Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Friday, April 30, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 24 - Friday, April 30, 2010

UTC/Local -8: 0000/4:00 p.m.

Latitude: 02 01.731 S
Longitude: 131 43.645 W

Conditions: Picking up speed in sun filled days and moonlit nights.

1200 Zulu/4:00 a.m.: As we have dropped into 01 degree south, our southeast trades have filled in to 14, sometimes up to 18 knots. Our course over ground varies between 211 and 220 degrees southwest, boat speed now between 5-6 knots. Would be faster and more comfortable if we were not so close to the wind angle, but it is what it is. Our starboard rail is only a foot or so off the water and we are bracing our bodies at a 45 degree angle to port to stand upright. It's an exhilarating bound now!

1300 Zulu/5:00 a.m.: I started to get sleepy and decided it was time to get up from my seat, turn on my exercise music and do some exercise. I could just see the sky beginning to light up in the east. Unfortunately, my morning routine met with an accident. On one of my leg kicks, my foot struck the companion way threshold going from the pilot house down to the lower saloon, putting quite a gash under my two outside toes on my right foot. I think I may have dislocated the toes as well as they seemed to be pointing sideways. I didn't want to wake everyone up so I stifled the scream, stopped the bleeding, and sat in the captain's chair with my leg propped up across the steering station. Stupid. Stupid. I'd kick myself, but it would hurt too much.

1430 Zulu/6:30 a.m.: Garyn and Russ rolled out of bed. We took the morning readings for the net. Garyn checked the rigging and let out some of the jib that we had pulled in during the night. Russ got out the first aid kit, cleaned up my foot, disinfected the cut, put gauze between my toes and wrapped toes so they were at least pointing in the right direction. I've been keeping my foot elevated. It's a pretty good ouch. I'm glad I will have tonight off and keep the weight off my foot.

1600 Zulu/8:00 a.m.: All around our 360 degree view of sea and sky, clouds fringe the horizon. This morning they look a little closer and darker. Nothing shows on the gribs, but it looks like we could get some showers later today.

2200 Zulu/2:00 a.m.: We listened to Sea Wolf from breakfast to lunch. I drifted in and out of sleep. Sea Wolf is an interesting character study, but not exactly riveting. We all tried to stay as comfortable as possible as Worrall Wind continues to bound forward on a close reach through 6 foot wells about 9 seconds apart almost on our nose. With the swells 30 degrees off our forward reach, our speed has been slowed as we lunge through sending out a continuous white water wake on our starboard side. Russ is outside reading. Garyn is taking a nap. Me....foot up, reading and writing.

2400 Zulu/4:00 p.m. So far on day 24 since midnight we have traveled 73 miles. If we stay on this pace we should break 109 miles. We only have 630 miles to go (6-7 more days). We'll get there faster if the wind shifts a little more east and the sea swell lessens.

All is well....with the exception of some toes, on Worrall Wind

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 23 - April 29, 2010 We're in the South Pacific!

UTC/Local 21:12/13:12

Latitude: 00 23.885 S
Longitude: 130.36.684 W

After traveling 1,937 miles from Mexico and 750 miles from Hiva Oa, we crossed the equator this morning at 1155 Zulu and 0355 local time. Garyn was on watch, Russ and I were sleeping. About 15 minutes before reaching
the equator, we were awakened from our sleep with Michael Jackson's Thriller. We quickly got out of bed. The wind was blowing about 12 knots, we were traveling at 4:00 knots, with all of our sails (main, mizzen, cutter, and jib), on a close reach port tack. A south pacific breeze filled the cabin. The full moon was still high on our starboard side shining through the sails on to the foredeck and shimmering across the sea and illuminating the white foam on the leeward side as Worrall Wind cut through the 1 meter swells at the equator.

We captured the moment with a print screen of our navigation software. How sweet to see all zeroes in the latitude line. Earlier in the evening, we sacrificed Russ's silver locks to Neptune. Now it was time to give him a sip of Dom Perignon, Vintage 1990 champaign. We paid our ritual respects to the god of the sea with the first glass of the chilled bubbly. We each dipped our hands into the sea from the leeward side of the boat (foregoing the swim), licked the salt from our fingers and enjoyed the rest of the bottle with Neptune, sending the bottle to the bottom of the sea. We are sure it is in good company. It is a special memory we will have forever. And it was an excellent champaign. I guess now we are considered shellbacks. Not sure what that means exactly. Maybe somebody can look it up and let us know the origin of this word. Sounds like a sea turtle to us.

We stayed up until 5:00 a.m. enjoying the equatorial moon and dawn with Garyn. I went back to sleep until the morning net at 7:00 a.m. (1500 Zulu). Today, we are on a course of 200 degrees, still on a close reach. The wind has been constant but not strong. We hope it will pickup and shift around so that we can be on more of a beam and travel a little faster. We are getting anxious to reach land after 23 days at sea and probably another week. We are looking forward to our daughter-in-law Jessica joining us in the Marquesas. She will be flying into Atuona on Saturday, May 8.

We've been reading, listening to Sea Wolf, relaxing and adjusting to a port tack. We have decided that Worrall Wind is better suited for starboard tack. On that tack we are pushed back into the settee seats, the hot food on the stove is away from the cook, we're not falling off the toilet seat, and the shower drains like it is supposed to. On the port tack, it feels like an uphill walk to everything we need to do and our achilles tendons are getting constantly stretched as we cant forward.

It's 79 degrees this afternoon, very pleasant. We're just lopping along. It seems as if we may have a counter current to our direction as our speed over ground has dropped to under 4 knots. We may need to fire up Lehman and Ray here in a bit. But in the meantime this is pretty darn nice!

All is well on Worrall Wind

Just crossed the equator! Marquesas Bound.

We are Marquesas Bound (750 more miles!) and just crossed the equator! Go to WorrallWind.blogspot.com for details.

UTC 1155
Latitude: 00 00.000
Longitude: 130 15.364

Full moon, full sail on a close reach, 78 degrees, 96 percent humidity. We have clear sky, 11 knots of wind from the south east. boat speed of 4 knots. course over ground 219 degrees true in a 1 meter swell. The water is warm. We didn't go swimming but all stuck our hands in the water, licked the salt off our fingers, and enjoyed a 1990 vintage bottle of Dom Perignon Champaign. We gave Neptue a few drops and sank the bottle. It couldn't have been more perfect. I guess we are now officially shellbacks.

Russ, Roz, and Garyn aboard the sailing vessel Worrall Wind

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 22 - Wednesday, April 24, 2020

UTC/Local 22:42/14:42

Latitude: 00 33.9 N
Longitude: 129 33.7 W

Conditions:

Today is our 22nd day at sea. We are 52 miles from the equator (the distance from our home in Colfax to the California Department of Education in Sacramento- 1 hour by car in heavy traffic). It will still take us approximately 12 or more hours to reach the equator and no traffic with the exception of flying fish.

We are headed about 215 degrees but our course over ground due to sail slip and current is more like 235. Yesterday, I was one day ahead of myself in reporting a possible morning crossing of the equator. It's hard to keep the days straight particularly when I post in the evening it is already the next day UTC time. We will probably cross the equator just as Garyn and I are changing shifts. Given the time of our crossing, I doubt whether there will be any swimming. But we do have the wonderful bottle of champaign friend and colleague Irv Howard gave to me when I retired on ice and ready to go!

We are also just a little over 800 miles from Hiva Oa. By the time we reach the Marquesas we will need to turn the clock back another 1.5 hours. The Marquesans are kind of inbetween 1-2 hours so they are a half hour set back. We are currently on Alaska 129 longitude time. That's UTC time -8 hours.


Last night once the net was over, we motored all night. Garyn had early watch, Russ second watch, Roz no watch. When we reported to the Pacific Puddle Jump Net at 1500 UTC:, we were still motoring with the wind speed still under 10 knots on our nose. By 1600 UTC, one hour later the wind had shifted a little more to the southeast and filled into 14 knots. There was just enough encouragement for us to put out the jib and cutter. We turned off the motor and have been sailing since 8:00 a.m.with Hydie (hydrovane) at the helm. Lehman (engine) and Ray (auto pilot) are resting.


2255 UTC: We are traveling at 4.8 knots per hour. The wind has been fairly constant 14 knots. The seas have about a 1 meter swell and few white caps. It is 80 degrees out, surprisiingly. We thought it would be warmer. The sun is shining and Russ is grinning from ear to ear because with the sun shining on the solar panels and our water turbine spinning away, we are at 100% battery capacity with amp generation and use, balanced at zero. We just finished listening to Treasure Island. While the engine is on, it is too noisey to listen. Listening to audio books is best done under sail when the only sound is the water swishing past the hull. Our next book is going to be Sea Wolf by Jack London.

0246 UTC April 29, 2010
Russ just got a buzz cut in anticipation of going across the equator tomorrow in the early hours of the morning. He looks really good, 10 years younger. He was beginning to look like the Old Man of the Sea. The sailing conditions today have been absolutely delightful. The sun just set. I'm off to take a nap before my 8:00 p.m. watch.

All is well on Worrall Wind

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 21 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

UTC/Local: 20:06/13:07
Latitude: 02 26 401 N
Longitude: 128 26. 613 W

Conditions:

0300 Calm seas, 3-6 feet swells, bright moon, cloudy, wind speed about 10, boat speed about 3-4 knots. We are less than 200 miles from the equator, and under 1,000 miles to Hiva Oa. Whoo Hoo! We are 2/3's of the way there.

I'm on late-dawn watch. I got up at 2:00 a.m. Russ had early watch. He was so tired, he could hardly wait for me to get out of bed. He crashed and within seconds was snoring. We thought we would be motoring tonight, but we are enjoying a beautiful sail instead. It is a welcome respite from the frenetic motoring in high seas and pouring rain with little to no winds.

We kept the motor off while we ate dinner and participated in the evening nets. By the time the nets were over around 9:00 p.m., the seas had begun to flatten out a little and the wind pickup a little, so we are sailing....not very fast....not on the exact course we wanted, but everyone needed a good night's rest after the last couple of days. It's very tiring and wearing on the body bracing,bumping,flying through the air while motoring. It is such a different motion than when under sail. Sailboats are engineered to cut through the water and find the rhythm of the wind and sea state. Our bodies have become used to that kind of motion. You can almost anticipate when to step and when to wait. When motoring and powering into the waves, the boat begins to lurch and leap in unexpected ways. Even laying down is an odd sensation. Sometimes the boat drops down so fast that our bodies are airborne and we levitate off the bed. So while we may be in bed "sleeping" we really are not getting much rest in those conditions, and it is catching up with us.

0630 The moon has just set and my view forward is pitch black. There is however a faint light from the eastern sky. I think the sun is thinking about rising this morning.

By 0730, everyone was up. We turned off all the potential noise makers for the radio. Russ served as net control this morning for the Pacific Puddle Jump Net. He did a fine job! Sea Flyer continues to limp along with his motor and delivered fuel for which he is thankful. Thankful too that he ran the fuel through his Baja filter as it wasn't real clean. Russ asked if anyone had made contact with Aquila. No response. We tried several times ourselves with no response. Garyn even asked for a radio check from any vessel who could hear us on VHF 16. Silence. No one is anywhere around us. With the exception of the tanker that delivered fuel to Sea Flyer several days ago, which we think was the same one we saw later in the day, we have had no AIS traffic or seen anything other squalls on our radar. We haven't even seen a sea bird or dolphin that last couple of days....just flying fish. Can't find our pet gecko either.

Speaking of squalls, we got through the entire night with nary a one! Russ turned on Lehman and Ray around 10:00 A.M. and pointed the nose of the boat directly into the wind. Even with full power we are drifting a little west because of a strong equatorial current, but much better than we were doing under sail and winds under 10 knots. We had blueberry pancakes and bacon this morning. Actually, I started it this morning and we wound up eating it just before lunch. Having turned off the refrigerator for a couple of hours each day for the nets, both had started to defrost which was serendipitous because they needed a defrosting. I just hadn't planned on doing that at the same time I was cooking breakfast.

After breakfast, we took showers and did some laundry. The laundry is blowing in the wind off the fan tail. Garyn and Russ are napping. That will be my plan as soon as one of them wakes up and stands watch. We think we will be crossing the equator sometime tomorrow morning. Garyn has been talking about giving Russ a buzz cut on the equator and throwing his hair in the water for Neptune. I'm going to put the champaign on ice tonight. We might be having Mimosas tomorrow at 0 degrees. If the conditions are right, Garyn would like to take a swim. We'll see how that works out. I think I'll just dip my toes in.

This afternoon we are enjoying blue sky with about 50 % cloud cover, blue, blue water cruising and are traveling 5 knots with the wind and swell right on our nose. Russ will serve as Net controller this evening as well. Tuesday will be Worrall Wind's day on the radio until we reach waters too far south to hear or transmit to most of the fleet.

Hope all is going well with all of you. All is well on Worrall Wind.

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 21 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

UTC/Local: 20:06/13:07
Latitude: 02 26 401 N
Longitude: 128 26. 613 W

Conditions:

0300 Calm seas, 3-6 feet swells, bright moon, cloudy, wind speed about 10, boat speed about 3-4 knots. We are less than 200 miles from the equator, and under 1,000 miles to Hiva Oa. Whoo Hoo! We are 2/3's of the way there.

I'm on late-dawn watch. I got up at 2:00 a.m. Russ had early watch. He was so tired, he could hardly wait for me to get out of bed. He crashed and within seconds was snoring. We thought we would be motoring tonight, but we are enjoying a beautiful sail instead. It is a welcome respite from the frenetic motoring in high seas and pouring rain with little to no winds.

We kept the motor off while we ate dinner and participated in the evening nets. By the time the nets were over around 9:00 p.m., the seas had begun to flatten out a little and the wind pickup a little, so we are sailing....not very fast....not on the exact course we wanted, but everyone needed a good night's rest after the last couple of days. It's very tiring and wearing on the body bracing,bumping,flying through the air while motoring. It is such a different motion than when under sail. Sailboats are engineered to cut through the water and find the rhythm of the wind and sea state. Our bodies have become used to that kind of motion. You can almost anticipate when to step and when to wait. When motoring and powering into the waves, the boat begins to lurch and leap in unexpected ways. Even laying down is an odd sensation. Sometimes the boat drops down so fast that our bodies are airborne and we levitate off the bed. So while we may be in bed "sleeping" we really are not getting much rest in those conditions, and it is catching up with us.

0630 The moon has just set and my view forward is pitch black. There is however a faint light from the eastern sky. I think the sun is thinking about rising this morning.

By 0730, everyone was up. We turned off all the potential noise makers for the radio. Russ served as net control this morning for the Pacific Puddle Jump Net. He did a fine job! Sea Flyer continues to limp along with his motor and delivered fuel for which he is thankful. Thankful too that he ran the fuel through his Baja filter as it wasn't real clean. Russ asked if anyone had made contact with Aquila. No response. We tried several times ourselves with no response. Garyn even asked for a radio check from any vessel who could hear us on VHF 16. Silence. No one is anywhere around us. With the exception of the tanker that delivered fuel to Sea Flyer several days ago, which we think was the same one we saw later in the day, we have had no AIS traffic or seen anything other squalls on our radar. We haven't even seen a sea bird or dolphin that last couple of days....just flying fish. Can't find our pet gecko either.

Speaking of squalls, we got through the entire night with nary a one! Russ turned on Lehman and Ray around 10:00 A.M. and pointed the nose of the boat directly into the wind. Even with full power we are drifting a little west because of a strong equatorial current, but much better than we were doing under sail and winds under 10 knots. We had blueberry pancakes and bacon this morning. Actually, I started it this morning and we wound up eating it just before lunch. Having turned off the refrigerator for a couple of hours each day for the nets, both had started to defrost which was serendipitous because they needed a defrosting. I just hadn't planned on doing that at the same time I was cooking breakfast.

After breakfast, we took showers and did some laundry. The laundry is blowing in the wind off the fan tail. Garyn and Russ are napping. That will be my plan as soon as one of them wakes up and stands watch. We think we will be crossing the equator sometime tomorrow morning. Garyn has been talking about giving Russ a buzz cut on the equator and throwing his hair in the water for Neptune. I'm going to put the champaign on ice tonight. We might be having Mimosas tomorrow at 0 degrees. If the conditions are right, Garyn would like to take a swim. We'll see how that works out. I think I'll just dip my toes in.

This afternoon we are enjoying blue sky with about 50 % cloud cover, blue, blue water cruising and are traveling 5 knots with the wind and swell right on our nose. Russ will serve as Net controller this evening as well. Tuesday will be Worrall Wind's day on the radio until we reach waters too far south to hear or transmit to most of the fleet.

Hope all is going well with all of you. All is well on Worrall Wind.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 20 - Monday, April 26, 2010

UTC/Local 1800/1100 PSDT

Latitude: 03 24.115 N
Longitude: 127 05.689 @

Conditions: Big seas, mild winds, and lots of rain, Two hundred miles from equator, 1036 miles from Hiva Oa....Just around the corner :)

Our position today 4/26 at 1800 Z is 03 24.115 N; 127 05.689 W. It has been raining almost constantly since 3:00 a.m. this morning. It's 78 degrees and 98% humidity. The seas are 12 feet and are no longer following, but coming from the southeast, right on our bow. Fortunately they are not breaking. Rivers of water occasionally run down the deck as we plow headlong into a large swell, and our ship's bell rings itself when we slam down off a wave. We are motor sailing at present due to the lack of a consistent wind coming from the east. It's been an adventure. The Gribs look more promising later today. We might be breaking out of the rain. It looks lighter ahead and we might be able to start picking up the southeast winds.

Lehman (our engine) and Ray (our auto pilot) have been working hard for the last 24 hours. Occasionally, we rest Ray and hand steer particularly during the net as the auto pilot does interfere with our radio reception.

You may recall that on Thursday, April 8, our first full day at sea, we mentioned our friend Mike Rafferty, single handing, his boat Aquila, a 1978 Freeport 38B, out of San Diego. We left La Cruz on the same day, he earlier in the morning than us. We passed each other at 19 degrees 55 minutes N and 106 degrees 53 minues W, and took photos of each other's boats and talked on the VHF radio. We motor sailed for awhile and pulled a head, sure that he would eventually catch and pass us as his boat is lighter and swifter. Later that night we saw a mast light in the distance, but cannot be sure it was Mike's or one of the other Puddle Jump boats. We tried calling him on the VHF and got no response. Because he was single handing and we knew he would have to sleep sometime, we didn't want to be too close to his position during his sleep time. We had hoped to have some buddy boats close by and were sorry to lose contact with him. We hoped to hear him on the Puddle Jump Net or Sea Farer's Net, but haven't.

This morning on the net a welfare call came over the radio,onshore coast guard inquiry looking for Aquila. Either folks at home have not heard from him or he has not arrived at destination. He apparently does not have a single side band radio. Everyone was asked to try and call using their VHF radios today. We have done so, but are not getting any response. VHF is line of sight and this is one BIG ocean. He may have had a SPOT as one of the folks on the net thought his boat's name was Aquila Spot which may be the name he gave to a SPOT tracker. We hope he's having a good time and just not able to check in. None of the other alternatives are good ones.

Is our SPOT tracker still working? From our vantage point it looks like SPOT is sending and reporting, but we really have no way of knowing unless you tell us so. Maybe Mike thinks he is reporting but isn't reporting because of the lack of satellites in this area of the ocean. Since he does not have a single side band radio, he probably has no email contact either.

Our other Puddle Jump fleet boatd in distress, Sea Flyer continues to motor. On last night's net, he was at longitude 3 N and latitude 130 W. He had had some engine overheating problems during the day, but once he cleaned barnacles out of engine water intake, the engine cooled down. He had yet to start using the fuel from the Cuban tanker. Friends on Sailing Vessels Sula and Freezing Rain left Puerto Vallarta yesterday after a couple of false starts due to equipment problems. Had they not had to turn around and returned, they would probably be right behind us.

1412 - The sky is still grey, but we are beginning to see some patches of blue and some definition to some clouds. It's warm and muggy. Because of the rain and splashing seas, we've kept the boat on lock down and it's like a sauna on the inside. We've cracked the doors open a bit and are getting a nice breeze through the pilot house.

Russ has volunteered to serve as net control for the PPJ tomorrow. I hope we will be in a position to shut down the motor and all the other gadgets so he gets a clear copy for check ins. Well, it's nap time, game time, dinner time, then bed time on Worrall Wind. Our knees are doing fine. Russ has early watch. I have late watch. Garyn has night off.

0200 Zulu - We turned off the motor and are under sail, 10 knots of SE wind, but we have a strong equatorial counter current pushing us west faster than we are sailing forward, so we are turning the motor back on. It sure feels good to sail though. The boat is so much more gentle to the body under sail. Under motor we lurch and bash, but at least we will be moving forward in the right direction.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 19, Sunday, April 25, 2010

UTC/Local 0000 Monday, April 26/ 1700, Sunday, April 25
Latitude: 04 49.647 N
Longitude: 126 43.803 W

Conditions:

After a long, slow night, Worrall Wind is motor-sailing. I guess you can call it that even though we are doing far more motoring than sailing. There is less than 5 knots of wind. As the sun was setting last night, the wind died. We were making some forward progress of less than 1 knot. We had previously agreed that if the boat speed dropped below 4 knots we start up the engine. However, Russ wanted to monitor engine given our earlier problems and needed some rest before his late watch shift. So we postponed firing up Lehman "the engine", until dawn, when everyone would be up to hold watch and he could spend whatever time would be necessary to monitor engine.

In the meantime, we bobbed like a little cork in the ocean all night except for dodging a squall at 1:00 a.m.. Around 6:00 a.m. a wind sprang up from due southwest the direction we wanted to travel. We had a choice of tacking close either toward the northwest or the southeast. We chose the northwest and did that until the sun came up for about an hour (we still haven't turned the clock back yet). Just thought I would mention this strange tactic since it sure to show up on Spot as some weird track.

Russ went into the engine room to open the thru hulls for the exhaust and engine just before 7:00 a.m. As he slid across the top of the engine box to throw the levers (always in the most inconvenient locations) a huge 2 inch wooden sliver embedded itself in Russ's left knee. He came out of the engine room and quickly fired up Lehman so that no water would come in the exhaust pipe. We held our breath!

The Lehman turned over and started to hum. We exhaled with relief. Then it was time to remove the splinter. Russ used a pair of pliers to grip the sucker. The first pull didn't work. The second pull worked and this two inch, 1/8 of inch monster came out. I nearly fainted. Russ said the splinter was horizontal not perpendicular which means it wasn't deep. We bathed the puncture wound in hydrogen peroxide and tried to squeeze out the nearly bloodless wound as much as possible. Then we put on antibiotic ointment, and he took a Cipro to prevent any infection. He'll stay on a course of that for a couple of days. He is trying to keep his leg elevated and stay out of the sun (Cipro reaction). Dr. Abby?....any further advice?

My right knee started to swell up the first week out. There is no pain associated with the swelling, but it became twice the size of my other knee and started to drain into the lower part of my leg making the entire leg, ankle, and foot swollen. The tightness has made it difficult to kneel down and get on my knees. I've been taking some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and have been trying to keep my leg elevated as well. I am happy to report that it is "looking" much better today. Russ and I are quite a pair with our legs elevated.

The seas are now coming from two predominant directions in the this latitude, southwest and northeast, making for large rollers under the boat which we either dive into or surf down. Garyn and Russ negotiated a fairly large squall last night around 1:00 a.m. which gave us the best 15-20 knot winds all day. Apparently we rode the outside edge for nearly an hour. I was sleeping and awoke briefly as Garyn came into the back stateroom with his head lamp and shut the portholes.

Thank you Marcia and Dave, and radio guru Mike for your advice regarding radio reception. We turned off everything before the net last night. The reception was sooooo much better. Our laptop computer seems to be the worst offender. We were able to connect with Puddle Jump net and for the first time the Sea Farer's Net. We were particularly interested in getting an update from one of our Puddle Jump Fleet, Sea Flyer, a Choy Lee offshore 38. They had rigging failure a couple of days ago. Their chain plate broke and shrouds came loose. They could actually see their mast lifting off the deck. SCAREY! We are within 200 miles of them and wanted to offer some assistance. We had heard that they were motoring and would need more fuel to get to the Marquesas. We also have some rigging supplies. However, we weren't sure exactly what we could offer without putting both of our boats in jeopardy given the large swells. We hadn't been able to hear them very well. Last night we had a clear copy on them.

Turns out that Sea Flyer hailed the Coast Guard, who arranged for a passing tanker to drop some fuel for them. About midnight on April 23, this large tanker stopped near them. They had to motor up to the tanker. The large swells kept bumping them against the hull of the tanker (either bound for Cuba or Cuban registered), doing some minor damage to their solar panels. Since this became too dangerous, Sea Flyer backed away from the tanker. The vessel's captain, then lashed 10 gerry cans of diesel to a line and dropped them into the water. Sea Flyer recovered the floating line and jugs with their boat hook, and now have some additional fuel to help them on their passage. They are not sure if it will be enough, but there are a couple of boats close by in the event they need some additional assistance. We are 200 miles away on latitude 126 and Windryder is about 25 miles from Sea Flyer on latitude 129.

One of our vicarious sailors asked for a recap of some of the terms we are using. Genny is our gennaker (an asymmetrical spinnaker that flys like a kite off our bow). Genny works best between a beam and a broad reach. A beam reach is when the wind is coming 90 degrees (right angle perpendicular to the side of the boat). A broad reach is when the wind is coming 91 -120 degrees off the side of the boat, slightly behind the beam on the stern quarter. Genny got a wrap when a wave dipped us down and turned the boat in such a way that the wind was coming well beyond 120 degrees right over the stern quarter.


Hydie is our Hydrovane, wind steering system that keeps our boat on a particular course or reach based on the angle of the wind. Hydie is basically a wind driven auto pilot, but she takes no electrical energy. Today, we are relying on Ray, our borrowed Raymarine auto pilot from Freezing Rain, that works with our motor to steer our course. Ray and Lehman are a dynamic duo. Just as Hydie and Genny are.

It's time for lunch. I sat on the bow earlier this morning and have so much salt on my skin from sea spray, that a margarita would taste mighty fine. I'm just wishing.

5:00 p.m. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing dominoes. Garyn who drew five hands without a start piece turned out to be the winner. He just washed his sheets and they are hanging on the jib lines. They are clamped on but he is still holding one edge so it doesn't flap off. The boat under power is making its own wind on the foredeck. I don't know how dry they are going to get. Russ has had a shirt hung up for two days and it's still damp. The humidity is about 80%. There are no white caps or wind ripples on the undulating sea which means we will continue to motor probably throughout the night until we get some wind. It could be a couple of days. With the engine running, we've just about filled up the water tank with our water maker and are generating enough power to watch a movie this evening. Yeah! Popcorn and cola coming up. I'm on early watch, Garyn's on late watch, and Russ has the night off. He's even thinking of having a beer!

Just a gentle reminder, if you must forward us information or want to reply to an update, please remember to delete all unimportant information and delete our update so that it doesn't come back to us and eat up our sailmail time. Thank you for understanding and helping us out.


All is well on Worrall Wind.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 18 - Saturday, April 24, 2010

UTC/Local: 2200/1500

Latitude: 05 55.605 N
Longitude: 126 06.586 W

Conditions:

0000 We ended Day 17 and began Day 18 at 07 00.9 N and 125 54.0 W, having traveled 141 nautical miles, the exact distance as the day before. The moon is up but starting to descend. The temperature is about 80 degrees and we have an apparent 12 knot wind blowing from the east. As the wind has decreased so has our boat speed. We are no longer flying at 7.5 knots. We are probably averaging less than 5 knots right now, and are on a beam reach heading 188 degrees south. The sea swells are broad and undulating. Since it's dark, I can really see the swell direction, but expect it is similar to yesterday. We have our jib, main, and mizzen at full sail.

0100 - 0200 It never seems to fail, that when I transition into the late-dawn shift, the calm conditions that had previously prevailed begin to deteriorate. This morning, we had a run with two little squalls. Both of them passed just behind us going from east to west and we were on the southern edge, benefiting from the increased winds and the cooling rain without too much havoc. The seas whip up a bit and it gets bouncy for a few minutes. Hydie senses the increased wind and temporarily rounds up. This is when we need to step in and give her some help. Garyn's hatch is open and he wakes up with some rain drops.

0300 It's been quiet now for about an hour. Everyone has gone back to bed except for me. I really enjoy being up at this time. It's magical to be sailing along with full sail, a nice breeze, and the moon shimmering a pathway from the horizon to our beam.

0700 The sun is just coming up. It's been getting light since 6:30, but at 6:00 PSDT it was still starry out. I think it's time to fall back another hour. We are now at longitude 126. I successfully dodged a honking squall coming right across the bow this morning at 5:00 a.m. Russ and Garyn slept right through it. They are still sleeping. It's good for them to catch up.

1030 We've had our breakfast, dodged through a few more squalls, put up the windshield sun screens, and are listening to Treasure Island. The sea swells are 9-12 feet, but not steep nor swift, the predominant swells coming from the east and north east. Still it is disconcerting to see these undulating seas. The wind is still coming from the east at about 12 knots, and there are few wind waves and white caps. We are traveling around 5 knots over ground rhythmically lifting, falling and heeling to starboard.

1400 The wind has dropped to a pitiful 5-7 knots and we are lopping at 2.5 knots. We got out Genny. This is the first time we have had her up since she wrapped on us the other day. It took a little coaxing, but Russ and Garyn finally got her up and completely unwrapped. Now instead of 2 knots we are up to 4 knots. Not terrific but better. If we drop consistently below 4 knots with the Genny (meaning the wind is dying completely), we will start to motor. We are now 5 degrees, less than 300 miles from the equator.

Tonight is my night off. So we will get this update sent off and probably won't get another one off until late tomorrow. Hello to everyone. Please check the Worrall Wind Blogspot when you get a chance to see if everything looks like it is posting ok. Is SPOT still sending tracking reports? How is the Pangolin Tracker reports working? If you Goggle Worrall Wind, you can probably see us on Shiptrak as well. Looking forward to hearing from you.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 17, Friday, April 23, 2010 - Continued, The completed entry

UTC/Local: 2324/1624

Latitude: 07 39.076 N
Longitude: 125 49,337 W

Conditions:

11:00 a.m. Garyn just used the sat phone to request some grib files and it sent everything that was in the inbox, including the incomplete draft of Day 17 . What takes us 20 or more minutes to download through sailmail took 2 minutes on the SAT phone. We've been getting warnings from sailmail that we have been using too many of our 90 minute a week allocation. We can send our stuff out fast enough, but it takes forever to receive. I think we will shift to the SAT phone for some of the downloads.

I spent the morning in the galley, taking advantage of a nice following sea to do some cleanup work. My coffee fiasco yesterday morning left wet coffee grounds seeping into the port refrigerator. I cleaned both refrigerators and gave a burial at sea of some of the produce. Then I made a bunch of pasta salad to last for a couple of days. Garyn and Russ are outside right now tweaking the sails and enhancing our speed, direction, and dodging squalls. They are doing a good job. The clouds and rain of yesterday have blown over. Garyn, using the gribs, has plotted us a course due south which we hope will skirt by some of the percipitation and keep us a beam reach.

4:00 p.m. The wind has continued to blow nicely between 15 - 18 knots. No sign of it dying yet. We are 1 mile ahead of ourselves this time yesterday, so we continue to make good progress. We have all had our afternoon naps and it's time at least for me to take a shower. It's amazing how much better we feel after this simple little indulgence. We've been running the Honda since 9:00 a.m. this morning, charging the batteries and making water. The water won't be hot, but it should be refreshing. It is still humid and sticky.


The seas while big are gentle and undulating. The primary swell direction seems to be coming from our port beam and stern quarter. As we are traveling due south, the wind and the swell are from the east, north east. We also seem to be getting swell from the southeast as well. When the waves collide they do so magically by just welling up and lifting the boat, and water rolls out one way and away to our west, and others roll out in front and to the south. I wonder about the little molecules. I can kind of see what is happening, but wonder if I were a molecule traveling in one direction, would I continue in that direction or is there some transfer of energy when the molecules converge bouncing them back in a different direction? So much untapped energy in the sea.

It's been a beautiful day.

All is well on Worrall Wind

Friday, April 23, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 17, Friday, April 23, 2010

Latitude:
Longitude:

Conditions:
As I begin this update, it is 11:00 p.m. on April 22. The rain has let up. We've been thinking of Russ's Mom Lorraine this evening. She would have been 100 years old today. She knew we were planning this cruise and know she would have loved getting daily updates about our progress.

We have had a record breaking day regarding our distance traveled. In the last 24 hours, we have traveled 141 nautical miles. That's our best day so far. It looks like we are going to start the new day out quickly as well. We have changed tack a few times this evening, once before sunset, and again at 10:00 as the wind has been shifting around a bit, but it is now blowing once again from the northeast at about 25 knots and we sailing consistently between 7.5-8.5 knots. The swells are on our starboard stern quarter and giving us some good push I can hardly believe it. I don't know that we have ever sailed consistently over 7 knots in Worrall Wind. If the wind picks up anymore though, we will need to reduce sail.

When we change tack, our routine is that Garyn goes forward to release the preventer and clear lines. Russ and I go aft. I take the helm and hold the boat on course either coming about or gybing as necessary, and Russ works the sheets and the wind vane. That seems to work out well. My watch is almost over and we are flying through the night. It has been cloudy and rainy all day, but this evening the moon has been shining through the clouds to illuminate the horizon. The swells have lessened a bit, but not by much.

2:00 a.m.
When Garyn awoke for his watch, we went out again to adjust the sails. We pulled in a little jib, let her fly with less tension, lowered the traveler on the main, and fell off a little more. During the course of the night the wind had shifted and we were no longer on a broad but a beam reach. I had been correcting, but with the sails tight, Worrall Wind kept rounding. Once we made the adjustments, she continued on her way. Russ and I went to bed in the lower saloon area.

6:00 We have reached our half-way mark. We are equi-distance from Mexico and the Marquesas. Yippee!While we slept, Garyn kept the boat moving along and tracked a squall on our starboard side from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. It was parallelling our course but moving faster so eventually passed us by. We had already broken yesterday's distance for the first 6 hours by 7 nautical miles. We have tacked once again and are heading southwest. The seas have calmed down to about 8 feet, but are expected from the gribs to pipe up to 10 feet and the wind to die down. So far the wind seems to be pretty close to grib modeling, but the waves have been greater, so not looking forward to slow movement and large rollers. We'll see.

The sun is out this morning and we have some air moving through the boat. Hopefully, we will get dried out a little bit and solar panels will charge us up. Last night, we were squeegying down our windows on the inside it was so humid. It's beginning to smell like a locker room.

We check into the Pacific Puddle Jump Net once and sometimes twice a day to give our coordinates. I don't know if it is our location or if we have something going on with our radio. We seem to be able to transmit well (others can hear us and our email goes out quickly), but our reception is really slow for both voice and data, even when tuned and in high power. Perhaps some of our sailing buddies can give us some advice. Usually it's the transmission that is poor.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 16, Thursday, April 22, 2010

UTC/Local: 2009/1309
Latitude: 09 05.466 N
Longitude: 123 45.318 W

Conditions: (We traveled 110 miles from 2400 4-21 to 0000 on 4-22.)

The cloud cover this morning is 100%. With dawn came some rain. I felt is sprinkling down on me through the back hatch on the fan tail. We have our bimini over this hatch and it is pretty protected. The rain was so misty and not coming straight down but from just the right angle to give me a cool wake up call. I found myself completely sideways in the bed bracing my head and feet between pillows and cabinets, so that the rocking I experienced while sleeping was from head to toe, instead of roll from side to side.

Garyn and Russ managed through a minor squall last night. The sea and sky are grey. It looks like it should be cold, but it's 81 degrees and 86 percent humidity. The wind is consistently 20-25 knots this morning. We are on a beam reach with no mizzen, full main and a reefed jib, with a heading of 250, and are smoking along from 6.5 to 7.5 knots. The only thing that would keep this from being perfect are the 9 foot swells coming every 6-8 seconds from our starboard beam and stern quarter. The boat is rocking back and forth and when a swell runs under the boat and we glide down, a swoosh of white water rushes by and our speed over ground accelerates to 8 knots.

Yesterday evening, between the sunset and dark, we noticed fins in the water. Dolphins, little ones, were all around us. We could see them coming from our northeast. At any given time there were 30 or more in the water around us, leaping, jumping, surfing off the waves. Too bad it was too dark to take good photos. We understand from our whale and dolphin resource book, that often these Pacific dolphins (porpoises)will swim in pods of 100-500. We have also noted another little sea bird, other than the Booby. It maneuvers and skims over the waves, up - over - down, sideways. As the wave rolls up to 6 feet or troughs, the little bird is less than an inch from the water, occasionally dipping in its beak, perhaps getting a drink or picking fry, brine shrimp, or other miniscule goodie from the water.

This was a three - try morning. It took me three times to make coffee. The first two trys ended with wet coffee grounds spilling everywhere and Russ's hot chocolate dumping in the sink. Even pouring water in a thermos is a challenge with the waves so close together.

1:00 p.m. We have had an exciting morning. The grib (weather) files, indicated that our wind would begin to die around 11:00 a.m. this morning. Well it hasn't. The wind has continued to be between 20-25 knots, perfect for Worrall Wind. So we have made excellent time. Worrall Wind has been traveling this morning 7-8 knots, surfing up to 9.5. The boat is handling itself well. We are so glad we have Hydie our wind steering system.

Unfortunately, the swells are pretty awesome and have not settled down, so while the ride has been swift, it has been quite bouncy and rolly. Sometimes Hydie becomes overwhelmed with the waves and we need to help her out. I'm sure we have had a couple of small mountains pass under the boat or slap us on the side, sending rivers of water down our deck. All the ports and hatches are closed down tight. The rain has kept us in the pilot house all morning. The boat interior is warm 81 degrees (stuffy)and recording 96% humidity. We have our little fans blowing the air around and in between showers we open the skylight in the pilot house to let in some fresh air. Since 12:00 a.m. this morning, we have traveled 76 miles in 13 hours. Our little water turbine has been producing 6 amps per hour. Our solar panels are sleeping under the cloud cover. At some point today, we are going to need to run the engine or the generator to make up for the two days of cloudiness.

We are listening to audio books. We were getting tired of Fountain Head by Ayn Rand, so we decided to give it a hiatus and listen to In Sun Burned Country, by Bill Bryson. This one too is a bit long and rambly although the author has a great sense of humor and it lightens up the mood.

We are making good progress, everyone feels good, and the bilge is dry.

All is Well on Worrall Wind.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 15, Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Latitude: 09 54.583 N
Longitude: 122 01.316 W

Conditions: Warm (80 degrees at midnight), humid (60%), a breeze of 15 knots, sea swells 8-9 feet

At midnight, last night we marked 2 weeks at sea. As we begin our third week this morning, are odometer indicates that we have traveled 1,386 miles. We are 1112 miles from Puerto Vallarta. As you can see, our distance traveled is greater than the rumb line to our current postion. If we followed a rumb line (direct angle from our current postion to Hiva Oa), we are 1580 miles away from the Marquesas. We wish it were that direct, but the wind direction, speed, and wave/swell intensity and direction from moment to moment determines our course. We are a little disappointed that we haven't covered more ground, but hope once we have passed through the ITCZ, we can pickup some south east trades. We are within 5 degrees now of being in the "doldrums". The forecast actually looks like we might have some winds, and the squalls do not look as intense as they have been. We hope this pattern continues. We've been saving our fuel for powering us through this area if we get stuck. When we were planning to leave on March 31, we estimated that we would arrive in Hiva Oa around April 28 (29 days). Seems like this was pretty realistic. Since we left a week later, we will probably arrive in Hiva Oa late in the first week of May.

Our first week was marked by very little wind and of course very little progress. Our second weeks has been better in terms of speed and direction, but the following seas when we are running downwind, wing on wing have not been consistent. Sometimes they follow from directly behind us which is nice ride when they aren't too big, but they also are coming from our port stern quarter and our starboard stern quarter. This direction and sail configuration, rocks the boat continuously 30 degrees starboard to upright to 30 degrees port. The rocking continuously fills one sail and spills the other. This motion makes every activity on the boat a challenge. Garyn fixed lunch yesterday and before he could get it up to the saloon it all landed on the floor. Food preparation has led to a lot of stuff sliding across the counter and diving through the gap area of our gimbaled stove. There's probably a couple of meals sliding around underneath.

Our fresh fruits and vegetables are being consumed and will probably be depleted by the end of the third week. Then we will move to the canned fruits and veggies. The refrigerated lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and celery have held up well. The slightly green tomatoes, potatoes, and jicama have done well in the hold so far. The peppers,lemons, carrots and cabbage have not fared well without refrigeration, but the mandarins, grapefruits, apples, and limes have. As the frig has been freed up, I have been transferring some of the wilting stuff in.

I had the dawn watch today. The sky started to lighten about 5:30. By 6:00 it was apparent that we were going to be introduced to our first squall. A very dark black cloud was on our port quarter dipping its many tentacles into the sea obscuring the sunrise. I flipped on the radar and sure enough, we had an image of the squall sneaking up on us. I woke up the guys and we got into our harnesses, went out side, took down the wing on wing configuration, turned into the wind and ran on a beam reach with just the main, and closed all of the hatches. Fortunately, this little squall was a good drill for us. Retrospectively, when we turned upwind, it took us off course and slowed us way down. We should have done a controlled gybe and will give that a try next time if presented with a similar situation.

The squall ran past, spitting water from its clouds, just enough to cool us off and wash down the boat a bit. With the black cloud now in front of us and to the starboard side, our wind direction had shifted making it possible for us to run with gennaker on a broad reach if we gybed. So we did. As I write this paragraph we are flying between 6 and 7 knots about 230 (southwest) towards our next mark. Our plan was to do a left turn dog leg at 125, but we are cutting the corner a bit.

Time for a nap. Garyn and Russ are watching Genny and Hydie for awhile.

We have now dropped below latitude 10. We had a little excitement this afternoon as we came off a wave and rocked too far to starboard and back throwing the bow of the about just enough to go down wind long enough for the gennaker to wrap on itself. We knew what to do. I took the helm and purposely put the gennaker in the wind shadow behind the main. Russ released the line and Garyn pulled down the sock to extinguish the twisting sail. After Genny was down, they worked on taking out the twist and bagging her for the time being. We are now sailing wtih main and jib on a beam reach, heading a little more west than south, but the boat is much more comfortable for all of us on this tack and as evening approaches we have more manueverablity with this sail combination of a squall comes up. According to our grib charts, the wind is supposed to practically die tonight. We'll see. Garyn is napping as he has first watch tonight. There are a lot of clouds so I doubt whether we will see much of the moon. Russ has KP in the galley and dawn watch. Moi....to bed to bed for the whole night.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 14, Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UTC 1500 Local 0800

Latitude: 11 34.562 N
Longitude: 120 10.633 W

Conditions:

The further we travel south the warmer the days have been getting. Yesterday, we were in the low 80's all day, dropping a few degrees into the high 70's at night. We traveled 24 hours with our genny up until 3:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. The wind had been very light and we only had gone about 50 miles in 24 hours. Not good,, but the best we could do given the wind direction and light wind. Had we not had the genny, we would have been sitting and not moving at all.

Late yesterday afternoon, we took down the gennaker and ran the engine for about 3 hours to move us ahead a little bit southwest to see if we couldn't catch a stronger wind and to add some amps to our battery. When the motor work was done, we decided we could get more mileage out of the wind if we ran wing on wing again. We go faster, but the boat rocks from rail to rail almost constantly making it difficult for those not on watch to sleep.

The constant rocking, rubbing and pressure required a few maintenance checks and work today. Our gennaker line was rubbing against an open stateroom window, nearly pulling the window out of its slider and fraying the gennaker sheet. Duct tape came in handy here. Hydie's (Hydrovane) nylon covered wind wing was wearing in some places. After giving her a little water and white vinegar wash down, Russ put sail tape on areas where she had been starting to wear and rub.

In the last few days, we haven't seen much wildlife, except for the suicidal flying fish that we find crispy in various locations on the deck and a few boobies. Russ spotted a sea turtle, and I thought I saw a single dorsal fin go by. Could have been a dolphin or a shark. So far we haven't done any fishing.

The moon is starting to fill in and light up the night sky for a couple of hours before setting. Our days are filled with reading, listening to music and audio books, doing little repairs, cooking, and cleaning. It's never quiet out here. The sound of water washing past or slapping against the hull, the wind in and out of sails, the rhythmic creaking and clanking of doors and other objects in the boat, and occasional boobie squables provide us with a symphony of ocean sounds. Sometimes, it's nice to put those I-Pod earbuds in and change the music.

Russ has another little project going this morning. One of the screws he put back in when he was re-installing one of the fuel injectors seemed to have lost its threads. He tried to fix it. He did a check last night after we ran the motor to see if the fix held. It did not and now there is some diesel leak into the oil. Russ is removing that entire fuel injector and replacing it with a new one. He is kicking himself for not doing that in the first place. WW will now require, yet another oil change. We had what we thought was a lot of oil, but this next change is going to nearly deplete the store. Glad we had it. Wish we had more.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 13, April 19, 2010

UTC 1500 Local 0800

Latitude: 12 37.461 N
Longitude:119 19.386 W

Conditions:

Since yesterday around noon, we have had light seas and light winds of about 10-12 knots, coming from the north east. We have changed tack and are now headed more south than west and no longer running with the wind but have it on our port quarter. It's a perfect tack for our new gennaker which we have had flying now since noon yesterday. We were a little apprehensive about flying her at night, but the grib files indicated a continuing trend of light winds, so she flew off our starboard side on a broad reach most of the night and at least we were moving 3 knots in the right direction. An added benefit was the definite port tack and the quelling of the incessant back and forth rocking we were experiencing running down wind with confused seas hitting us from all directions.

The sky is clear, the air temperature is 82 degrees already this morning. We finished up our rousing game of dominoes yesterday evening. Garyn was the clear winner. Russ and I were neck and neck for second place. When Garyn went out, I had a double blank in my hand and Russ had 3 points in his. He lost by 2 points! That was a squeeker!

Last night was picnic night aboard Worrall Wind. We had ham steaks, potato salad, and coleslaw. It was calm enough to eat off plates. Yeah.

Russ and Garyn are on the lido deck enjoying their morning coffee and cocoa. I got my first full night of sleep last night since our engine failed and the whisker pole broke. That was to be my night off and turned out to be a full night on. With those little miseries behind us, it couldn't be more perfect out here. It's amazing how much better a good night's rest is.

I'm on early transition watch tonight. Garyn is on dawn watch. Russ gets to sleep through the night tonight. I expect that unless something happens, we will be spending our day today reading, listening to Fountain Head, and lounging about....rough!

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 12 - Sunday - April 18, 2010

UTC/Local: 1039 / 3:39 a.m. PDST
Latitude: 13 58.154 N
Longitude: 119 01.815 W

Conditions: Slow going.

The moon is beginning to wax and for a little bit last night, before it quickly set there was a Cheshire cat grin crescent in the sky with a reflective glow on the water extending right to the hull of our boat. We are looking forward to having a little more visibility at night with moon. It's been very dark.

At first the dark nights are unsettling, particularly for someone as visual as I am. Russ as a private pilot is more use to flying with instruments and feels comfortable just monitoring the wind gauge, compass, rudder angle indicator, radar, etc. I am getting more use to it, and frankly now that we are so far out there are no landmarks to see even during the day. It's just water and sky in every direction. The position of the sun during the day helps with my visual orientation and directionality of the boat, but of course at night we are totally dependent on the instruments, particularly when it is cloudy.

Every night so far in the early morning hours before the sun rises, the clouds form obscuring the stars. So far, we haven't gotten any rain out of these clouds as they are more like a high fog and tend to burn off by mid-morning. If they haven't burnt off by mid morning, we usually have them all day and that cuts down on how much electricity our solar panels produce. We like that sun!

Since the sun went down, the wind has been fairly light right around 10 knots. Our forward progress today has been excruciatingly slow, anywhere from 0 to 4 knots, and probably no more than 50 miles total. Heidi our wind steering system is trying to keep the little bit of wind that we have right on our back so that we can continue to sail wing on wing.

Our main is flying on a port tack and our jib is poled out and flying on a starboard tack. The swells go from mild to moderate coming from a confused sea. Confused means that the swells don't seem to be primarily coming from a single direction. All during the day on Saturday, the wind was coming from the north east. The swells were coming from the north, northeast, and northwest. Consequently, even though the wind is light, the boat is continuously rocking back and forth. With each rock, the sails either fill up or spill out their wind. We can constantly hear them inhaling and exhaling, fluttering and snapping. Although Russ and Garyn are "sleeping", I am sure it is not deep.

Earlier this evening, the rocking made it impossible for us to eat our spaghetti and salad on plates. We tried, but wound up eating out of deep plastic containers and still wound up with some spaghetti on the floor. Having separate spaghetti and salad "not touching each other" was a special challenge for Russ and Garyn who definitely prefer tidy little piles of of food. Our dinner was kind of a spaghetti/salad goulash. Not particularly visually appealing.

Nothing is still. I'm getting better at wedging and positioning things in the galley as I cook so that things don't slide around. Garyn and Russ did the dishes tonight after our 1,000 mile celebration dinner. I was very appreciative, but couldn't bear to look down and see what was going on in the galley as I could hear plates and pots sliding all over, landing on the floor and clanking against cabinets. Eventually, everything got cleaned up. Standing on a firm, non-moving surface seems like an odd concept. I wonder what it will feel like not having to brace every step after a month at sea.

10:00 a.m. Everyone is up and listening to the Fountain Head. The wind has filled in a bit to about 13 knots and feels more constant. We are moving about 4 knots. Slow but faster than last The sun is out, the water is clear and blue. It's 80 degrees. Russ is sitting half in and half out of the door. Garyn and I have been laying down in the lower saloon, drifting in and out of sleep as we listen. I think it will be that kind of day as we rock to and fro, crawling forward across the sea.

Thank you for your emails. We are enjoying them and appreciate your vicarious presence, helpful advice, and encouragement.

All is well on Worrall Wind

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 11, Saturday, April 17, 2010

UTC/Local: 2020/1:20 PDST
Latitude: 14 30.450 N
Longitude: 118 34 553 W

Conditions:

It's a great day! The sun is out, the water is blue, the waves have calmed way down, and the wind is blowing from our back and is expected to stay light for the next couple of days. It's 85 degrees out and delightful to finally open the hatches and ports and let some fresh air pass through the boat. They've been battened down for 48 hours.

We are celebrating our 1000 miles on passage today. We aren't quite that far off the coast of Mexico, but with our tacking back and forth we have covered the qualifying distance for Seven Seas Cruising Association Commodore Candidacy. Our next step is to live on board for at least another 5 more months.

Not is it only our 1000 mile celebration (spaghetti, meatballs, a glass of red wine, and brownies today!), but we can cross off a few things on the critical list. Russ got the engine up and running, and Garyn cut down the broken whisker pole by 3 feet, we are once again running wing on wing in the direction we want - south, southwest, the refrigerator temperature has appropriately set, and the water and solar panels are producing 18 amps per hour. We are almost caught up on our sleep, but not quite. There are many reasons for a celebration tonight after weathering some pretty uncomfortable and uncertain conditions. Russ and Garyn are a great fix-it team. I'm the gopher, watch captain "Hang on, big rollers incoming" , safety officer "Don't go out there unless you're clipped on" and galley queen "eat your spinach, drink your water" keeping the crew fed and hydrated. So we got through this leg of the first 1000 mile at sea adventure. Go team!!

All is very well on Worrall Wind.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Days 9 & 10, April 15 & 16 2010
Latitude: 14 44.045 N
Longitude: 117 19.71 W
By the way, our Find Me Spot is taking longer and longer to upload to a satellite. Use the Pangolin link on our Blogspot for daily position reports. Please let us know when Spot no longer seems to be reporting.
Conditions:
The last couple of days have been difficult. After our at-sea repair of our loose gooseneck, we were in good shape. Our weather charts and grib files are not exactly in sync, however, with what we are experiencing. The wind is stronger and the seas are bigger. So much for being the Coconut Milk Run. It's more like a milkshake run. Thursday morning about 11:00 a.m. after my 1:00 - 7:00 a.m. watch, I was just laying down for a nap. Garyn and Russ were making a sail change and wanted to head into the wind and reef the main sail. We usually turn on the motor to help us stay into the wind when reefing. Well the motor wouldn't start. It would crank, but not start. Long story short. Our exhaust pipe sucked water into the engine. We had not had a lot of following seas so Russ had not closed the exhaust check since we have been starting the motor a little every day. Apparently our heavier passage boat allowed water to get in whether the seas were following or not. We closed this off immediately so we wouldn't get any more water, and will have to turn the exhaust check valve after each engine use.
No one got to take naps. Russ had been up until 1:00 a.m. and I had been up since 1:00 a.m. We worked on getting the water out of the bilge (not a lot, but enough), out of the engine, taking apart the fuel injection unit, removing the fuel injectors, and cranking over the motor to get water out of the engine. Russ was looking exhausted, but hoped to get the motor going before night fall.
Well, that wasn't going to happen. We had been running a beautiful wing on wing downwind course with 15 knots of wind when within 5 minutes the sea state and winds changed dramatically and faster than we could depower our main which already had one reef. A huge fast moving swell caught us and twisted the boat and the whisker pole snapped and broke. We pulled in the jib, and pulled the boat into the wind and swell so that we could put in another reef then fall off and be on a broad reach. It wouldn't be going south but west and the swell would be at our stern or beam most of the night. Coming into the wind without motor assist was impossible. After three tries, we muscled the main down to a double reef. (And yes, we are all harnessed up with life vests and clipped into our jacklines). We fell off and debated about doing a jibe, but decided it was getting dark and a jibe would take us to the south east not the south west. We decided to just go west and set up Heidi our wind steering system.
Heidi worked well in the beginning while we went inside, closed down the engine repair business for the night, and put everything away, tying down as much as possible. Thank goodness I had made lots of Mexican soup, and only had to reheat it. To give you an idea how rough the seas were, we ate the soup out of cups with lids. (No where near the computer!) By dark, the winds were gusting 24 knots, and the seas were 9-12 feet high steep and six seconds apart. Heidi couldn't keep up and we knew we would be hand steering most of the night. We are all tired. Garyn was the most rested and did the lion's share of the steering from about 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Russ came on at 1:00 and steered until 7:00. Garyn spelled him for an hour during that time. I stayed up with both of them, recording in the log, making coffee and hot chocolate and dozed for about two hours..not enough for a gal who likes her beauty rest. 2 hours in 36 isn't enough. Russ hasn't had much more. As I write this we are all very tired. We've decided to suspend engine repair today. The Honda is going, the sun is out, and water turbine are cranking out the amps. Heidi is back on duty and for the most part is doing a good job steering the boat as the winds and seas have dropped a little bit.
We are safe and very happy to have a pilot house steering station. The boat is dry and handling the seas well, although we are uncomfortable with the rail to rail rolling. Fortunately, no one is scared or sick and none of us are taking any sea sickness pills, so we are thankful about that. We are keeping hydrated and are taking turns napping and catching up on sleep today because it doesn't look like the winds and sea are going to calm down until tomorrow so we have another long night ahead of us.
For now all is well but could be a little better on Worrall Wind.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 8 - Wednesday - April 14, 2010
UTC/Local: 1000 / 3:00 a.m. PDST
Latitude: 15 10.711 N
Longitude: 115 06.201 W
Conditions:
As I write this log, we are one week at sea :) and about 650 miles offshore from Puerto Vallarta, a little less that 1/4 of the way to the Marquesas. Now that we have a fairly constant wind (first three days out of PV was pitiful)we are making better time and averaging six knots per hour. The wind is blowing about 14 nautical miles per hour from the north east. We are on a course of 270 degrees heading due west with a reefed main, full jib and mizzen on a broad reach. The winds are coming from the northeast. I can't see the sea swell, but it is probably 6-9 feet and from the periodic strong swells on our starboard hull that rock us to port and back flogging the jib and activating the preventer on the main, the swell is coming from the north, north west. The stars are twinkling in a very black sky. I've been on watch about an hour. Garyn and Russ are sleeping.
We have had a long day after an eventful early morning as reported in update 7. When the sun finally rose and everyone was up, we adjusted our course and sails. In so doing examined all the stress and chaffing points on the boat. The screws in our boom to mast gooseneck were working their way loose and stripped the threads. Not good, but not unexpected given all of the tension and torque from wind and rocking swell. We needed to repair this right away.
We turned on the motor, and lowered all of the sails with the exception of the cutter and turned the boat to a course of 180 to run with the swell so that Garyn and Russ could go forward on the desk and work on the mast and boom without being slammed from one side to the other. You may have noticed our meanderings on SPOT. I held the southern course keeping rollers from a confused sea on the stern quarter for two hours while Russ and Garyn dug through the spare parts putting together a combination of things that would work. The upper saloon looked like mission control for the repair of Apollo 13. With assembled hose clamps, plumbers' strapping, and a thin bicycle locking cable with rubber/plastic sheathing, Russ and Garyn clamped, wrapped, and lashed the gooseneck to the mast.
At one point during the repair job, the lazy jib sheet dipped down into the opened galley hatch looping around the tea kettle handle and lifting it with a roll and then dropping it so that it fell to the floor knocking over the bottle of powdered coffee creamer on its way down making a pasty white mess all over the floor. Garyn discovered this while I was at the helm and cleaned everything up. Those lines take on a life of their own. The first day we flew the gennaker, Garyn asked me to close the aft head port as the sheet was catching. He noticed that my silk flower arrangement sans the blue bottle it was in was dangling from the sheet. The sheet had snaked into the head porthole, nagged the bottle and tossed it into the sea. I was able to save the silk flowers.
By 1:00 p.m. the repair was complete and Apollo rounded the back side of the moon. main was back up and we got back on our rocky rolly course. We were tired and hungry. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the galley, triaging vegetables, shifting things around in the refrigerator, and making a huge pot of of spicey Mexican turkey soup. We took turns cat napping, holding watch, listening to the Fountain Head, and doing laundry.
No dominoes tonight. We were all sleep deprived. I went to bed in the lower saloon by 8:00 p.m.. Russ was on watch and Garyn wasn't ready to go to bed. He was finally beginning to feel much better after his odd episode earlier in the morning and was on his computer. We have now started Day 9 and so far,
All is Well on Worrall wind

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound

Day 7 - Tuesday - April 13, 2010
UTC/Local: 0400 / 9:00 p.m.
Latitude: 15 57.364 N
Longitude: 112 48.086 W
Conditions:
We are approximately 550 miles from Puerto Vallarta and would only have 2,180 miles to go if we flew a straight line. Last night the sea swells were about 9 feet and 10 seconds apart and the wind was 12-14 knots which made for a very rocking rolling night. We single reefed the main, eased off our course to slow the boat down a bit and to heel less. Most of the night we were on a beam to broad reach and made pretty good time until early morning a few hours before dawn when the wind died. We still had the big swells so we did even more rocking until the wind came back up at dawn and the sea swells died down to 1.5 to 2 meters (4-6 feet). With the sun up, we brought the boat back to a close reach to get back on course and pickup speed.
We listened to the morning net and talked to some boats that were within 100 miles of us, some that had been behind us and had shot ahead, and some that were ahead of us that has less wind and were hoping for more. The conditions vary within just a couple of miles. Even though we knew that the one boat that passed was a fast racing J-Boat, we were feeling pretty sluggish, and more determined than ever to trim the sails and get Worrall Wind moving faster. Fortunately, we had 14-18 knot winds which helped a lot. By "breakfast" we were sailing 6.5 knots sometimes seeing a 7.
"Breakfast" was really early this morning as we decided to turn our clocks to Pacific Standard Daylight Time when we realized it was 8:00 a.m. Puerto Vallarta time and still pitch black. So we turned the clocks backwards two hours so we are currently on same time schedule temporarily as the folks at home. If you think turning the clock forward or backward in one hour increments is confusing, try two. By 10:00 a.m. our bodies were saying lunch. By 3:00 p.m. we were wanting dinner. I was ready to start my 8:00 watch at 6:00 p.m., but had to wait another two hours which also means that I won't be really going off watch until 3:00 a.m. Lucky me. Are you confused yet? So when does our 24 hour day really end in the long book, at midnight, 10 p.m. or 2 a.m.? Let me know.
Our day was pretty uneventful. Garyn worked on trying to adjust the refrigerator. The electronic sensor/thermostat started to act up just before we left. Using our rubber ducky thermometer in the refrigerator, we were able to compensate for the correct temperature, ast couple of days,some of the food in the refrigerator has started to get too cold and freeze. Garyn noticed that the electronic thermometer ss trying to reset itself and go back to normal. The compensation is no longer working. In fact, the refrigerator never seemed to be turning off…..part of the mystery of why we have been burning up the amps. Anyway we think we are getting that worked out. In the meantime, the Honda is on again tonight.
I also got to talk with Marcia from Juniata today. You may or may not know that Dave and Marcia are friends from Colfax who were the catalysts for our cruising. When we met them 15 years ago, we had just bought our little 22 foot Catalina up at Lake Almanor. They had a 25 foot Catalina and dreams to go cruising. In know time at all we had a 25 foot Catalina and dreams to go cruising with them! Boy did we have fun in those little boats and with those dreams.
She and David , currently cruising in the Sea of Cortez were listening in on the Pacific Puddle Jump Net this morning. When I asked for a radio check of boats that could hear our transmission, I was delighted to hear Marcia call in. Our Pacific Puddle Jump boats are scattered across the Pacific Ocean. Many of the boats that were in the first pack to leave are also some of the same boats that are serving as net control and it is getting more and more difficult to hear them. As we approach the middle zone, we may want to serve a turn as net control, but we need to be sure that our transmission range can do the job. Since I only heard three boats comeback to us as having heard us, I think we don't have enough range.
With the boat on a strong starboard tack, I felt pretty safe cooking in the galley today. I'd rather have the hot stuff sliding away from me as I cook. I got a little more creative than mac and cheese tonight. I made ginger sesame pineapple almond chicken over brown rice. I think it was a hit.
Hmm. So what time is it? My body says my watch shift is over, but the clock says I have two more hours before I can nod off. Garyn and Russ are sleeping soundly. Russ was curled against port cushion on the lower saloon settee which is a great place for a starboard tack sleep. Garyn was sleeping in the V-berth also on the port side. We are traveling about 5-6 knots depending on gusting winds.
About midnight, I noticed that the winds were picking up and gusting. We were traveling between 3.5 knots and 7 knots. They were also shifting around and coming more from our starboard stern quarter. Heidi was having difficulty holding course. She would round way up in a gust and fall way off in a slack wind. I wanted to depower the main a little so, I went outside, eased off the main and tightened the preventer. We came off a swell and when we did so fell off the wind enough to gybe, backwinding the jib, cutter, and the main and gybing the mizzen. Heidi got pushed over by our gybing mizzen and stuck between the lines and the bimini top. I had to wait for an opportune time to try and free her. By the time I freed her, we were off course and the cutter was sliding back and forth on its self-tacking bar. By now both Garyn and Russ have awakened to see what was going on. Clark and Nina, our friends and crew on the Baja Ha Ha can testify about the horrible clatter the cutter makes. There is no sleeping when this is going on.
By 12:30 p.m. we had everything back under control "kind of" given the changing sea state. The swells were getting larger, steeper, and faster. The wind was gusting to 20 knots. With each gust, we would round up and head into the swell. Not only were we rolling, but pitching like a hobby horse. It wasn't dangerous, just uncomfortable. Garyn went back to bed for a little while as he was due to come on watch at 1:00. Russ was wide awake and decided to stay up with me for a while as we monitored and adjusted for the changing conditions.
By the time Garyn got back up and on watch, it was about 1:30. I stayed up with everyone until 2:00 then Russ and I decided to go downstairs and see if we could get some sleep. I was just drifting off when Russ woke me up. Garyn wasn't feeling well. He was light headed, cold and clammy almost like shock. Below his belly button he was complaining of a painful lump. We examined it and it looked like some sort of insect bite. It was quite red and hot. We gave him a benedryl for allergic reaction which we think he was having, put some anesthetic/antibiotic on the bite. He rested with head down for about 10 minutes and recovered from the light headedness and claminess. Thank goodness. We'll have to check out the V-berth when the sun comes up and the waves calm down to see if there is some suspicious insect lurking in his stuff.
Once again, I went back to bed at 3:00. Russ decided to stay up with Garyn a while longer. It was quite a ride. My Grandma Ogden would have said, holy Christopher Columbus! Very appropriate. I awoke at 5:30 as dawn was breaking, made coffee, and have been on watch so the guys can get some sleep. But now I'm into Day 8, but will continue this later this evening. Just know that between yesterday at 1500 Zulu and today at 1500 Zulu, we made a gain of 123 miles, and despite the early morning events,
All is well on Worrall Wind.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Worrall Wind Update -Day 6 - Marquesas Bound

Worrall Wind Update - Marquesas Bound
Day 6 - Monday - April 12, 2010
UTC/Local: 2400, 0700
Latitude: 16 52.9962 N
Longitude: 111 00.532 W
Conditions:
I had the late shift or I should say the first shift of the new day from 1:00-8:00 a.m. this morning. I think I must have been tired as I see I have posted two Saturdays. Day 5 should have been Sunday. Today is day 6 at sea. We were sailing wing on wing all night with great winds. We traveled 22 hours wing on wing and have sailed all of today as well. From midnight to midnight this morning until this evening we will have covered over 100 miles. The winds have been blowing 18-20 knots all day with lots of white caps and large swells coming from the North West. We changed course at dawn to sail up wind. It was so windy we needed to reef the main, but for a while we were heeled over doing almost 7 knots. Yippee! The seas is a little bumpy, but it feels good to be moving. The boys have renamed the Hydrovane from Hydro to Heidi. Heidi works hard, keeps us sailing in the right direction, and never complains. Garyn and Russ have been ecstatic today with the amps that our water turbin and solar panels have been producing.
I had a busy night last night and ran the batteries down checking the radar with boat traffic, fishing boats and sailing boats. Today I've spent a good portion of the day indoors catching up on lost sleep and reading. I'm reading a Dan Brown book (DiVinci Code author), called Deception Point. I'm enjoying it. Garyn has plowed through 3 of the 4 books he brought. Russ is reading Sex, Lies, and Spinnakers by Steve Van Slyke.
We've seen some boobies, flying fish, and jumping dolphins today. We had hot dogs, mac and cheese for dinner….comfort food. Russ is topside keeping watch. Garyn is taking a nap before his watch begins at 9:00. Me…..a pedicure if I can catch my toes in the bouncing boat, a shower, and a full night's rest. Ciao!
Thanks for the emails. We are enjoying them!
All is well on Worrall Wind

Worrall Wind Update Marquesas Bound - Day 5

Passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa, Marquesas
Day 5 - Sunday - April 11, 2010
UTC/Local: 0700, 0200
Latitude: 17 51.753 N
Longitude: 110 10.341 W
Conditions:
When I went off watch last night around 2:00, we had been sailing with main, jib, and mizzen consistently with wind from the North West off our starboard beam, boat speed about 4.5 knots with 12 knots of wind. When I awoke, the wind had shifted North North West which was a run (wind directly on our back) right toward our course line. The jib and main were wing on wing in 14 knots of wind and our speed had increased to 6 knots. Whoo Hoo! It is pretty exciting to know that Worrall Wind as loaded as she is can still get up to six knots.
The barometric pressure at dawn was at 1017, and we had an 80% overcast. As the night wears on the stars are obscured by clouds that form during the early morning. Along with the increased and favorable wind today, we were also greeted with confused seas, meaning that we were seeing significant swell (9-12 feet) coming from several directions, some opposing. We rocked back and forth fairly consistently unless we got into a place where the swells collided then it was little lumpy. By mid morning we were beginning to see our first white caps on the voyage. They weren't significant, but and indication that we had a fresh breeze.
As I write this log at 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning, April 12, we are still wing on wing, traveling 4.5 - 5.5 knots. We have not had to adjust the sails all day. We had been above our course line, but intersected it about 1:00 a.m. this morning. We will continue southward and when the sun comes up, change sails and tack back. Right now we are on a beautiful run, and there are no boobies on the mast spinning on the Windex. As we glide through the water with more speed, I can hear the water rushing past our hull and can see a white wash of florescent twinkle like little fireflies in the water. Its spell binding. I cannot see the sea state as it is so dark, but the boat is not rocking as much so I suspect the swell has settled down considerably.
When everyone was up this morning, it was time to clean the outside of the boat. Our night rider, another booby on the top of our mast on the jib furler had left its calling cards all over the deck. We hooked up the saltwater hoses and washed down the decks and railings. The water temperature coming out of the hose directly from the sea is luke warm, somewhere in the low 80's. We were moving so quickly, I didn't want to throw our rubber ducky thermometer in the water fearing the bottom would be torn from the ducky and we would lose the thermometer. Checking the temp seems to be better done when we are moving more slowly. It is about 78 degrees F in the cabin this evening and 85% humidity. The decks are wet.
Despite the sun beating on our solar panels and the water turbine we are pulling behind our boat, we were still down considerably on our battery charging. Our two refrigerators, freezer, computers, and radio transmissions are a pretty big drain. We didn't run the engine today, but we did break out the Honda generator and had that running for several hours to see if we could catch up. We never caught up, so it looks like we will have to supplement the electrical use each day with either the Honda or the engine.
Our plan is to eat as much as we can out of our primary frig which is the most efficient, transfer the food from the secondary frig (least efficient) and turn that one off. Eventually, we hope to eat up all of the food in the frig and freezer, turning them both off or at least way down. At night, we walk around with our head lamps and refrain from using any overhead or supplementary lighting.
After our routine chores of washing down the decks, checking for chaffing and potential problems, examining the food stores for mold and spoilage, we spent most of the day just enjoying the ride, reading, listening to music and pod casts, checking email, etc. We used our satellite phone to download some weather information today for the first time. The data rate transmission is pretty slow, so we stopped it after 14 minutes. We got the most pertinent information confirming what we we already were experiencing in terms of the confused seas and the increased wind. The 1016 line has moved down and apparently we are riding it right now. Russ practiced with his sextant today and calculated our position to within 1 mile of our actual GPS latitude and longitude reading. He's getting better. Too many calculations for me, but it's nice to know that if the GPS goes down, Russ can figure out where we are.
All is well on Worrall Wind.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 4, April 10, 2010 - Marquesas Bound.

Passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa, Marquesas
Day 4 - Saturday - April 10, 2010
UTC/GMT: 0340 UTC, 2040 Local
Latitude: 19 07.275 N
Longitude: 108 50.206 W

Conditions:

It's another starlit night with a few clouds along the horizon. It's 78 degrees and 62% humidity. The wind is blowing about 10 knots and the ocean swells are about six feet, very broad and 12 -14 minutes apart. It's a perfect evening, although a little more wind would be nice. I'm sitting in the upper saloon with both of the cabin doors and skylight open. I am technically on watch, but Russ is up with me for awhile. We are currently motoring and charging our batteries. In an hour, we'll turn off the motor, and set the sails for the evening ride, then Russ will retire. Garyn is sleeping and will take over at 2:00 a.m.

Just as the sun went down on Friday night, a boobie and two frigate birds started circling the boat looking for a place to roost. We pulled out the laser pen and were successful for a while shining it at them and preventing them from landing. However, the booby wasn't as stupid as it looked and eventually figured out that if he landed and tucked his head down and didn't look at the laser he would be alright. So he sat on the mast, right on the windex spinning around all night. Garyn was able to keep the frigates off the mizzen for a while, but eventually one of them wised up, landed and didn't seem to care about the red laser anymore. Both birds got a free dry ride all night and rewarded us with poop all over the decks. Garyn got a tired arm and a stiff neck.


It was my night off, so I got to sleep through Friday night. Garyn had the 9-2:00 a.m. watch and Russ had the 2:00-7:00 a.m. watch. The boat had a little wind, and I knew we were happily moving forward under main, mizzen, and jib. At some point in my dreams. I thought I heard voices during Russ's watch, and thought it was Garyn and Russ. Turns out I was hearing voices, but not what I thought.

Russ was on watch and about 4:00 a.m. noticed an AIS (automated information system) target on our navigation screen. We receive AIS transmissions from most commercial ships and many private vessels that alerts us of their course and direction. It logs their marine identifier and displays for us pertinent information such as their name, vessel size, speed, home port, destination, compass heading and bearing, It was a large Japanese tanker coming towards us at 20 nautical miles and hour and our paths were due to intersect within 500 yards. Way to close for comfort. Captain Russ called the tanker on the radio and had a conversation with their bridge. He told them who he was, name of our vessel, position and course, and asked if the tanker could see us? The responder on the bridge must have put Russ on standby and then reported that he did see us….Russ wasn't sure if it was by radar or visual and the radio operator had limited English. The radio operator reported, "I see you, stand your course. I change course." With that, Russ could see that the course bearing for the tanker changed 10 degrees, and they intersected our path several miles away, well in front of us.


When I finally got up in the morning, Garyn and Russ were flying our new gennaker and with 10 knots of consistent 10 knot wind on our beam, we were moving at 4.5 knots! So far that's the record speed for this windless trip. If we hadn't had the gennaker we would have only been moving about 2-3 knots. Most of the morning we had a great wind, then it died out and was wimpy-puffy most of the afternoon. The barometric pressure has been rising from 1012 yesterday, to 1017 this morning and 1018 this afternoon.


Other than our friends the birds, we didn't really see any other wildlife today, not even our pet gecko. After a few chores, we spent the day trying to catch the wind, reading, listening to the audio book, The Fountain Head, and music. Garyn practiced guitar and later we had a late afternoon game of dominoes while pork chops and broccoli au Gratin baked in the oven. We saw another sailboat on the horizon as the sun was descending. We think it was our friend on Aquila, but didn't get any response from any vessel when we hailed them on the VHF on channels 16 and 22. We subscribe to YOTREPS Summary so that we can see the positions of all of the other sailboats on the puddle jump. We have a little YOTREPS reporter program that plots all of the data on a map for us. The only problem is that the boats are all identified by their marine call signs which are not easily recognizable. Ours is WDD8707. So it takes awhile for us to decipher who is who and their position relative to us.


There are two puddle jump nets that we try to listen to. We have not been very successful hearing the evening net and have had more luck in the morning. Since we don't want to run down our batteries, if we don't hear something within the first five minutes, we turn off the radio.


The highlight of our day is getting email via our single side band radio. We are basically alone, so it's nice to hear some occasional news from family and friends. Just remember to keep messages reasonably short with no attachments. The radio wave propagation in this part of the Pacific is not very good. There are only a few times during the day when we can send and receive information at a reasonable speed. 0100 and 1700 GMT. We may choose only one of those times to send and receive. Since everyone is in a different time zone and we will be changing zones, we use GMT as our standard.


As I close out this update, Russ, Garyn, the boobie on our mast and the gecko somewhere on the navigation desk are sound asleep. The stars are twinkling, the water is lapping past our sides as a gentle breeze carries us into the night.


All is well on Worrall Wind.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Marquesas Bound - Days 1-3

Passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa, Marquesas
******************************************************
Day 1 - Wednesday - April 7, 2010
UTC/GMT: 0000 UTC, 12:00 a.m.
Latitude: 20 33.60 N
Longitude: 105 45.63 W
Conditions:
We awoke this morning to a clear sky and a sense of high anticipation. During morning coffee, we busied ourselves with breakfast, listening to the Banderas Bay Cruiser's net and saying our goodbyes, closing hatches, checking weather, taking down and washing all of the mosquito nets from ports and hatches, drying and stowing them away until we reach land again. Our sail rigger arrived around 10:30 to show us how to reef the cutter into a storm sail and how to rig and fly the gennaker.
We cast off from our slip around 11:30 and headed over to the fuel dock where we topped off our fuel tanks with 84 gallons of diesel. In case you're interested, the cost of diesel fuel today was 37.70 pesos per gallon (about $3.02 per gallon).
Our tank holds enough for us to motor 1/3 of the way to Tahiti if we need to.
Our hope of course is to sail most of the way. We cast off from land at 12:12 p.m., motored out of the harbor steering a course of 240 into calm seas and a a very light breeze. We pulled up and stowed all of the bumpers off the stern of the boat and ate lunch waiting for a breeze before raising the sails. By 1:30 the wind had picked up to about 11 knots. We cut the motor, hoisted the main, the mizzen, the jib, and the cutter. The breeze was coming primarily from 35 degrees north, north west and was inconsistent, rising from 11 to 4 knots. Russ and Garyn adjusted the Hydrovane so that the auto helm could free us to attend to other things.
I made soda water with our new soda stream machine and enjoyed an ice cold glass of sparkling water with lime. This was the machine that Garyn brought down by plane, Don from Freezing Rain drove the CO2 cartridges down from Washington to Mexico because they cannot come by air. We wanted soda, but not the bottles or cans so this is an ideal solution for us. However, we thought after all the strategic transportation of the various components, we were to be defeated when we realized there had been no bottle caps shipped with the machine. Fortunately, I was able to secure 1 bottle cap (these are custom designed 1 ¼" and deep), from a fellow cruiser who heard my plea over the cruisers' net. He promised to leave me one of his cap at the La Cruz Harbor Master's office. He was packing up and leaving Mexico for the states in just a few hours. He said it was no trivial matter, but an emergency not to have a cap for our fizzy bottle. He's my hero!
Garyn practiced his guitar, Russ worked on navigation and practicing with his sextant. We worked on attaching knives, lights, and whistles to our flotation devices while keeping watch and adjusting sails and course to the variable winds. The sea swells are about 2-3 feet at a comfortable interval. My plan is to try and post a blog about the same time every day just before sunset. We are coming up now on 5:30 and it's time for me to cook some dinner. Garyn and Russ are going to toss over the water generator and we will see how much it slows us down and how many amps it produces.
I'm holding first watch tonight from 9:00-2:00 a.m. Russ says he will probably stay up with me as he won't be able to sleep the first night. Garyn will come on at 1:00 until 7:00. Each day we will rotate the watches. Every third night, one person will get a full night's rest (this should be Russ's full night of rest). Six hour watches seem a little long to me, but this is what we are going to try and start with.
All is well on Worrall Wind.
*********************************************************
Day 2 - Thursday - April 8, 2010
UTC/GMT: 0714 Friday (4/8) 1:14 a.m.
Latitude: 19 44.631 N
Longitude: 107 06 283 W
Conditions:
It's very dark. Stars twinkle between broken clouds. The wind is shifting around from 60 to 180 degrees off our starboard side, north west to north east at only 3-5 knots. It is inconsistent, but at least we have some. Earlier today we had no winds to speak of. The sea was glassy except for an 8-9 foot swell every 10-11 seconds. Worrall Wind gently rose and fell in the most beautiful clear cobalt blue seas going nowhere fast.
Although we have traveled (tacked over 200 miles, we are only 110 miles out from Mexico, generally heading west, southwest. We are trying to "west" as much as possible hoping to pick up the 1016 barometric pressure gradient as it makes its way south. This pressure gradient will give us a better sail with fewer clouds and percipitation. Our barometric pressure right now is 1010 and rising.
We had a cloudy sunrise this morning after a gentle night at sea. Neither my watch nor Garyn's was remarkable other than we saw a cruise ship on my watch, heading out of Puerto Vallarta and turning north towards Cabo San Lucas and a large tanker that crossed behind me about 7 miles also heading north. On Garyn's watch he picked up the mast lights of another sailboat. Later in the morning we made contact with the boat. It is Mike, single handed, on Aquila, making the jump. At one point our boats were only 50 feet from one another and Mike caught a breeze and pulled ahead as we were virtually drifting in circles trying to catch some breeze.
Garyn and Russ raised the gennaker (an asymetricalcruising spinnaker) today for the first time. It's a bright red star pattern on a white background and is extremely light weight. It is intended to work well in light winds. Our course this morning was too close to the little wind that we had and we had beam swells and the wind spilled out of the sail as we rolled with the swell.
It was like watching a big lung exhale and inhale…quite mesmerizing, but we were too close to the wind with no more speed than we were getting with our jib, so we took it down and decided to turn on the motor a bit, run the water maker and recharge our batteries after the morning net and sail mail transmission on our single side band gobbled up the amps.
We left Mike behind us, but I am sure he will catch up with us as his boat is lighter weight and not the heavy slug we are. (Our water line that we raised 4 inches last summer is slightly under the water now.) I hope that once we are more comfortable flying the gennaker we can take better advantage of the light winds and actually make good forward progress when we get into the trades and the wind is off our beam and stern quarter.
We saw lots of sea life today. Early in the morning, we saw a pod of dolphins. Mola mola, a small ray, and a frolicking seal. Later we noticed what looked like marine helmets shining on top of the water. We sailed by a half dozen sea turtles gentle floating on top of the waves seemingly confident that we would dodge around them…and we did.
When we scraped our plates overboard, boobies appeared from nowhere within minutes. Fortunately, none have tried to roost and poop on the boat. Just as the sun went down, there was a little sparrow sitting on our porta bote, happy to have a dry place to land so far out from land. With our motor on and some forward movement, flying fish scattered out from our bow like starbursts in front of us. I saw a couple of big splashes, but not sure what made them.
We enjoyed salami and cheese on the last of the French bread from Puerto Vallarta. For dinner I fixed tomato and avocado stuffed with tuna salad. Russ and I shared the glass of chilled white wine so that we could get the bottle out of the fridge. We are trying to drink a lot of liquid every day. Garyn drinks primarily water. Russ likes lemonade and berry drinks. I love the sparkling water and of course the morning coffee.
Tonight Garyn gets the full night rest. Russ had the 9:00-1:00 a.m. watch, and I have the 2:00 to dawn watch. It is currently 4:00 a.m. in the morning and time for me to make some notations in the log. We are currently getting a nice steady breeze of about 8 knots so we are making some progress.
All is well on Worrall Wind.
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Day 3 - Friday - April 9, 2010
UTC/GMT: 0430 4/9/20 7\30 p.m.
Latitude: 19 51.463 N
Longitude: 107 33.376 W
Conditions:
It is late in the day and the sun is making its descent as we motor directly into it. The winds have been extremely low and we have made paltry forward progress since 12:00 a.m. this morning.of only 45 nautical miles (averaging less than 2 knots an hour). The sea turtles were swimming faster. The current was actually pushing us backwards. It's been overcast so our solar panels and water generator were not producing enough amps, so at 6:00 this evening we turned on the motor to charge the batteries and to make a little forward progress before the sun goes down. The wind sometimes comes up at night and sometimes it doesn't. We have gentle swells, hardly any wind, and at this report the westward sky is cloudy (should make a terrific sunset) and the northern sky is clear of clouds.
I was on watch from 1:30 to 8:00 a.m. this morning. As we go further west, the sun didn't rise until almost 8:00. It was pitch black at 7:00 a.m. Around 7:00 a.m. I noticed on our navigation screen that a huge tanker was comingin our direction traveling at 12 knots and would pass behind us as close as 1 mile within 1 hour and 45 minutes. I couldn't see the tanker in the dark. The wind had shifted around from the South east running us north. I needed to gybe the boat to go south, but that would have put me in the path of the tanker if the wind picked up. I just decided to let us drift back in the direction we came until I got a visual on the tanker. By the time Russ and Garyn got up, we made the decision to gybe and parallel the tanker's course. It passed along our side within 2 miles. On the San Francisco Bay 2 miles is nothing, but in this huge ocean, 2 miles seems right in your face!
Another tanker, the Hanjin of San Francisco passed us on the starboard side. We decided we must be in the north bound shipping lane - of course nothing is marked on our charts. Due to the morning excitement and a pot of watch coffee, I was still wide awake, so I decided to make breakfast for everyone. We had an oven omelet stuffed with bacon, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.
Garyn and I worked in the galley airing out fruits and vegetables. The air temp has been in the mid 70's. The water temperature is 80 degrees. Consequently the hold is not a good place for the vegetables, too warm and moist. We dried out the moist veggies and hung everything in net bags all through the lower saloon on the hand rails and opened the ports. Fruit and veggies are much happier.
Wild life today has been limited to leaping dolphins, swooping boobies, and a stow away gecko that is living on the nav desk in the fuse panel. We're worried he won't find any no-seeums or mosquitoes to eat since we have left land. Hopefully he survives the trip. Maybe we can train him to eat salami and hot dogs.
We spent the day reading, listening to music and hand steering in the light wind trying to capture every little puff of wind. We are listening to the Fountain Head by Ayn Rand. The sea and wind was calm enough this evening to pull out the bar-b-que and grill some hamburgers and chilies stuffed with swiss cheese. There's got to be an upside to the lazy sail. Our grib files indicate that we are in a no wind zone and that in a day or two we should have a more consistent wind. We are looking forward to swifter forward progress.
Garyn and I just photographed the setting sun. Beautiful, but no green flash tonight. Our days are book ended by sunrises and sunsets.
All is well on Worrall Wind.