Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Days 16

Location 03.00S x 127.30W
Time 0630 utc
Boat speed 7.6kts
Wind 18-20 from 105twd
Day 15 miles 149

Thar she blows.... said Ahab

Pretty true for us as well, we started the day pretty uncomfortable with mixed 3-5' seas and wind which was still from NE forcing us to head further south than we really wanted to be going. Then we got our third rain squall of the day, this one a pretty good one, and when that cleared behind it we received wind from the east!! And hence: thar she blows!! We're now seeing 18-22 sustained from 100-105 and with shortened sail, about one reef on each the genoa and the main, we're running with an apparent wind angle of 130-140 with a heading taking us just north of the Marquesas. Forecast is for these conditions to stick around until we arrive, guessing around Tuesday.

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Day 14

Location 01.25S x 126.11W
Time 0730 UTC
Boat speed 5.3
Wind 12kts from 050twd
Day 13 miles covered 136

Crossed the equator!!! So fricken cool! After so many years of dreaming about this, it happened this morning, SeaGlub sailed across the equator. It was a beautiful sunrise and then we did it, we sailed across in good wind with a gorgeous sunrise backdrop. For decades I've dreamed about this, from conversations with my buddy Jeff going all the way back to junior high school or incessantly bugging my bro Andrew while we worked at the Rusty Pelican parking cars in the 90s, today it happened. I'm lucky to have the beautiful Ms. Tara Lee to accompany me on this journey, together we've made a great trip of this so far. The prior 24 hours saw some good sailing conditions but we're still waiting for the winds to turn easterly. We're still getting wind from the NE which causes us to sail more south than we would like, however right now that's not a problem, but a couple more days of this and we will be forced to gybe (turn right in our case) instead of just being able to sail direct t
o the
Marquesas, which adds distance which adds time. So here's to hoping sometime soon we start getting the wind to clock out of the SE.

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Day 13

Location 0.38N x 124.51W
Time 0630 utc
Boat speed 7.0
Winds 15kts from 105twd
Day 12 miles covered 130

Yesterday was another very pleasant light wind sail with the spinnaker up all day and thru the night. Seas continue to be very calm in the 3' range but long period so quite smooth and when you're down below you barely notice any movement, almost feels like you're at anchor in one of those anchorages that has jet skis buzzing around. We dropped the spinnaker tonight just after sunset as winds have started to pick back up as expected and we're now doing 7 knots with a great wind angle and still calm seas, we've picked up the southern trades and making our rhumb line to Nuku Hiva! Of note, when we last flew the spinnaker we noticed there was a chafe area near the end of the halyard where the head of the sail attaches. This time flying the spinnaker we intentionally hoisted it so the chafe area would be in a different place and tonight when we brought it down there is new chafe evident. Maybe the shiv where the halyard enters the top of the mast? Anyway we shouldn't need this ha
again before we get to Nuku Hiva so this project goes on the list. Otherwise all is very well on board.

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Day 12

Location 1.59N x 123.37W
Time 0700 utc
Boat speed 5.6kts
Wind 10kts from 080 twd
Day 11 miles covered 145

Just the kind of day sailing you dream of when buying an offshore cruising boat. Big blue ocean, sunny skies with billowy clouds and light but consistent trade winds blowing 8-10 knots just abaft midships. And the sea is so calm you can put your glass of water, ok rum cocktail, down on the counter and not worry about it slipping around and spilling! While technically probably still inside the ITCZ we have gotten lucky to get what appears to be the southern trades making a push just north enough to come pull us south. The winds freshened around midnight last night. The actual wind direction is 150-160 on the boat but our speed is making us see 090awa so we're cooking with the asym out and doing her job. Looks like we're about exactly 24 hours from the equator crossing which puts us at a nighttime transformation from pollywogs to shellbacks.... (Google it!)

All is well aboard

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Day 11

Location 3.55n x 122.23w
Time 0600 utc
Boat speed 6.3
Wind (motor on) light wind from ENE
Day 10 miles covered 131

Good day of light wind sailing and dodging thunderheads. Passing to the left, passing to the right, passing in front of us and passing behind us but today we didn't get wet. A couple of times we saw the wind go from 8-10 to maybe 15-16 briefly but otherwise the squalls pretty much left us alone. Unfortunately the ITCZ is widening as we attempt to cross so likely a motor day tomorrow and hope that we can find some wind on the other side further south. All systems and crew good aboard SeaGlub. It's definitely warm but not terribly hot, just gotta stay out of the sun in the daytime and at night it's cool enough to sleep with a sheet on. Speaking of sleep, we've gotten into a nice watch routine where we have dinner and watch the sunset then wait about an hour to start watches. We go 2 hours on 2 hours off then 4 hours on and 4 hours off which gets us well past sunrise.

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Day 10

Location 5.43N x 120.42W
Time 0400 UTC
Boat speed 4.5 it's
Wind 10kts at 090 twd
Day 9 miles covered another new record 172!!

Yesterday morning we gybed the mainsail over after running wing and wing for two days and left the pole on the genoa to help us run deeper. Well it helped as we set a record again for miles covered in 24 hours at 172!! We got hit by our first squall at 1am and got soaked as we weren't quite ready, I mean we hadn't seen wet stuff from the sky since October. All was well and things dried out by midday the next day. So we're in an area called the Intertropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ. In this area the air flow from the northern hemisphere high pressure converges with the air flow from the Southern hemisphere high pressure system. In both systems there's a lot of energy and where they converge you typically get less consistent wind strength and speed and a lot of thunderstorm activity. For sailors it is an area we watch with great interest and try our best to time our crossing as we go from one hemisphere to the other. Right now we're sailing through this area, that's why we had
rain last night. For us it looks like it will take us about 3-4 days to pass through the ITCZ and as of now we're about halfway through. On the other side the trade winds to the Marquesas await...

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Day 9

Location 7.35N x 119.0W
Time 0300 utc
Boat speed 7.8
Wind 18kt from 035
Day 8 miles covered 163

Yep yesterday was a record day for SeaGlub in the Miles Covered category at 163. We're in the trades and found a good sail set up running wing and wing all day and keeping the wind at 180 degrees to SeaGlub. The ride was not the smoothest with 4-6' following swell rolling us 25 degrees heel at times but we made excellent ground. We're definitely in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) as well as we can see lightning storms well off in the distance. Of course we don't like lightning but given that storms can cover 100 miles and move 30-40mph we're more concerned with downdraft winds associated with the storms here in the ITCZ. For now we keep an eye on them and be prepared for sail changes if necessary. This morning the winds clocked just enough to allow us to gybe the boom and therefore mainsail over to the same side as the genoa. This changed our track sightly but also smoothed out the ride considerably. We expect the wind to continue to clock more easterly the next day
or two
and then we possibly hit the doldrums between the northern hemisphere and Southern hemisphere weather systems. Into the night we go, flying along at almost 8 knots....

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Day 8

Location 9.15 x 117.46
0730 UTC
Boat speed 7.3
Wind 18kts from 050
Day 7 miles covered 130

Back into the wind the best thing for us to do was to set up the whisker pole and run the wing and wing. The winds started out light in the afternoon but we expected themo to pick up all night and into the next day, which indeed they did, we also expected the wind to clock more easterly, which it did not. However the WoW set up compensated nicely for this and we were able to make a great course even in the lighter wind part of the day. By morning we had consistent 15 knots pushing SeaGlub at times over 8 knots of boat speed. Those winds have sustained and at noon tomorrow I expect to report our best distance covered day thus far. For breakfast we had pancakes and bacon and for dinner we had red Thai curry chicken, it was spicy!! Up until today the ocean had been fairly calm but with the wind picking up and SeaGlub heading further south we found some uncomfortable sailing conditions exacerbated by easterly swell from last week's very strong Tpec condition in southern Mexico.
Throughout the day we had our following wind swell but that was crossed up by a 4-6' easterly swell making the boat swoon from 25 degree heel one way and quickly to back to 25 degree the other way. Definitely not a day for those with weak stomachs.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Day 7

Location 11.24N x 116.05W
0400 UTC
Speed 4.5kts
Wind 10-11kts from 045
Day 6 miles covered 143 under engine power (total 842nm)

So yesterday we succumbed to starting up the engine. Winds were very light the day before but we managed to work the spinnaker to the very last drop of wind. When boat speed was consistently below 3 knots for almost a half hour we gave in. Engine ran fine and we got everything like computers etc charged up. Weather looks better further south so we're pointed towards better winds.

After one week of crossing passage, what are my thoughts? Overall just how prepared we were. We've had a couple issues, one of them I think would have turned around 98% of others. But we have talked things through, devised plans, and successfully completed fixes on most issues. Personally I think the biggest single thought I have is how different this is from coastal cruising. The sea is much calmer than I expected, the winds much more consistent (despite yesterday's motoring session) versus my experiences along the California and Mexican coastlines. Out here we don't have land affect winds, don't have afternoon thermal builds, there's really only one direction the seas are coming from and the period between waves is longer so much smoother ride. It's really fantastic being out here and I can see why so many people have told me passage making can get addicting.

As I take my first night watch tonight one week at sea is just around the corner, guesses are that we will be out here two more weeks, and that's not a bad thing :-)

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Day 6

Location 13.06n x 115.12w
Heading 200
Time 0700 utc
Boat speed 6.1 (motor on)
Wind 8 knots from 060 twd
Day 5 miles covered 123

Lighter winds were the story of the day, we had hoisted the asym the prior afternoon and kept it up all night, with some difficulty as the winds were light and we even started the engine around 3am with the intention to take down the asym as boat speed had fallen to 3.0 or less for about 20 minutes. Just as we started the engine the wind came back up. Sailed with asym until 9am then started up the old iron Genny. She's still going

We begrudgingly have admitted that we just barely could not out run the windless patch growing off the coast of Mexico and so we've decided it best to try to motor 100-150 miles and go find what we believe should be good sailing wind for several days. We have about 125-130 hours of fuel aboard so choosing to use 20-25 hours of that fuel is a decision which takes a lot of considerations.

All is well aboard, we're eating well, the sea state is very comfortable and backgammon matches are becoming a regular afternoon event.

Chris and TLC

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Day 4

0600 utc - midnight for the time zone we're using for passage
Location: 15.52 x 111.57
Speed 5.7 on 12kts wind from 010
Day 3 miles covered: 146 (very consistent first three days)

As I look up aft over my shoulder I see the Big Dipper pointing to the bright North Star and then I continue my staring off into the darkness ahead I see plain as day the Southern Cross and for some reason I just can't get these lyrics out of my head:

"off the wind of this heading line the Marquesas we got (42 feet) of waterline nicely making way"

Today started with pretty mixed seas and just barely enough wind to fill the sails (most of the time) which made for our first semi-uncomfy ride. As morning became afternoon the seas cleaned up and the wind became very consistent. Did we just find the Pacific high?? We diligently worked together all afternoon to repair the blown out clew on the mainsail. Satisfied with our project we hoisted the main (in 12-14 knots of wind!) and set course. This called for our first cocktail underway.

Tonight I sit in the dark awaiting the moonrise I know will come but in the meantime I'm enjoying the darkness, the sound of water softly splashing along the hull as we glide over the mostly flat sea. At some point we will need to gybe and head for our equator crossing but for now we enjoy this peaceful ride

Chris and Tara Lee

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Day 3 at sea

Position 16.39n x 110.36w
Speed 6.0
Wind 14 at 360 twd
Day 2 miles 146

Good wind all day never lower than 11 knots. Has anyone ever called the pacific ocean blue?? ;-) holy smokes it's like neon blue. Was oatmeal breakfast for me and a tasty looking breakfast sandwich for TLC. Pretty smooth sailing most systems ok except we cannot transmit out on the SSB (marine HAM radio). Also batteries seem to be underperforming but generator making up for that. Big news was we got the main sail down and started to positively effect repairs on the blown out clew.

Making good ground in pretty comfy conditions

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Day 2

Position: 18.9n x 108.3w
Speed: 6.1
Wind: 14 @350twd
Last 24 hours: 147nm

Good day of sailing with no drama today, that was yesterday. After blowing out the strops on the headsail a few months ago (just due to UV disintegrating the threads) we followed up by also repairing the tack on that same headsail, stupid me didn't bother to look at the main sail clew which is also in the sun 24/7. Sure enough that blew yesterday. We easily got the sail furled back into the mast and today we hoisted the trysail on its track. When / if we get lighter wind we will unfurl the main and take it down for repairs. The sail itself is fine just the strops holding the eye came undone. We have aboard climbing straps and good thread. So one day soon we'll repair. For now we're still making great time on the days when the weather was supposed to be the lightest. Seas have been no more than 2' and wind have been 14-18 just aft of the beam. Sunset was beautiful now it's time for watch schedules and sleep.

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