Battling the ITCZ

17 Nov

Today and yesterday have blurred together in my mind. Partially this is inadequate sleep, and an inadequate routine. When one puts in a reef, or rolls out a reef, at 0300, it confuses the day and the distinction between work hours and non-work hours. On an Open 60 there are no non-work hours, especially solo.

We encountered the first part of the doldrums (which might have lots of wind) further north than was predicted. The ITCZ can wander north or south, mostly due to season, but also due to other variables. Now, when we have only this morning passed what was suggested to be a good target entrance point, we in fact encountered it much earlier. And looking at the forecast weather files which show precipitation, it seems that once we’re passed the usual end, it will expand south to keep enveloping us. Hopefully not, but one must not have too many expectations in crossing the ITCZ, and heading to a new hemisphere.

We have been through a variety of squalls today, some with solid rain, and the mainsail has gone from 1 reef to 2 reefs to 1 reef to 2 reefs and back to 1 reef. This is some serious grinding on the pedestal winch, and some serious exercise. For several of these, disconcertingly, I seem to be a half step behind. A squall comes along and suddenly blows 25 with apparent wind across the deck at 35 knots. We sustain, and sustain, and sustain, waiting for the squall to blow itself out, waiting for 45 minutes, the boat at 45 degrees of heel and taking a beating, finally, ok,I give up, here comes reef 2, which takes 10 minutes to go in, and promptly the wind goes to 19, to 14, to 10, and I have to hoist back up to reef 1. Frustrating, annoying, and exhausting.

I did take some video this afternoon which turned out well, simply from the aft port quarter looking forward.

Position
5° 20’N x 27° 59’W
Course
197° True
Speed
10.4 knots
True Wind Speed
17.1knots
True Wind Direction
148°
Sail Plan
Solent plus one reef in Mainsail
Air temperature
82° F / 28° C
Sea Temperature
84° F / 29° C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
2320 1069 108 2369 415

This article was syndicated from Ship’s Logs | sitesALIVE!

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