scheduled to appear around the afternoon of the 15th, with a light wind filling in before it arrived. This also happened exactly as forecast. By 12:40am on the 14th a little wind from the original direction that had fallen earlier returned, and I rode it for 1/2 hour before lowering my sails again. By 4:30am more wind had arrived, from the proper direction, I again jibed and started sailing - and still am.

The next weather feature I will encounter is the high itself. I'm currently sailing at a heading of around 40-50deg, beam reach, starboard side, in 18-20 knots of wind, with a fully reefed main, staysail and a little bit of genoa, doing between 6.5 and 7 knots. I had more genoa out earlier and was going 7-7.5 knots, but the present speed is just fine and its easier on me as well as the sails/rig/lines/etc. I have learned that, almost every single time that I report the current conditions in a blog report, that shortly after doing so the conditions will change...

I've had my first fog of the trip. Last night, after a beautiful and warm (relatively speaking) afternoon, the sun set and the blue sky started to almost immediately develop a low layer of what looked like cloud. As the sunset turned to dusk the cloud started to descend and by dark there was a heavy dense fog from horizon to horizon. It was pretty amazing watching it happen - I could look around in a 360 degree circle watching the cloud approach the horizon until it touched and I had fog. That lasted all night and into morning, when the sun has again come out making this afternoon another of long series of (patchy) blue sky afternoons. Energy has not been a problem at all on this trip - my battery bank has been fully charged at some point during the day, every day since leaving Hawaii.

I've currently sailed 1510nm with approximately 1350nm to go - so I'm over half way there now. Yay! It looks like am going to have two days of good sailing, perhaps 36 hours of lighter stuff with the possibility of a little drifting as I hit the top of the high, depending on how close I end up to it, and then a few days of good sailing again. At that point the projected icon for Luckness in LuckGrib falls off my last weather forecast, both off its Eastern edge and at the extreme of its time. I'll download new weather as this blog report goes out and try to get a view of what I might encounter beyond my last forecast region and Neah Bay.

Not wanting to leave the blog post solely to sailing and weather topics - I've added a new food to my diet, a cold weather food. Before leaving Hawaii I bought a few loaves of Oroweat, a long life bread that seems to last forever, and I am now enjoying some cheese on toast everyday - yum! So tasty. The cheese is from NZ, a 2 year old Tasty cheddar. Actually, its name is Tasty Cheese, with Tasty being a category just like Edam, Brie, Blue, etc. When you shop for cheese in NZ, you can buy some Tasty, or something else, which made my decisions pretty easy. If you know Tillamook 2 year white vintage cheddar, that's very close. The Cheese on Toast is toasted under the grill in my oven, which is perfect for both toasting the bread as well as getting a good bubble going with the cheese. Of course just after pulling it out of the oven I shake a little Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce on top, doing that immediately so that the sauce soaks into the cheese. Oh, so good! Feel free to 'sail along with Craig' by having a little cheese on toast yourselves.

All is well onboard.

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