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Old 02-09-2008, 10:38   #1
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skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Day 8 - Maine Passage

(This originally appeared in my yahoogroup log on 8-5-08 after sailmailing from the Atlantic Ocean. If you'd like to see current, real-time postings of our travels and adventures, you can sign on the log via the link at the bottom...)

Day 8 - Maine Passage

Hello from the North Atlantic, at 42*19'N, 69*35'W, near the top
end of Cape Cod, zigzagging to Portland, ME after transiting Cape
Cod's Boston and Nantucket-Ambrose channels' intersection...

Day 7 ended becalmed and rough. However, by mid-evening, we were
seeing consistent 7-8-9 knots of wind and hoisted sails again.
Along the way, we enjoyed the tiny crescent moon's rise and fall
in short order.

Once the sails were up, the motion subsided greatly, and I headed
to bed. We were on a very close reach, moving reasonably well in
the ghostly wind, and I slept soundly. However, I woke at
midnight to Otto groaning beneath me. The wind had shifted, and
Lydia was essentially hove to, and trying to tack out of it. Of
course, the point of heaving to (when that's what you had in
mind) is to make it so the boat can't come into the wind. Also
known as putting her in irons, the only way out without making
some sail change is to jibe it.

So, we did, and I went back to bed. Lydia woke me at 2:30, ready
for a rest in our hotbunk arrangement. She'd already made the
pot of coffee, our practice with offgoing shifts, so that the one
who's being rousted in the middle of their sleep has a running
start. She reviewed the situation, which was pretty much as it
had been other than the wind shift and resultant tack, and went
off to her warm bunk.

Things stayed the same for a couple of hours, but then the wind
picked up, very quickly, to 15-20, out of the North, all the
while NOAA claiming it was from the west. However, I just
pinched along - which soon, did, in fact, become a beat, as the
water was pretty lumpy. By dawn, due to the North wind, I'd come
pretty close to the Boston Ship Channel, and - courtesy of one of
my correspondents, I learned - the end of Cape Cod's infamous rip
currents, compounded by dozens of returning commercial fishermen
who weren't standing watch and just likely to run me down if I
were in the wrong place at the right time.

So, I tacked away, but it was blowing so hard - and the wind was
continuing to shift, clocking further north - and the current
which had helped me going the other way now hurt me, that I wound
up EXACTLY retracing my path for a while. I decided that wasn't
very profitable, and about an hour later tacked again, this time
helped by the wind shift, making more progress north than before,
also allowing me to miss the hazards at the tip of the Cape.

However, we were pretty well over-canvassed, and the boat was
heeling more than was effective for good traveling. Accordingly,
when Lydia came up to relieve me at 10, we took in a reef and
rolled up the genoa to probably no more than 75%. This allowed
Flying Pig to straighten up and fly right, so to speak, making
about the same speed and pointing ability, but with much more
comfort. At the same time, we tacked and headed pretty much due

NOAA's had it pretty much wrong in this area, but if it's
correct, some time later today, the wind will shift to the east,
and it will be a little easier going. Unfortunately, the wind is
also supposed to die, so we'll see about that part! In the
meantime, we're headed back to our "go to" line from yesterday,
which we can pretty much maintain with the winds as they are now.
If we weren't having to beat, we could be running with the full
canvas out, making much better time, not to mention direction.
Anyway, for those who were watching SPOT, that's what those crazy
lines are about.

Actually, of course, this pattern isn't at all unusual in a
passage. We've just been blessed with better weather and
direction for all the preceding times. As a result of the
current events, however, we'll not make Portland today, nor,
perhaps, even, if this continues, tomorrow. Tacking takes a
great deal longer, and if we were to have to proceed entirely on
this basis all the way to Portland, it could well take a week to
get there. However, of course, the weather is forecast to

NOAA (again with the suspicions!) says the wind will become east,
but then die. East is good, dead isn't... Later, still (by
days) the wind is supposed to clock around through the southern
quadrant, and be very high winds. A due south wind with some
energy behind it would suit us just fine, given the direction of
travel we need to take! Waiting for a couple of days isn't so
hot, however...

Well, NOAA got it part right... I went down for my nap after
we'd shortened sail, and Lydia tacked, taking us across our
original rhumb line, and then tacked back again. Active SPOT
watchers will see us zig and then zag.

However, not long after the tack, the wind, which didn't clock at
all, took a vacation. What was previously 15-20/gusts to 25
became 5-10 with occasional outbursts to 11,but mostly 6-9. All
the diminishment did nothing for the seas, which remained steep,
short, and lumpy. Fortunately, all that lack of enthusiasm from
Aeolus allowed us to put out the genny again, and the rock and
roll subsided a bit with the increased canvas, and our speed
slightly improved with the improved shape of the sail.
Unfortunately, as high as we need to point, we're not making
stellar time toward our destination. We're truly jaded by our
experience early in the trip; it was very hard to come off of 800
miles of perfect sailing to storms and endless headwinds...

Because it will be nightfall soon, we'll leave the reef in the
main - but we're not encouraged by the thought of not only no
wind but what there is coming directly from where we're going.
It would be ironic if it took us the same amount of time to go
the last 175 miles as it did the prior 900 or so. Lydia, being
known in the boating world for her enthusiasm for delayed
gratification, would no doubt scrub Maine and turn around
directly for Cape Cod.

Of course, the way it is the last few days, just about the time
we got to the entrance of Cape Cod Bay, it would blow like stink
from the south, as it's forecast (ya, right??) to do in a couple
of days :{))

For all that, the ride's a lot smoother, even if it is still a
roller-coaster, as the wind speed drop has mitigated some of the
chop, and it's a bit warmer, too. The barometer's still up, the
sun's still shining, and with any luck, tomorrow, we'll be able
to throw out the hooks to replenish the larder.

Even that's a joke, as we provisioned as though we'd catch
nothing, as has many times been the case when we've voyaged
before. That we succeeded in such measure, so immediately, has
made everything of a main dish nature that we brought along to
cook, remain, literally, unused, and still in the freezer. As it
was, we had to store the fish long enough to finish the steak and
chicken we'd cooked up before we left!

And, sort of on that subject, as refrigeration is a major power
user aboard any boat, for most of the day, our solar panels were
putting out 25 amps during the tacks which leaned them in the
direction of the sun, and the wind generator bounced along
between 10 and 25 amps as the wind rose and fell. As a result,
despite all the electronics, this computer which spends
inordinate amounts of time trying to find a signal to get this
tripe out (I either get no answer, or an incomplete connection,
many times with transmissions nearly finished but then lost with
the connection), the very consumptive transmissions on the SSB
during the connect times, and the still hungry refrigeration (I
have to figure out what's happening there, as it used to do fine
in much warmer circumstances), we've come from an overnight low
of 60% to, currently (pardon the expression) 90% in our bank, on
the day's outputs.

We put the last of the fish into a pasta and Alfredo Sauce for
dinner before sending this along; it's been rough enough that
we've not put out the poles today, but if things settle down
tomorrow, we'll surely try again to stock the reefer with fresh



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"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)
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