Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I don't think this is the Trades but it sure feels like it

Weds 12/7/2011 1300z 1400 local
Position 24-55.668N 20-19.062 W
Winds 090 20kts Seas 6-10'

Our route from Europe to the Caribbean is no accident. It is following the classic route sailed since the days of Columbus. The winds at this point on earth blow generally from East to West just as in the Northern Hemisphere they blow from West to East. To sail from Europe to the New World the classic rule is to "head south till the butter melts" then turn west as by then you should reach the Trade winds, those winds that blow from East to West. Of course no rule is absolute and weather is never 100% consistent. The old timers had to rely on the classic rules. In this day of weather forecasting however we rely on the experts to help route us to find the best winds at the shortest distance. To that end, our forecast told us we didn't need to head as far south before making our turn west to find winds that will carry us to Grenada, possibly saving us 300 miles in the process. So based upon their advice we set a waypoint of 25N and 20W to head to from Tenerife, and once we hit that point we would turn west and run the rumb line to Grenada. We hit our waypoint today around noon thirty, and then turned about 30 degrees west and we are headed on the great circle route to our destination.

For those with Sailing Knowlege:

The winds on this trip have been very cooperative thus far. Today after making our turn we are close to running dead down wind so we just got done setting our two headsails. It is quite a sight to see. We set 2 big jibs on a single furler and one is poled out to weather with the whisker pole and the other is held out with a sheet running thru a snatch blog on the boom which is set out to leeward to act as a quasi whisker pole. With the 20kts winds, the 10 foot swells, we are at times surfing down some of the waves at 10kts. And it is an easily controlled rig. Should we run into any squalls we can easily shorten or douse the sails by furling the headsails all or partway.

For my non sailing friends:

The above means we have two big white sails flying at the front of the boat. One on the right side and one on the left. It is quite pretty, makes us go fast, and is safe.

Today is Jens day to cook and we are going to have roast chicken for dinner. All of us are eagerly looking forward to dinner. Tomorrow is my turn and I think she will be a hard act to follow.

Since setting the new foresails the motion of the boat has calmed down some. The last couple of days we have been rolling quite a bit, especially to the port side, and at times moving about down below has been quite challenging.

The weather continues to be sunny days with puffy clouds, cooler nights with a waxing moon. Each day gets a bit warmer as we continue to journey south, but so far it is not uncomfortable down below. I have a feeling in a week or so it will be warm enough to be harder to sleep below during the day.

Our trip meter shows 2,476 miles to go to Grenada, and about 320 miles made good in that direction. A positive way to look at it is we are 13% of the way towards or destination.

We have now crossed into a new time zone but are not moving the ships clock forward. What that means is slowly we will be going onto a super daylight savings time as we keep crossing time zones. Thank god my watch is a chronometer so I can set the local time on one setting and the ships time on another. It is 4hr time difference from zulu that we are staying to to Grenada time so by the time we get to Grenada the sun will be rising at 11am or so, and setting at 10pm ish.

Charlie and Jen are an excellent addition to the crew. They are both very knowledgeable, full time cruisers and a lot of fun. They will certainly help us pass the time even faster.

Well that is about all to report from here for now. We continue rocking and rolling our way south west at a nice clip.

Till next time.

At 12/7/2011 06:34 UTC saling vessel JAY SEA DEE was at 25°19.33'N 019°23.35'W sailing at 7.1 knots on a course of 238T

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