Saturday, July 23, 2016

Passage to Neah Bay: day 20

2016-07-20 7:00PM UTC, 47°31'N 142°55'W # noon
2016-07-21 7:00PM UTC, 47°31'N 141°08'W # noon
2016-07-22 3:50PM UTC, 48°29'N 140°17'W # jibed to wing and wing
2016-07-22 7:00PM UTC, 48°27'N 139°51'W # noon
2016-07-23 7:00PM UTC, 48°31'N 136°16'W # noon

Sea temperature: 55.3deg
Barometric pressure: 1022

In my last post I mentioned that the wind was starting to fall, and that I expected a light patch to follow - which is exactly what happened. I sailed in falling wind for the remainder of day 16, through day 17 and at 1:20 on day 18, July 21, the wind had fallen to the point where I was not making any progress. The seas had been falling through this period as well, so I was actually able to sail slowly in very light wind, but when I noticed the boat speed had fallen to 0.5 knots after a sleep cycle, I lowered the sails which were hanging limp.

At 4:15am a light N wind arrived and I raised sail and started sailing in it. At 5:10am the wind had faded and I lowered the sails. At 7:15am I raised them, lowered them at 8:05am, raised them at 8:40am, lowered them at 10:10am, raised them at 12:45pm, lowered them at 1:15pm. At 4pm I raised them again, and this time the wind held and I was sailing NE in 7kts of wind at 3.5 to 4kts boat speed.

The only real angle I had in this wind was NE or SE, and so I chose to sail NE and did this overnight. By 8:50 the next morning, day 19, I jibed to wing and wing and started heading almost directly East. I am still sailing wing and wing and making good progress.

The forecast shows the wind slowly fading for me until I reach around 130W, which is the start of a stronger band of wind which ends at around 125W. My next little goal is to approach 130W before a ridge of high pressure builds between me and 130W. If I can travel at an average of around 5.5kts, I am hoping to beat the formation of the ridge and sail straight into the stronger wind band. If the falling wind over the next few days slows me too much, then I'll enter the newly formed ridge and slow even further.

Once I'm either past the newly formed ridge or into the stronger winds, I'll need to jibe again, get back onto port tack and sail through the 15kt to 25kt wind and into Neah Bay - those are the forecast winds, I'm expecting them to be a little higher in reality.

I have something like 420nm to go, which at an average speed of 5.5kts is 3.2 more days. I have no real idea what my average speed is going to be over the next two days, it depends entirely on how fast and far the wind falls from its present conditions.

I'm looking forward to arriving, heading over to the anchorage that I've used a number of times before, and dropping the hook and resting easy for a few days. I hope the Pizza place I remember is still there...

All is well onboard.

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