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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy Sunday - Day 13

As the Sun came up this morning we were sailing south west at about 6.5 knots... The wind is ahead of our beam and we are in 3-5 foot seas. For the last few days we have been trying to get as far south as we can as quickly as we can. We are currently at 3 degrees south latitude. Our goal is to run west as soon as we reach 6 degrees south. This is where the westerly trade winds are blowing at the moment.

What that means in simple terms is that rather than sailing heeled over, we would put out big head sails and have the trade winds push us to Hiva Oa. Running with the trades will let the boat sail nice and flat (and fast).

Every morning we get weather information from 3 sources. All three sources come on our marine SSB radio. First, we download what they call a GFS (grib) file that graphically shows us a wind and weather forecast. The second source is to check in with other sailboats on a morning radio net. These folks are making the same journey and are spread out in front of us and behind us. This gives us a sense of what is happening in the moment.

Our third, and quite frankly, our most reliable source is our weather forecaster (Bill) who has been faithfully sending us real time weather information since we left Panama. Bill is a professional sea captain who has been in charge of vessels from the Bearing Sea to the Atlantic ocean. Shelley and I met Bill and his wife, Carol, when we were neighbors at the Myrtle Beach YC in 2014 when we were heading down the eastern seaboard of the USA. My sense is that Bill has forgotten more about weather than I will ever know...

He generously agreed to assist us with our Pacific crossing. Each day he checks a number of weather sources on the internet and evaluates what he sees and make suggestions to us based on that, and the position information we provide him early each morning.

Once we get far enough south, we will hopefully see less convection (rain) and begin making a straight line journey to Hiva Oa. This morning we have approximately 2300 nautical miles to go. This morning we have traveled 1560 nautical miles in 12 days. This averages 130 miles per day at a speed of 5.4 knots (10 kph, 6.2 mph). So basically we travel about as fast as a healthy person rides a bicycle! Based on our history, we will likely be at sea for another 18-20 days...

Christina has proven herself quite a sailor! She now takes her own watches and handles Blowin' Bubbles like a pro! We are all a little tired as we have been in squalls and rough seas for the last 36 hours.

We hope all is well with everyone!

Kyle, Shelley & Christina...

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