STILL IN THE INTER TROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE (ITCZ)

Today turned out to be a bit of a non-event.  The intent was to sail south, pick up the easterly traded and then carry on to Christmas Island.  But, events last night and this morning have postponed our breakout from the ITCZ for another day.

Firstly, last night turned into an epic of calms blows and torrential rain.  We appeared to be in a giant rain cloud arena.  Every time we got into the vicinity of a rain cloud the wind picked up and we ended up a couple of miles further west than when we started.  Then the wind died completely and I had to take all sail off the boat as we were rolling in a choppy sea, the sails were on a mission to self-destruct.

The second saga started this morning with torrential rain, no wind just buckets of rain from eight to mid-day.  Now we have plenty of fresh water on board, have taken showers, washed hair and are smelling civilised again.

All this palaver meant we didn’t sail out of where we were parked up.  I have tried to lay a course south but the wind is coming from that direction and we just keep getting pushed west again.  Predict Wind is advising I go south west and then south.  This seems a risky proposition so I have decided to head east for a few hours (if the wind holds).  When the wind comes around I will see it and can then head southwards towards Christmas Island.  It’s only a couple of hundred miles away but proving difficult to get to today.

We haven’t seen the sun for twenty four hours and the batteries missed their their solar fix.  So, in had to run the engine again.

Yesterday I made a couple of small loaves of bread.  By breakfast this morning it had all gone.  I will need to make bigger loaves next time.  Making bread on a moving boat must be great exercise, sure to strengthen the core body muscles.

The Truce film club watched ‘Groundhog Day’ last night.  I have seen it a couple of times but it was a premier for Jessica.  It was good fun.

I think we set a record yesterday for the lowest daily mileage at fifty-three, noon to noon.  Well that’s if you don’t count the day I went backwards a few miles off Oregon.  Voyage distance 967 miles.

INTO THE INTER TROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE (ITCZ)

No sooner had I written the words ‘ I think the fun will start this evening’ in my log yesterday afternoon than the wind suddenly died.  We had entered the ITCZ, the doldrums of old.  I had to drop all sail as we were sitting stationary and rolling around with sails slapping back and forth

An hour later a southerly breeze set in and we sailed slowly through the night in beautiful calm conditions under a canopy of stars.  In the early hours of the morning it became quite cold and I had to reach for a long-sleeved shirt to keep warm.

The day has been spent trying to keep the boat moving and heading in the right direction and avoid getting to the west of the track.  Everything we try always sends us back to the west, making it more difficult to reach our destination.  But, we are not getting too stressed about it, the right wind will come when its ready.  Its an enjoyment to have calm weather and some nice flat sailing in sunshine after being on the wind under a cloud for so long.

Our mileage today noon to noon was not that flash and I expect tomorrows will be even shorter if the weather forecast is correct.  Our track on the chart is starting to look like hieroglyphics.  Jessica and I discussed trying to write our names on the plotter with the ships track.  But concluded we would actually need to have some wind to achieve that feat.  Voyage distance 766 miles.

BECALMED, A 3% CHANCE

Last night at sunset the wind started to decrease.  First I had to bring down the main, it couldn’t hold the wind and was flogging about as if to self-destruct.  Shortly after the staysail came down.  I carried on until one in the morning with the jib, but the wind disappeared and the jib finally got furled.  What a disappointment, I was expecting the forecast fifteen knot north westerlies to hold.  So, we were becalmed.  The last thing I expected on the Washington Pacific coast.

After one I drifted and tried to get some rest.  The residual sea and swell caused Truce to gyrate abominably.  The sort of wild movements people pay good money to experience at theme parks.  At four I could stand it no more and started the engine to see if the movement would be less under way – it was a bit better and we were at least moving and I got to see another sunrise.

I hand steered until eight as the seas were too bad for the autopilot, then stopped for some breakfast and to get the latest USA weather reports.  The forecasters are now calling for light winds in this area for the next two days.  Unbelievable.  I checked my routing charts and there is a 3% chance of calm weather in the month of May!  I just happened to hit it.

Looking at the large swells rolling in from the west is a bit surreal, they are moving hillsides of water, perfectly smooth a and glossy, like liquid glass.  Looking at it from sea level is a beautiful sight and quite unusual.

So I have been motoring all day, rolling along.  Much as I hate motoring at sea there is no option.  The barometer has been stuck at 1024.5 for the last 30 hours.  This must be an unusual weather event for this area.

Any thoughts I had about being in San Francisco on Sunday are just dreams now.  On the positive side the day has been beautiful and sunny and I am starting to feel a bit warmer, time to break out a beer.  Voyage distance 252.1 miles.