Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 1 - Slow and Bouncy

Well - we have survived our first 24 hours at sea. Both of us are on board and still on speaking terms!

We left Los Frailes (pos 23 40 N 109 30 W) at 7:30 yesterday (March 20) with a very nice following breeze of 12-18 knots. We polled out the jib and for a few hours ran south in the company of Xe (pronounced Jay but with a soft 'J' almost like Che Guevera). This large aluminum French yacht has twin head sails set on roller furlers and twin poles to hold them out. She started after us but after a couple of hours was abeam moving at about 7 knts to our 5.5 to 6. The wind then died down and the seas began to lump up, running from opposite directions as we neared Cabo San Lucas and the open Pacific. Xe took down her sails and motored off into the hazy distance while we tightened in our sails and continued for a couple of hours at about 3 kts. We saw a full grown humpback whale spy hopping repeatedly and others swimming in the distance. Eventually the wind died down almost completely and we took down the sails and motored into a very rough and confused sea. The motor is running much more smoothly, so it looks like our re-alignment, while not perfect, has fixed the major vibration issue. Our 'new' autopilot, which we assembled from parts of an old broken ST 1000 and another unreliable ST 2000 donated by a friend, was able to handle the confused seas with no issues. It is really nice to have self steering now when the wind dies out (for the last 3 years we have had only wind vane self-steering).

Around supper time, the winds came up from the south west and were able to hoist full sail and beat south again. Position reports on the Pacific Puddle Jump radio net from boats further ahead of us mentioned higher westerly winds, and sure enough as the night wore on the wind began to clock around into the west and then the north west, where it remains now. The seas were very lumpy all night with the boat rolling every few seconds through 20 degrees or so.

We kept 3+ hour watches last night with Rani doing 10-1:20, I did 1:20 to 4:45 and Rani 4:45 to 6:45. Rani is now trying to catch up on lost sleep.

At 7:30 am (24 hours out) our position was 22 03 N 110 25 W (degrees and minutes - 60 minutes in a degree). You can read our previous blog entry for a way to plot our progress on paper if you are interested. We made ran 106 nautical miles in this period with an average speed of about 4.4 knots. We had 5 hours of decent winds over 10 knots, 5 of near calm, 8 of light (5 knots or less) winds, and 6 of slightly less light 6-8 knot winds. Swells have been between 4 and 6 feet.

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