Day 9: 1200 miles done!

1200 nautical miles done (as the crow flies) from La Cruz in Mexico and around 1700 to go. We are now definitely in the groove of things.

Caught 2 mahi mahi yesterday, catching 7 fish in total.. The PPJ average is 2 from previous years, so we are well ahead. We did lose our favourite cedar plug lure for tuna a couple of days ago, so that may put a damper on our catch rate..

Cyrille who has been battling seasickness since we left Mexico seems to be over the hump. He cooked up some Arrachera tacos in the galley in a really bumpy sea with 6ft wind waves at around 7 seconds. Neptune will be happy!

We finally had our showers yesterday, but we couldn’t use the solar shower because it has been completely overcast for the last three days!! If I knew they had english weather in the tropics, I wouldn’t have come! It looks like there is a upper level high pressure ridge that seems to accelerating the normal convention process that creates the tradewind cumulus. In the tropics the warm water at night heats up the air creating low pressure as it rises to make tradewind cumulus. Looks the high pressure aloft is creating a bigger differencial, creating a lot more clouds. At least that’s my theory. Last night at 9pm the sky was completely clear, and then 30 minutes later it was completely overcast… On second thought it must be the aliens creating all this cloud cover to hide their saucers 🙂

Oh and another bird attacked our wind generator and crash landed on the boat this morning.. It then decided to make a nest in the cockpit at which point Glenda grabbed it by the neck and gave it a good sending off. It’s amazing to see birds out here at least a 1000 miles from the nearest land..

All is well and enjoying the rock with the roll

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 6: UFO sighting!

Sighted a UFO last night on my watch! I saw two-three bright lights descend behind the clouds. Initially I thought it may have been shooting stars but it obviously was a UFO. I thought aliens liked the midwest, but I guess the middle of the pacific is getting fashionable as well. I think I must have also been abducted because I didn’t smell too good today. The fact that we haven’t showered in 6 days couldn’t have anything to do with it.

We actually decided today was going to be shower day, just in time to get rid of my Alien abduction stench.. but it was overcast all day. We were planning to use a solar shower at the mast. A dastardly upper level ridge has created so much cloud cover, the sun can’t get in edgeways. Shower day is pospone until further notice 🙁

We did get a fat tuna this morning to compliment the 3 bonitos we caught last night. Cyrille filleted them, Glenda cooked up fish tacos for lunch and I cooked up a spicy indian curry with the remaining fillets. We may be dirty, but we are fat and happy!

All is well and enjoying the rock with the roll

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 5: Angry Birds in the pacific

Three days in a row we have had birds try to land on top of the mast and on the our spreaders.. Yesterday we had 10 birds all trying to get on, they actually damaged one of our wind indicator tips. It still works, but it’s going to be a trip up the mast when we get to the Marquesas. One also dove into our wind generator.. Reminds me of the Hitchcock movie Birds!

Glenda saw two ships this morning. Luckily they were on AIS, so we able to determine their direction and speed easily.

We are now about 600 miles from Banderas bay and about 1100 miles to our waypoint (O5N130W) at the Doldrums..

All is well and enjoying the rock with the roll

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 4: Caught two fish today!

Had a nice surprise this morning when I got up for my watch.. A nice yellow fin tuna about 2 feet long was trailing off one of our lures. Fish tacos for lunch today, yippee!! Glenda discovered a flying fish had landed on deck on her night watch, but it was too small to eat. She threw in back in..

Getting into the daily routine now that we are on day 4. Yesterday, we had Cafe Del Mar playing all day, which really seem to go with the rhythm of the wind and swell.. Actually, we are The Cafe del Mar since we have plenty of mar and have a french press to make good cafe 🙂

So far we have done around 500 nautical miles, averaging about 150 miles a day. We are officially now in the NE trades which look very developed. We were broad reaching at 7.5 knots yesterday evening with 2 reefs in the main and 80% jib in about 18-20 knots of breeze! So much for trying to slow the boat down for the night!

[Post by HF radio email]

… and we are off.. bye bye mexico, hello big blue!

Just cast off our lines from the dock at Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta! Jeez, the butterflies must have mating been like crazy 🙂 The next piece of land we will step on will be Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas!

P3230778

Spot the new short haircuts.. Cyrille's hairdresser obviously had bad eyesight or something..

We will be posting updates to our position on the link "Where are we?" on my blog. Will also be posting updates to the blog using high frequency radio e-mail!

 

Prepping to cross the pacific ocean

Haven’t posted on the blog for while.. alas was not slacking with a passion fruit margaritas on the beach.. Been too busy prepping the boat for the pacific crossing from Mexico to the Marquesas islands in french polynesia. The passage, the longest ocean crossing is affectionately called the “puddle jump” ie the pacific is the "puddle", just like the Atlantic is the “pond”.. This puddle however is slighty bigger than your average puddle. It’s 3000 nautical miles to cross it!!

Since february we have been busting butt preparing the boat, from getting a rigger to check our rig and steering to giving the engine a full service, to installing fans, to buying tonnes of snickers bars to put in the grab bag.. The to do list was 156 items long, now down to less than 20, but probably won’t get everything done. At some stage you just have to go..

We have been attending many of the pacific puddle jump rally events and even got written up in the march issue of Latitude 38!

  Lat38_march

The full article can be downloaded here: http://www.latitude38.com/eBooks/2011/L38201103.pdf

Glenda our third crewmember joined the boat in early feb and we sailed down to Barra and Manzanillo (post coming soon). We used the opportunity to put up the storm jib, drogue, emergency steering, 3rd reef, heaving to etc. to be ready for anything Neptune throws at us. 

The master plan for the crossing..

Got to have a plan, but with sailing the plan is always expected to change..ie plan and then plan for the plan to change 🙂

Route

Here is the route with a GRIB overlay showing the current trade wind direction and strengths all the way to the Marquesas.

The trades typically start about two days out from the mexico mainland so we need a low pressure system in california to give us decent wind to get to trades. We don't want to use any our 60 gallons of diesel until we get to the convergence zone (doldrums) near the equator. Our solar panels and wind generator should give us enough juice to power the boat without using the engine alternator.

Once we reach the trades, we will be sailing on a broad reach probably gybing every few days, down to a target waypoint at 130°W and 5°N. We will be plotting the convergence zone coordinates every day from the high seas forecast so that we can find a good place to cross with minimal convection. Before 130°W we will turn down dead south to cross the convergence zone which should be no more than 150 miles wide, about 24 hours of motoring. And then when we find the south east trades we will be on the final leg, a beam reach to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas!

Pp2_great_circle

Visual passage planner which uses Stop's data and historical wind and current pilot chart data to calculate the passage time says we will do it 21 days at average of 5 knots if we follow the great circle route between the waypoints.  

Passage Information:

General Information

Data

Calculated Great Circle Distance:

2789.0 NM

Calculated Rhumbline Distance:

2789.7 NM

Elapsed Time to Complete Passage:

21.4 Days

Fuel Consumption:

0.0 Units

Average Boat Speed:

5.4 Knots

Boat Speed Made Good:

5.4 Knots

   

Apparent Wind Angle Information:

Numbers indicate percent of leg sailed at that column's relative wind angle.  Relative wind angle given is the direction from which the wind comes.

Leg #

Beating (Apparent wind 0° to 45°)

Tight Reaching (Apparent wind 45° to 112.5°)

Broad Reaching (Apparent wind 112.6° to 157.5°)

Running (Apparent wind 157.6 to 180)

1

0% at 0 Knots

18% at 10.4 Knots

27% at 11.4 Knots

55% at 15.5 Knots

2

0% at 11.2 Knots

100% at 9.9 Knots

0% at 0 Knots

0% at 0 Knots

3

0% at 0 Knots

39% at 14.6 Knots

61% at 12.5 Knots

0% at 0 Knots

          

Leg 1 Wind and Storm Predictions (Mexico to convergence zone)

Wind angle provided is the direction from which the wind comes.

Wind and Storm Information

Data

Average Wind Speed:

13.5 Knots

Average Wind Direction from TRUE North:

026 Degrees

Average Percent Chance of Calms:

1.2

Average Percent Chance of Gales:

0.2

    

Leg 3 Wind and Storm Predictions (Convergence zone to the Marquesas)

Wind angle provided is the direction from which the wind comes.

Wind and Storm Information

Data

Average Wind Speed:

13.3 Knots

Average Wind Direction from TRUE North:

108 Degrees

Average Percent Chance of Calms:

1.0

Average Percent Chance of Gales:

0.0

Minimal chance of gales which is always a good thing! Since the wind directions on leg 1 won't allow us to broadreach straight down, we will be gybing every few days which means leg 1 will take a little longer. Here is a another prediction assuming a couple of gybes to keep us on a broad reach on leg 1.

General Information

Data

Calculated Great Circle Distance:

2998.1 NM

Elapsed Time to Complete Passage:

23.6 Days

Fuel Consumption:

0.0 Units

Average Boat Speed:

5.3 Knots

Boat Speed Made Good:

5.3 Knots

23.6 days to a wonderful landfall in Nuku Hiva! So hopefully we will do it between 21 and 24 days. This year is also a La Nina year with stronger trade winds predicted, so we may even do it in less.. 

Goodbyes

We left La Cruz on Sat, our home for the last few weeks and got a chance to say goodbye to our friends

With_liberty

Partying with Russ and Kaersten on Liberty at the St Patrick's day party in Bucerias. They gave us a equator crossing survival package which we can only open when we are at the equator.. Hope they didn't shove neptune in there, he won't be too happy when he comes out..

With touchrain

Goodbye to Michael and Jordy (the dog) on Touchrain who are making the jump to Hawaii with Michael's wife Jan. They are then heading all the way up to Alaska!

With noho'ana

Short farewell to Peter and Heather on Noho'ana who are making the jump as well, leaving a little later than us in April. Looking forward to seeing them in French polynesia.

Stops

The Sudden Stops Necessary dream team for the pacific crossing. Cyrille, Chet and Glenda sporting the latest and greatest fashion attire to hit the catwalks in Milan… Puddle Jump T-shirts!

Ok, time to get back to the prepping.. only a couple of days to go before we leave.. butterflies..