Thoughts on the Approaching Doldrums

16 Apr

April 15, 2019/Day 192

Noon Position: 18 29S  22 50W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxW 6

Miles since departure: 26,191

Avg. Miles/Day: 136


Wind has stayed blessedly consistent the last 24 hours and the sky clear. On a 12 – 15 knot northeasterly we’ve made good time.

As I type, it’s approximately 1,000 miles to the line (the equator). Now the question of how we handle the approaching doldrums comes to the fore.

Conventional wisdom has it that a sailing vessel should stay to the west of that belt of calms, and a daily examination of weather at the ITCZ these last weeks shows that to be good advice. Calms there are, but toward the South American coast there is often a light wind bridging the southeast and northeast trades.

Of course, once through the ITCZ, winds come on strong and makes the entire run of coast to the west a lee shore, so don’t cut the cape too fine. Currently we’re edging slowly west and toward a waypoint about 400 miles east of the Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha at 4S and 32W.

I came on deck this morning to find clear evidence that the skipper has relaxed the footware policy for the crew. As is only right and just when the temperature rises from 45 to 85 degrees in three weeks.

Now that it has warmed up, my craving for calories has dropped way off. It used to be that my breakfast was a Clif Bar followed by a big bowl of muesli, and often I’d continue scrounging after that.

This morning, I had the requisite Clif Bar and forgot to eat the Muesli until noon.

No birds again. Only the occasional flying fish. Strikingly lonely here.

Mo spends plenty of time heeled to 20 degrees and pounding, which can be an uncomfortable ride after a time. But I am pleased to report I found a lovely napping position in the cockpit.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


  1. jim stedman

    Very cool sleeping position.

    Re no wind, I recall on an offshore race from Galveston to Pensacola, and on my 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. watch/steering, I could not control the boat going in circles…….

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