Saturday, April 2, 2016

Moonshadow’s Day 3 Passage Report

1900 zulu, April 2, 2016
15 deg. 08.134 minutes North
113 deg. 15.446 minutes West
Wind 12-15 at 035 mag. (NE)
Sea conditions 2-3' north swell with 2-3' wind waves
Sky broken 15% cloud
1900 zulu 24 hour distance covered: 177 nautical miles
Total distance from La Cruz: 564 nautical miles
Distance remaining: 2,126 nautical miles

Each day, the wind has clocked (meaning veered clockwise) about 30 degrees so our wind has moved from NW to N to NE. Since our direction of travel is roughly Southwest, the NE wind is right on our stern. Everybody says "May the wind be at your back…", but unless it's really blowing hard, that wish, though well intentioned, really means "May you go slow…".

Suppose the wind is blowing 12 knots and you are riding you bike into the wind at 12 knots. Your hair will be blown straight back in what your hair thinks is 24 knots of wind. Now turn around and ride with that 12 knot wind, suddenly you need to take off all your clothes because it's so hot and you feel no wind at all. So here's Moonshadow struggling with "wind at our back", but not nearly enough of it to do the 8 knots like we've been doing the previous days.

We have been able to keep Moonshadow moving though, just not exactly straight at the Marquesas. By steering more westerly, we are able to sail faster and keep our average speed up, but the rate at which we're closing in on the the Marquesas has suffered. This is probably only going to get worse for the next few days as the further south we go, the further away from the high pressure system (located somewhere between California and Hawaii) we get. That high pressure system is our wind engine right now.

Does all this mean we're not having a ball? Hell no. It probably doesn't get any better than this on any passage. And we're still getting closer to paradise every day. No whining from the Moonshadow crew. One thing though: Next time you wish someone well, maybe say "May the wind always be at your back, and a little from the side."

Cheers form Moonshadow.

John and Deb

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