We would have to say that EVERYONE we have spoken to over the years who has done this trip, is of the opinion that this is THE best sailing in THE world!! It is even documented as such. SE winds clear skies!
On closer examination, Cornell (Jimmy fame) says that you need to stay north of the 3 degrees south and 100 west corner as there is significant convection from 3 south to 8 south until 100W. We can indeed confirm this! However, it appears that this year it is extending to 120 W, just short of the Marquesas!! We also expected positive current on departing Galapagos, however we did not find this until after 3 degrees south, which left us motoring along with 1 knot against us.
We departed Galapagos on March 27 in loose company with two other Australian Boats, Red Sky and Shweetie (they are about 80 miles ahead of us). We have all bought our boats in the Americas recently. Leaving too soon after equinox was possible not a good idea, but then again, a week later the weather pattern has not changed significantly. We want to be a little head of the pack of 200 or so yachts crossing the Pacific this year. We are doing twice daily HF scheds with Red SKy and once daily with all the other yachts doing the same passage.
We did manage to get some fuel before leaving Isabela, not an easy task there. A knock on the hull at 2000 hours and presto, we had some young men you would get us fuel. 1/3 of the price of what we could buy it for in the Galapagos. Peter asked if it was clean..their response translated along the lines of absolutely, it is new fuel, never been used!!! Unfortunately we could have taken another 60 or so litres, but we did not have enough jerry jugs. Maybe we should have got them to do two runs...
We have already had to motor too much and we are only 1/3 of the way..almost!!
We did get some great winds for 4 days which pushed us south into the 'no go' zone. Not so bad as we started achieving 140 mile days. Eventually we got caught in a low..tons of rain and shades of grey..not so much wind, but from every direction possible. During our torrential down pour, Peter was sitting on the cockpit sole reading. Our bimini, being quite old, is not exactly water proof! Exhausting sailing,trying to keep the boat moving. We missed the worse as Red Sky and Shweetie spent one night in chunder and frightening, with the frightening striking all around them! In the end we realised the low had passed us (face the wind and put your left arm out kinda measurement). Grib files are a little inaccurate at times! We get Bob McDavitt's weekly weather gram (NZ weather guru) which gives a precis of the Southern Pacific and he has given us some directions for our passage, but not very accurate. We have had it all; stars, blue sky and no wind; cloud, grey skies, wind and rain; some nice winds and cloud. Now we choose clear skies, lots of stars and fair winds!
So today, we have clearer skies and heading SW. Apparently more consistent SE winds south of 6 degrees..so we just have to get there!! We are not bored yet having lots of reading, scrabble, story books and cooking. We will have mid-day movies when there is lots of sun for the solar panels!
Some of the yachts have gone down to 10 S then run square in 15 to 30 knots and 3m swell plus sea. Why go down there to do 7 knots reefed down when we could stay higher and achieve the same speeds in more comfort and with more control on your angle of sail?? I guess the secret is having wind...which we should have more of from tomorrow! We are making our way to 5 south.
At the end of week 1, we have only done 786 nm with 2169 miles to go!!! We have lots of fresh food as we went to a farm in Isabela with the other two yachts and walked around picking fruit and vege from the garden. All organic and grown symbiotically, with marigolds used to deter pests. Bananas are actually banana flavoured! 20 bananas for $1.50 and 3 bags of produce for $10!!!
We live in hope of this dream sail that everyone talks about!!
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