South Pacific – Day#5

3.30.18 @ 1000 Local, 1700 Zulú Day #5 Latitude: 16°17 N Longitude: 114°35 W Covered Distance Last 24 Hours: 98 NM Distance to the Marquesas: 2122 NM Distance from Punta de Mita, Mexico: 653 NM Weather: 50% clouds Winds: NNE 7.5 knots Sea State: 2’ – 3’ swells Barometer: 1016 Crew’s Mood: Excited because we’re almost there. In our dreams!
So today has been the worst day for wind yet. At one point we had less than one knot! If we were anywhere else we’d just fire up the ol’ iron Ginny and motor on but on a close to 3000 mile passage you have only so much fuel aboard and you have to manage your usage carefully. We really want to make certain we have plenty of fuel left when we reach the ITCZ as that’s where the doldrums are and that is also where it can get a bit squally. You want to be able to motor out of the way of those squalls so we will make do here and save fuel for later.
We’ve tried a couple of different sail configurations today but the one that seems to be working best is going wing on wing using the spinnaker off the starboard side with the Jib poled out on the port. We’ve actually been able to get a little over 5 knots this way and that’s pretty nice given the light winds.
Putting the spinnaker up today went much more more smoothly than it did the other day. Of course we’re only in 5-8 knots of wind, not 12-13 so it should be easier. Now the thing about flying the spinnaker is this is not a “set it and forget it” sail. Nope, someone needs to be watching it at all times. It takes fine finessing to get the most of this giant. And when I say giant I mean it. Dan told me today this thing is 1400 square feet. “What? My last apartment was only 900! Holy crap! No wonder I almost became one of the Flying Walendas when I was trying to hold her down the other day. Hmmmm….I wonder if Dan had a more sinister motive. I better keep my wits about me. LOL”
For the most part Dan runs the spinnaker as I’m still learning the ins and out of all this sailing stuff. Sure, I played the part of Spinnaker Wench on Team Silver Streak back home but this is an entirely different beast. “No, Todo, we are not in Kansas anymore.”
Today, however, Dan needed to do some fuel maintenance, shifting fuel from cans to tanks and then we had a little issue with the head that he had to address so guess who got spinnaker duty? Nope, it wasn’t Grape Ape…he can’t finess a coyote let alone a sail. So, in the absence of another qualified candidate, I was hired for the job. No pay, just the glory of saying I did it. Wait! I need to review the cruise brochure again. First there’s no continental breakfast, now work without pay. Remind me to do a Trip Advisor review when I get WiFi.
At first it took a bit to get used to but eventually I got the hang of it. It’s like Dan tells me about everything else. Make small adjustments and wait. Too much too fast is rarely a good thing. I will say this though, after almost two hours of this fun my hands are beginning to curl into claws and my forearms have grown a good inch. I feel like some mutated version of Popeye the Sailor and the Lobster Boy from the Ringling Brother’s circus. If I do this any longer I’m going to be able to bend bars of steel with one hand.
Fortunately Dan finishes his work and gives me a break for a while before he heads down for his nap. By the time it’s my turn again the wind is cooperating a bit more and I’m able to put the line on the winch and just keep an eye on it. It’s just too hard to want to take it down when we’re getting upwards of 5 knots out of it in a dead downwind run.
Hopefully the winds will pick up later this afternoon as they typically do but for the next few days we’re not holding out much hope. That’s okay though…we’re not at work. We’re on Dazzler and this is just part of the adventure.
Until next time…
P.S. I almost forgot to share the big news. We’re engaged! This trip has brought us very close. Dan’s backpack and I that is. Since I’ve no one to snuggle with at night it’s become my best friend and yesterday it proposed. In the absence of a better offer I accepted. Oh wait, you thought I meant Dan and I? Yeah, keep dreaming!
P.S.S. Thanks for the bubble guns John & Deb (SV Lovely Reta). They were a fun addition to our day of light winds.

Author: Dan & Jilly

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