Monday, October 10, 2011

Ignorance is Speed

Distance: 165/453/1347 Vava'u to Auckland Day: 8

Yesterday, we made 165 miles. I may be wrong, but I think that's our single fastest day ever. We averaged roughly 6.8 NM/hour. Now normally, when the boat is rocketing along at 6 to 8 knots, we look at the wind anemometer, get super nervous, and reef ourselves into oblivion. However, the B&G wind transducer gave up the ghost about 2 weeks ago. We have no perfect idea of the wind speed. As a result, we've had to fall back on sailor senses: wind in the face, sound of the wind generator, feel on the helm, white capping and wave heights, riffles on the water. In the absence of scientific, objective evidence that the wind is high, we're looking at the boat and conditions exclusively. Don Quixote looks good. On this beam sea with short period short wind waves, she's happily chugging along at 7. This means that we could have crossed the Pacific in roughly half the time we actually took. So now we know. Don Quixote isn't slow and stupid. Her owners are.

This leaves us with an interesting dilemma, however. We calculated a 10 day passage. At this speed, we'll make landfall in 7 and change. Thing 1) Do not count the wind before it lands on your deck. We probably will not be lucky enough to enjoy these fantastic sailing conditions for five more days. Thing 2) What am I do with all this fresh produce? We can't take any of it into New Zealand. Today, we live on salad and papayas and coconuts. And coconut, papaya salad.

We are now on the magic third day at sea. This is the mythical last day of misery after which the body adjusts to the motion and wonky hours. I believe I have already explained that this is very similar to the mythical forgetfulness of post-partem mothers who blithely reassure their partners that "It didn't hurt... or at least I don't remember it hurting." The best that can be said of passages is that eventually you run out of ocean and into the hard bits on the edges where you finally, blessedly, stop moving. Weather considerations have motivated us to blow right past Minerva Reef and straight on down to New Zealand. This routing might result in us making landfall before boats who left a day or two ahead of us. Oceans are weird that way.

~ Toast
24 19.40'S 178 20.92'W - Rhumb line to Whangarei now
Oct 10 2011 18:00 UTC

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