Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 2 on our Southern Ocean Crossing

By Larry, Sun Nov 3

We've now been at sea about 50 hours and have only45% or 350nm left to go on the Great Circle route. The seas have been moderate and we've been able to power into them without too much pounding. We have only the 2nd reef in on the mainsail and but we are not using the staysail since it would mean sailing further angles from the wind. With the motor in 20 knots of breeze, we are able to sail 35 degrees from the wind at about 7.8 knots or about 5.5 knots Velocity Made Good on Course (VMC). The forecast is for the wind to increase to about 35-40 knots from the West, so making good time prior to the arrival of the front will pay off in less miles sailed when we have to start tacking back and forth to get to Stanley.

The waves and wind are picking up a bit now (white caps every where) and spray being blown onto the doghouse where we sit comfortably bouncing up and down. Its fantastic to see about 50-100 Albatross, Petrels and Terns following us and swooping low to see if we have any food that churns up in our wake. Earlier we sat outside in the cold just to watch them soar so effortlessly. I think I saw the Albatross flap its wings 3 times yesterday when I watched for an hour, but the wind was under 10 knots. Now they don't flap at all, just glide up over the wave tops, catch some up drafts of air currents near the crest of the wave, pop up about 30 ft and then use that potential energy to accelerate further away until they come back down to the water and use the water as a ground effect to get better lift, soaring through the trough to catch the next up draft. They do this for hours and days and weeks at a time! Such a contrast to sailing to Bermuda and having one very tired bird landing on our boat 200 miles out and hitching a ride home to Bermuda. There just aren't these kind of birds out in the open ocean in the North Atlantic.

The forecast says the front and more wind and waves will come to us from the Drake Passage mid afternoon and then the wind will go from West to WNW. We'll be changing our course to stay about 35 degrees from the wind and then eventually tack back towards the SW. We tack on about 75 degrees with the motor on and about 120 degrees with the motor off. As the wind and sea state come up for the next few days we will be doing much sailing at the wider angles and sail a lot more distance. So despite the fact that we've come more than halfway in 2days, we still have at least three days to go.

Everyone is feeling good onboard and enjoying our watches, talking, reading, reviewing our picture collections. It's a nice time for contemplation as we sail slowly home. It will be 10 days to get all the way home from South Georgia. In this day and age, that's pretty a remote.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your posts! We are really enjoying reading about your adventure, and look forward to a great slide show!
    Jenny in San Jose