You Can’t Get There from Here

4 Mar

March 2, 2019/Day 149

Noon Position: 42 29S  132 03W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExS 4

Wind(t/tws): ExN 11

Miles since departure: 20,470

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Wind veered into the east slowly but steadily overnight. By 6am, our heading was ESE and by noon, SExS, this though we were close hauled. Worse, on that course, we were bound for a rendezvous with 48S.

Getting “trapped” too far south is a danger-to-be-avoided that was carved into my skull after the Indian Ocean knockdown last year. There I’d let headwinds push us all the way to 50S before tacking around. This meant Mo hadn’t the time she needed to get over the top of the low which stove in a pilot house window.

Today, I tacked around at 47 and a half south. Now we pound into a short but stubborn four-foot sea. Mo makes four knots north and a touch east in a wind dead east in the teens.

A deeply frustrating situation.

Big weather is on the way, and being essentially stopped, as we are, means I’ve lost much of my ability to control our position in it. The first low looks to be developing right on top of us by tomorrow noon. Winds to forty. That low won’t have had much time to whip up a sea, so I’m less worried about it than the large and mature low that will overtake us in four days. We were marginally ahead of its stronger winds before today. Now, decidedly not.

And none of today’s easterly is in the damned forecast. I had a wry chuckle recalling the fulminations of Sir Robin Knox-Johnson during his 1968 solo circumnavigation down here. Then his protest was against the inaccuracy of Pilot Charts (charts of average ocean wind directions and force by month), which predicted one wind but delivered another. Much of the data for those charts, by the way, was at least a hundred years by Sir Robin’s time, having been painstakingly gathered and published by Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury in the mid 19th century.

Now I fulminate against GSM GRIB forecasts, whose data is gathered continuously by satellite and fed into a global weather simulator, which produces a new forecast every six hours.

And it still misses.

As I type, wind goes to 5 knots from the east. We heave but do not pound. Mo wanders. Sails are starting to slat. With no sun and no speed, we have gone the day without charging. I should sign off…

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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