Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Third of the way to the Marquesas

Another great day's sailing, with a pleasant 10-15 knots of wind and moderate sea. We've changed from a broad-reach to downwind sailing, with the Genoa polled out on the opposite side to the main. This is the first sail change for two days, quite different from the Atlantic, when we seemed to have little free time between sail-changes in response to passing squalls.

We've been making use of the spare time to catch up on some boat jobs. Ellen spent the day cleaning; firstly treating herself to a cockpit shower, then some vital laundry (I'm writing this in clean pants) and finally cleaning the cockpit. I continued my campaign to eradicate creaks which are especially noticeable on downwind passages as Kika rolls in the swell. I also did some cartography. We miss having a usable scale chart to plot our progress. We have a chart which covers the Americas to Australia and results in depressing little difference between each day's noon plot. So, today I made our own Galapagos to the Marquesas chart with an enlarged scale. The cartography is straight-forward; it's all sea apart from a small blob representing Fatu Hiva - our destination in the Marquesas. I chose 1cm = 1degree for the longitude scale. For a Mercator projection chart the latitude scale is the secant (reciprocal of cos) of the degrees of latitude multiplied by the longitude scale, however as we're at the equator 1deg latitude is equal to 1deg longitude. The chart works well; we now make at least 2cm each day, much more satisfying than the 5mm progress we made on the old chart.

Encouraged by the old sailing hands on Zefferin we tucked into flying fish for breakfast - fresh from the nightly crop which land on our deck. Unfortunately last night we only found one, so although it was delicious it wasn't particularly filling. I confidently put our fishing line out around 11am, anticipating fresh fish for lunch. Sure enough 11.30am the clicking winch alerted us to a bite, but by the time we'd organised ourselves, we'd lost the fish and lure. So canned tuna salad for lunch. I put a new stronger line back in this evening and within half an hour we had a beautiful 25inch dorado in the cockpit and fresh filleted fish for supper.

Another difference between the Atlantic and this crossing is the lack of physical milestones; for the Atlantic we had clearing the Canaries, reaching the Cape Verde Islands, arriving at the trade wind belt, Christmas etc. Here we need to create our own, so today's milestone: we have less than 2000 miles to go; we're a third of the way there already.

Position @ 19:30 UTC: S05°39' W105°04'
Daily distance run: 159
Distance to go: 1957
Cumulative distance: 902
Engine hours:0
Wind: ESE 10-15knots
Weather: moderate sea, clear skies, 1012 millibars

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