Just a reminder that these were originally seen in my yahoogroup log after sailmailing to my son. If you want to see real-time postings, you can subscribe through the link...
Day 7 - Maine Passage
Hello from the North Atlantic, at 41*38'N, 68*49'W, enroute to
, ME after transiting Cape Cod's Boston and
Nantucket-Ambrose channels' intersection...
The night promises propitious travel, even if we have to tack.
As I got very little sleep in the last 24 hours, having stood the
watch until 6 and then immediately getting up to deal with the
squall, I'm off to bed
and Lydia will stand the first watch.
Before I go, I set the direction to a point beyond the turning
radius of the Boston and Nantucket-Ambrose channels. Based on our
speed and direction, we should have arrived there right at false
dawn on Monday. From there, we'll go as directly as possible to
. It's a beam reach for Lydia on the entire trip, and as
above, it was marvelous. She made 8 knots for most of
it, and as a result arrived in the circle almost at midnight.
Along the way, every star and planet (and satellites and shooting
stars, too) was out, and the Milky Way lit up the night sky. I
slept soundly for the longest continuous period on this passage
nearly 6 hours. Lydia came to fetch me just before 2 AM due to
the heavy traffic levels she was seeing, wanting another pair of
eyes for security
. The radar screen
was pretty busy, and as we
don't have AIS
, we had no means of direct identification of the
hits we were seeing.
However, we passed through that area uneventfully, and as Lydia
went down for her sleep and I took over, I pointed Flying Pig as
close to the wind
as possible from the beam reach we've been on.
Chris, our weather
guru, had suggested remaining as close-hauled
as possible due to forecasted wind
changes, and those are already
in effect, making our point of sail a beat. The weather
are great however, so the "beat" label makes it sound worse
than it really is.
Despite our being 30 degrees on the apparent wind, of which there
are 10-15 knots, Flying Pig stands up and marches forward. It's
marvelous sailing; while the waves are about 3-5 or maybe 4-6
feet, they're long-period (period being the time between
crests),and a very gentle ride up and down the swells as we beat
our way north (well, technically, northwest, slightly better than
we'd need to maintain to get directly to Portland).
We have an interesting current
Of course, I don't have access to the charts
on the links I gave
you in the beginning, so I can't see what's happening. In
general, the area seems to usually have either strong inflow or
outflow to/from Portland. At the moment, we're being set fairly
strongly in the direction we want to go, but also experiencing
some drift which cuts our ground speed by about a knot
speed. What Neptune and Aeolus give, they also take away,
so the net effect is that we're pretty much on target for
Portland, just not as fast as we might otherwise be traveling.
Naturally, things change, but if conditions were to remain the
same (no better, no worse, no tacking), we'd arrive in the
Portland about mid-morning on Tuesday. Even if it took another
entire day, this will have been a most memorable passage,
exceeding even our most optimistic projections...
Sunrise takes a long time at these latitudes, and is spectacular.
From last night's indications, today will be brilliantly clear -
and, certainly, the barometer's risen notably since the last time
we noticed it. As far East, relatively speaking as we are, the
sun comes up very early, even this far into summer. The tradeoff
is that, this high in latitude can mean some very long periods of
sunshine, but the changes in that time length are much more
accelerated than when we're far south of here, so, while I've not
looked it up, I don't expect a significantly longer day than
we've had, say, a month ago, in Florida
. It just starts a lot
earlier, and is a great deal more comfortable.
That said, we're already seeing the differences. The water and
air temperatures here are radically different than in Florida
which, for reasons I've yet to identify, has
been unhappy since Flying Pig went back in the water. However,
with water temperatures near 50, and air temperatures falling
under 70 at night, and sometimes during the day, the system is
finally getting to its design temperatures in both the
(they've not come close in month we've
been afloat). That should help with the electric
bill, so to
On that subject, with all the wind we've had lately, KissyFace
(the KISS wind generator) has had a field day, particularly
yesterday, during the storms, doing yeoman duty in refilling our
batteries, assisted ably - when the sun's out! - by the solar
. We designed the system for the tropics, where there's a
much more reliable breeze, and the sun's higher in the sky.
Indications remain that we'll do fine when we finally get there.
With the great weather we've had for cruising, the expected
doldrums have never arrived, and so there's some deferred
or passage repairs
I have to do. The freezer
latch had a mechanical failure which will involve some epoxy
repair; I'll do that when I'm defrosting it,which will have to be
soon. I also have to go up the mast
, a chore made more pleasant
when the mast
isn't moving violently as can be the case at sea,
to attend to a couple of mysteries there. On the subject of the
mast, while the collar and boot, which keep it in place and from
leaking below, are successfully resolved, I still need to fiddle
with the standing rigging
(the wires which keep the mast
straight), as they're still not right from when I started in on
them. So, it looks like at least some of the time in Portland
will be spent in passage repairs
Actually, I'm very pleased, as virtually any long passage of
which I've read, even in brand new boats, have had numerous,
sometimes very serious, equipment
failures and problems. I'd
consider ours very minor in comparison, for which I'm not only
very grateful, but impressed with our old gal (she turned 30 this
year) and in our refit
efforts, as they've proven out pretty
The day (as in, post-dawn) started very well, with good boat
speed and even better direction. We had visions of arriving in
Portland tomorrow morning. Best not to think of those things
when Neptune and Aeolus are listening, however, as a couple of
hours in, despite the cheery voice of NOAA radio
telling us that
the wind was from the west, it not only had been in the North of
West, but it came around to due north, just as Chris had said it
would. That, of course, led us away from the lovely line we'd
been tracing, and off into the briny.
Then, it diminished, as it continued to clock around through the
North, and we soon were not only going away from where we wanted
to be, we were rocking and rolling and the sails
were crashing as
they emptied and filled with every roll.
So, we struck the sails
, and tended to boat chores, relaxed, had
a snack, and otherwise chilled out. Well, that's a figure of
speech, as it was really quite pleasant, the 30 degree rolls
aside. Usually, if there's no wind, there's also no waves, but
such was not the case here, much to our disappointment, as it
meant that I couldn't do my up-the-mast chores which need
It also means that we currently don't know when we might get
there, as NOAA's altogether wrong (if their current forecast
right, we'd have had a great beam reach all the way there, and
would arrive early tomorrow morning) about the realities out
here. If this continues, we'll not be under way, in any
direction, for a long time. If the small breath of air which is
present merely builds, we'll have to tack it in, because it's
directly on a line with where we're going.
Tacking, of course, is a very effective way of getting upwind,
but it takes about double or more the time it would have in a
. Of course, we're only griping about the current
realities, as up until now, our little heave-to vacation
yesterday aside, we've had a totally direct route
, and with a
tiny exception, all on one tack, even. The sails have only been
down a couple of times in the entire trip.
So, this is more the reality we expected - the waves to go with
the calm not included, but the delays, certainly - and in the
end, we've still got an amazing trip under our belts, and
assuming the doldrums here don't last a week, will still have
what we'd call a very speedy voyage.
So, we leave you, nearly becalmed, waving our mast in your
general direction. Perhaps tomorrow's report will include our
arrival, but for sure, we're enjoying it. Oh, ya, for those of
you watching SPOT in real time, this was why we weren't moving -
or, depending on the scale you applied, were moving slowly in the
opposite direction from which we'd just come. No problems, Mon
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)