Monday, April 11, 2016

Moonshadow’s Day 12 Passage Report

1900 zulu, April 11, 2016
00 deg. 54.8 min. SOUTH!
127 degrees 37.644 min. West
Wind SE AT 9 knots
Sea conditions ENE swell 3’
Sky condition 100% blue sky

1900 zulu 24 hour distance covered: 140 nautical miles
Total distance from La Cruz: 1839 nautical miles
Total distance remaining: 889 nautical miles

After a glorious night in my new favorite spot for star watching on the planet, Deb came on watch for her turn at star gazing. Before I went to sleep we guessed the crossing of the equator would happen before dawn so agreed to put off the celebration till a more decent hour. But I just had to get up to see the GPS chart plotter position tick down to 00 degrees 00.000 minutes. Which I did at 0545 local time, then went back to bed.

After breakfast we moved up to Moonshadow’s bow for the celebrations. We started with Tequila from Mexico, dribbled a bit in the Pacific for King Neptune, a bit on Moonshadow’s bow, a bit on the dinghy, and drained the last down our throats. Next we popped the cork on a bottle of French Champaign for French Polynesia, and repeated the process, but a lot more of the champagne made it down our throats!

So Deb is now officially a “Shellback”, which I think allows her to swagger and act like she’t hot shit. I mean more hot shit that she already was before. We are pretty, pretty darn stoked to pass this milestone and have such a fine day.

After the champagne was gone, we set the spinnaker and enjoyed 3-4 hours of spinnaker reaching in flat water. The wind never shifted in direction or strength, so we were able to tie off the sheets and nap in the cockpit. Later the wind died so down came the chute and the rest of the day as been spent motor sailing under jib and full main.

We are getting much more sailable conditions than we thought we’d see in the doldrum zone, so quite happy about that. Also, we calculate that running the main engine at 1200 RPM (vs. the normal 8 knot cruise at 2100) gives us about 5.5 knots in smooth going and burns just 1.36 gph (vs ~2.5 gph at normal 8 knot cruise). This has given the captain a bit of relief from the worry of running out of fuel in the doldrums and starving to death out here. Actually, that could never happen because Moonshadow has so much food, we could probably eat in style for a year. For example, tonight it was Costco Filet Mignon, and baked potatoes (still celebrating!).

Next milestone will be watching for the GPS chart plotter to estimate our time of arrival at less than 99.99 hours (the display reads blank for higher values) or just over four days. Knowing a bit about how this works, the display will show 99 hours or so, then go blank if we slow down a little bit, then return with some number, go blank and repeat this a half dozen times before finally we are solidly within the 99 hour limits. This is what we do. There’s no Facebook out here.

So that’s our day: Equator tequila shots in the morning, spinnaker flying in the afternoon, steak at night.

All is GOOD aboard Moonshadow!

John and Deb
SV Moonshadow

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