Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sunburn, spinnakers, and reverse osmosis - Day 16

The sun at 4 degrees latitude is dangerously strong. It has been so hot and humid that we are down to our underwear. I have rather badly burned the top of my legs after very brief (pun intended) exposure. We rigged the small cockpit awning that allows us to sail with it up to get some relief from the rays, but later had to strike it due to squalls.

The day began with very light NE winds, which pushed us along at 4 knots broad reaching. Our starboard water tank ran dry, so we realized it was time to bring the water maker back into service (it had been 'pickled' with sodium metabisulphite back around Christmas). The water maker does not like rough seas or fast sailing, getting air bubbles in the system. This causes the 800 psi pressure required for the reverse osmosis to work to drop to about 200 psi, so we sailed the whole morning at an increasingly sedate pace, making about 20 gallons of water in 3 hours.

Around noon we took another sextant sight. This time, the sun passed behind us as we headed south while I was taking the sites - a very strange feeling to have it go to the north of us. Our location was only within 7 miles of the GPS one on this sight - again our longitude was good (within a mile or to), but our latitude off. Not sure what I am doing wrong, but hope that further practice will get us a bit closer.

By early afternoon, the wind was down even further and we had perfect conditions for a spinnaker run. We hoisted the cruising chute for the first time on this crossing and our speed immediately returned to 4+ knots. We spent the afternoon rolling down toward the equator with the big red and white balloon gracefully towing us along. Unfortunately all good things must end and around supper time, we ran under another line of towering cumulus clouds filled with rain and wind. I held onto the chute until the last minute, raising Rani's blood pressure, but just before the first squall we doused it with its snuffing sock and re-hoisted main and jib.

All last night we had very light winds from the east and south east with a few squalls. The first major squall was enough for another cockpit shower - a welcome relief after sweating for 2 days in 90 degree heat!

Our position at 14:30 zulu on April 5 was N 03 19 W 129 33. We ran 99 NMs making good 93 toward our equator crossing point (199 miles to go!).

1 comment:

Randall Reeves said...

Hey Chris and Rani. I know you won't see this till Hiva Oa, but am loving following you. Great going!

Re sites, very interesting to "pass under the sun" isn't it? Your lat shots could be off simply because of this difficulty in finding where it is N/S. ?

Keep on trucking!