Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day One back at Sea

By Larry, Sat Nov 2

We left Prion Island and Rosita Harbor yesterday morning and are now 24 hours into our sail back home. We sailed (and motor-sailed) along the rest of the North East coast but it got quite foggy and we couldn't more than a few boat lengths. We decided to go through the small cut at Bird Island. The waves were breaking white in the middle of the channel and we nearly backed out, but since Magnus had marked his track on the way through in calmer weather, we just stuck to that trail on the chart. Here in the south, the land and other features are never exactly placed on the chart. They are always a bit off as are the depths. So in a low visibility area, we have to be doubly careful running radar and charts to see the errors. But when it comes to close quarters there is no substitute for having been there in calm water and taken your own soundings for future reference. As we went through this narrows were able to see the land on both sides, but just barely. The sea state was worse than out side because there was a current charging through the narrows in the opposite way to the waves, making the waves steep and breaking. We made it through, saw a few more albatross soaring around the narrows and off we sailed, next stop Port Stanley in about 5 days.

The weather on our first day back at sea was 15-20 knots of wind nearly dead ahead, so I did a routing optimization based on our forecast and the boat speed for any point of sail and windspeed. It suggested we head a bit north of the straight-line distance. In fact in a sail of 750nm, the straight line distance is a misnomer, since it is really a great circle of the earth (defined by three points: the start, finish and the center of the earth's sphere). Where this plane defined by the three points cuts the surface of the globe is the great circle route or shortest distance. It appears to be curved to the south here by about 30nm from a straight line drawn on the map.

Luckily for now, the seas are down to only about 6-12 feet so we sail close to the wind or straight into it with our motor on for now. As soon as the wind comes back to about 70 degrees from the course we hope to achieve, then we can sail and turn off the motor. The forecast shows we are going to get 35-40 knots later in the trip and it will be blowing "straight from the pub door" to make a harder to get there. So for now we'll go straight along the great circle route until the wind is stronger.

We're each taking a 4 hour watch twice a day. We can really notice that the day has gotten about a hour longer since we sailed out. As we settle into our lives at sea, we see some penguins swimming and some fur seals sleeping with one fin up in the air and then when they hear us, they start flippering up and down over the surface like dolphins. The sun just came out and we're sailing in glorious conditions now.

Its time to get the next forecast file to see if there is anything to change in our routing. My job is to make sure we are in Stanley before Sat morning, Nov 9 since the planes only leave the Falklands once a week on Saturday afternoon.


No comments:

Post a Comment