Windchase

Wed Jul 15 17:06 2020 NZST
Speed:
5.70kn (136.8nm/day)
knts
GPS: 08 55.0619s 140 06.0890w
Run: 483.3nm (874.8km)
Avg: 5.9knts
24hr: 140.9nm
Weather: 2kn 079T

sp: 0.0 Well, we made it!!!...Thankful to have finally dropped the hook in the spectacular anchorage of Taiohae, Nuku Hiva and very grateful to Thomas on Moira for his water, food and beer welcome!!. Bliss! OK, so we haven't actually set foot on land yet as we are still awaiting clearance but a decent sleep is higher on the agenda anyway. We're not sure how long we'll stay here yet either, as cruising between islands in the archipelago has been banned during Covid - but some restrictions are due to be lift tomorrow,so we are hopeful. We may have to seek somewhere even more remote anyway to satisfy Mili as it seems dogs aren't nearly as welcome (officially) in FP as we have found everywhere else! We'll try and get a SIM card tomorrow to catch up with people, although apparently internet access isn't too good, so please bare with us. While on passage, we've been very lucky to have had satellite communication with a mini-fleet of 7 yachts also making the trip - even though we may be hundreds (or thousands!) of miles apart due to different departure times and routes, it does considerably reduce the feelings of isolation that can creep in out there! Stats for the whole passage: (only one of which may not be wholly truthful) Total Distance: 4,253.5nm (vs. shortest Great Circle dist avoiding hitting things = 3,848nm) Total Time: 31 days, 4.5hrs (746.5hrs) Av Total engine hrs: 99 (62 motor-sailing, rest battery recharge & water-making) Fuel used: 143 litres Max windspeed: 27kn (AWS) No of squalls encountered: 0 No of tacks: 20 No of gybes: 8 Movies watched: Sue=0, Paul=14, Mili=0 Books read: Sue=19, Paul=11, Mili=0 Sudoku games played: Sue=88, Paul=0, Mili=0 Fish caught: Sue=1, Paul=0, Mili=0 Max No of Boobies accomodated: 10 Boobie shit deposited on deck: Too much to count Dolphins seen: Too many to count Whales seen: 0 Mermaids seen: 0 No of booms broken: 1 No of miles with botched boom & TRM: 1,930 No of T-shirts worn (out): Sue=1, Paul=3, Mili=0 No of days a dog took up at least 30-50% of bed: 32 No of dogs lost/tossed overboard: 0 No of cross words between crew: 0 Favorite quote of the passage: "In all likelihood the nearest human being to you is likely to be an astronaut aboard the International Space Station" (Thanks to Dave, SV Grace) Week 5 stats: Day Latitude Longitude DOGnm Last Cum Av 24 Hrs Spd 29 12/07/2020 07° 06.9S 135° 48.1W 3964.3 143.8 694 5.71 30 13/07/2020 08° 04.9S 137° 42.0W 4093.9 129.6 718 5.70 31 14/07/2020 08° 50.3S 139° 40.8W 4224.4 130.5 742 5.69 32 14/07/2020(4.5hrs) 08° 55.1S 140° 06.1W 4253.5 29.1 746.5 5.70


Sun Jul 12 6:45 2020 NZST
Speed:
6.0
knts
GPS: 06 03.400s 133 39.9w
Run: 1175.6nm (2127.8km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 169.7nm
Weather: 18kn 079T, cloud 6/8 (40%), SS 1.0mSW

Today marks completion of our 4th week at sea, which has actually gone surprisingly quickly, given the routine imposed by watches - only 3 over each day! (we do 4 on, 4 off). Our boom 'repair', rather amazingly, is still holding, having now completed over 1,400nm! The wind is now firmly on our rear quarter and the genoa is poled out. Winds have been a bit fickle in the past 24hrs, usually in the 15-18kn range but it did briefly get up to 27-29(T) overnight...No worries at all though, at around 22AWS. We do however continue to elude the current assistance we were hoping for down here, but still fairly pleased with an average daily run of 150nm for the week - helped greatly by the 70-odd free (current-assistance) miles we enjoyed over Tuesday and Wednesday! Tuesday noon - Wednesday noon was a great day all around, what with the current assistance, a successful rendezvous with Moira in the evening and crossing the Equator just before dawn on Weds morning, albeit in seas that are rocking and rolling just a little too much for complete comfort (oh for those balmy days at 2N!). With Moira we exchanged gifts via a waterproof trailing bag, as the wind and seas were way too high to raft and have the sundowner on the poop deck we had been hoping for! Still, we got a restock of beer, among other treats, and Mili even got her own bespoke home-made dog-bone treats! I must confess that the excitement of the subsequent Equator crossing eluded me as I was asleep, but Sue gave Neptune his rum for our good luck.

All in all, we DO seem to have been incredibly lucky on this passage so far (yes, despite that wee boom thing, and a few other issues)...Many yachts behind (there are around 13 boats on passage that we know of) have experienced engine malfunctions (mainly due to filter/line blockages), torn sails, and either too much or too little wind and contrary currents on their route... whereas we seem to have got through with (mostly) favorable winds and current.

I was reflecting, as you do, on the nature of luck the other night, as yet another poor flying fish slapped into the bbq and came to a flapping stop at my feet on the cockpit floor. You have to feel so sorry for those buggers...Clearly evolved over millennia to glide over the water out of harms way below, they also have to run the gauntlet of boobies ready to snatch them from flight above. Then, in the middle of feckin NOWHERE, along comes sailboat right in their flightpath! What are the chances eh? I wondered, as this one was close to flapping it's last on the deck, what it may be thinking? 'Eric mate, you had some bad luck being born a flying fish in the first place, especially one afflicted with a cockney accent, but someone up there is just havin' a feckin' larf'!' Or maybe not. Eric's luck did improve a little though, as I managed to get him back in the briny before he carked it.

Anyway, I digress. We are now looking forward a little to getting into Nuku Hiva on Tuesday 14th, where I hear that Thomas will be arranging fireworks to herald our arrival. I think there may be a Bastille Day party happening too. While the increasing winds suggest the fat lady is exercising her larynx, she has however not yet sung, so we won't be counting our boobies just yet.

PS We have about 420nm to go! Week 4 stats: Day Latitude Longitude DOGnm Last Cum Av 24 Hrs Spd 22 05/07/2020 01° 27.3N 120° 33.5W 2893.3 122.9 526 5.50 23 06/07/2020 00° 53.7N 123° 04.8W 3049.4 156.1 550 5.54 24 07/07/2020 00° 13.6S 125° 40.2W 3221.1 171.7 574 5.61 25 08/07/2020 01° 57.5S 127° 56.4W 3394.2 173.1 598 5.68 26 09/07/2020 03° 19.1S 129° 48.1W 3534.1 139.9 622 5.68 27 10/07/2020 04° 41.9S 131° 38.7W 3673.4 139.3 646 5.69 28 11/07/2020 06° 03.4S 133° 39.9W 3820.5 147.1 670 5.70


Sun Jul 5 8:27 2020 NZST
Speed:
6.0
knts
GPS: 01 46.646n 118 32.695w
Weather: 11kn 135T, cloud 2/8 (15%), SS 1.0mSSW

Well, to paraphrase just about every football commentator on the planet, this was a week of two halves, in more ways than one! After beating our previous PB on Day 14, we nudged it a little higher on Day 16 and walloped it on Day 17. All thanks to that friendly Westerly current that continued to head in our direction. As the current petered out towards the end of the week however, so did our glorious mile-eating. For the past 36hrs we have been crossing a Nbound current and this, at 1kn+ against, together with light winds has really slowed us...Albeit hopefully temporarily, as we should shortly move into a SW current and a better wind forecast, that will take us across the Equator and the doldrums.

Late on 30th June and still 1,900nm from our destination, we did have a bit of an 'Oh Bother' moment to shake us out of complacency, when I looked up from the cockpit to see the boom too was in two halves! (The boom is a big metal pole about 6inches in diameter that sticks out at right-angles to the mast and holds our mainsail out). It didn't seem to make much sense as we had been trucking along on a beam reach (wind at 90 degrees to our heading) in fairly benign wind and seas, with only moderate rolling and not much strain.

The boom had suffered a severe break where an attachment called a boom vang is made..and only didn't separate because of an old sail track still riveted along the top (we now have a loose-footed main) and the spare #1 batten I keep in there!. Looks like simple fatigue cracking, although there is evidence of galvanic corrosion where the stainless steel plate attaches to the aluminimum boom via rivets here (which were ripped out). However, this attachment is also where we have the permanently-rigged gybe preventers we inherited (and love!!) and cumulative strain may be the culprit, as having these attached to the end of the boom apparently causes less stress (overall).

Anyway, fortunately we'd hung onto a 4.5m long bamboo pole we'd cut down a Shelter Bay, back in the day when we thought we may be heading S to the SE trades and want to be running under double genoas! Luckily the boom gooseneck (where it attaches to the mast) seems fine and that held up the 1/3 nearest the boom and the other 2/3 was supported at the other end by the topping lift, with just a small matter of 40 degrees separating the two!. It was just a case of jacking the 2 heavy parts back together (kinda straight-ish) with the main halyard, and using the bamboo as a brace to suspend the 2 parts from (so we can still use all the boom fittings) and bound it all together with webbing straps screwed to the bamboo, together with copious lashings! It's held so far for over 3 days and 450nm, which is, frankly, a bit surprising! Tbh it's not really such a drama, as we have lots of other options should this Macgyver effort fail (using our metal spinnaker pole in place of bamboo, rigging ti-sail or loose-footed jib in place of main, running on just headsails etc etc).

Last night we had the excitement of seeing our first boat for 14 days, a Chinese fishing vessel that AIS helpfully told us would come within 0.1nm in 40mins if we didn't change course. Needless to say we did.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to a much more welcome encounter, with our friend Thomas, currently sailing solo aboard his beautiful Halberg Rassey 43. He's been decimating our small fleet with his speed, having started a week after Windchase!!. A little further behind Patea is hitting her straps, as is Spacegrazer a little further behind. In just one example that it's not just Windchase but most yachts that seem to undergo at least some 'drama' or another on passage, they nearly won the Darwin Awards, ironically by crashing into Isla Darwin in the Galapagos! Up close taking photos, their boat was the lee of the island with full sail up. Then the proximity of the sheer rock wall in front of them affected the wind dynamic and instead of blowing them off the island, pushed them towards it. Fortunately the engine started first pull and allowed them to reverse off, with less than a boat length to spare.

Anyway, enough from me..We are all well aboard! Our estimated arrival (Nuka Hiva) is now around the 15th July...Fortuitously this is the day that French Polynesia had announced it was officially reopening its borders, so we are fairly hopeful that no quarantine will be imposed, yay! TTFN, S/V Windchase Week 3 stats: Day Latitude Longitude DOGnm Last Cum Av 24 Hrs Spd 15 28/06/2020 02° 00.3N 103° 15.3W 1845.3 163.7 358 5.15 16 29/06/2020 01° 56.9N 106° 24.6W 2036.1 190.8 382 5.33 17 30/06/2020 01° 59.2N 110° 08.2W 2260.9 224.8 406 5.57 18 01/07/2020 01° 57.1N 112° 32.3W 2406.6 145.7 430 5.60 19 02/07/2020 01° 55.2N 114° 56.6W 2552.3 145.7 454 5.62 20 03/07/2020 01° 54.0N 116° 46.6W 2663.0 110.7 478 5.57 21 04/07/2020 01° 46.6N 118° 32.7 2770.4 107.4 502 5.52


Sun Jul 5 8:12 2020 NZST
Speed:
6.0
knts
GPS: 01 46.646n 118 32.695w
Run: 1242.5nm (2248.9km)
Avg: 7.3knts
24hr: 175.7nm
Weather: 11kn 135T, cloud 2/8 (15%), SS 1.0mSSW

Well, to paraphrase just about every football commentator on the planet, this was a week of two halves, in more ways than one! After beating our previous PB on Day 14, we nudged it a little higher on Day 16 and walloped it on Day 17. All thanks to that friendly Westerly current that continued to head in our direction. As the current petered out towards the end of the week however, so did our glorious mile-eating. For the past 36hrs we have been crossing a Nbound current and this, at 1kn+ against, together with light winds has really slowed us...Albeit hopefully temporarily, as we should shortly move into a SW current and a better wind forecast, that will take us across the Equator and the doldrums.

Late on 30th June and still 1,900nm from our destination, we did have a bit of an 'Oh Bother' moment to shake us out of complacency, when I looked up from the cockpit to see the boom too was in two halves! (The boom is a big metal pole about 6inches in diameter that sticks out at right-angles to the mast and holds our mainsail out). It didn't seem to make much sense as we had been trucking along on a beam reach (wind at 90 degrees to our heading) in fairly benign wind and seas, with only moderate rolling and not much strain.

The boom had suffered a severe break where an attachment called a boom vang is made..and only didn't separate because of an old sail track still riveted along the top (we now have a loose-footed main) and the spare #1 batten I keep in there!. Looks like simple fatigue cracking, although there is evidence of galvanic corrosion where the stainless steel plate attaches to the aluminimum boom via rivets here (which were ripped out). However, this attachment is also where we have the permanently-rigged gybe preventers we inherited (and love!!) and cumulative strain may be the culprit, as having these attached to the end of the boom apparently causes less stress (overall).

Anyway, fortunately we'd hung onto a 4.5m long bamboo pole we'd cut down a Shelter Bay, back in the day when we thought we may be heading S to the SE trades and want to be running under double genoas! Luckily the boom gooseneck (where it attaches to the mast) seems fine and that held up the 1/3 nearest the boom and the other 2/3 was supported at the other end by the topping lift, with just a small matter of 40 degrees separating the two!. It was just a case of jacking the 2 heavy parts back together (kinda straight-ish) with the main halyard, and using the bamboo as a brace to suspend the 2 parts from (so we can still use all the boom fittings) and bound it all together with webbing straps screwed to the bamboo, together with copious lashings! It's held so far for over 3 days and 450nm, which is, frankly, a bit surprising! Tbh it's not really such a drama, as we have lots of other options should this Macgyver effort fail (using our metal spinnaker pole in place of bamboo, rigging ti-sail or loose-footed jib in place of main, running on just headsails etc etc).

Last night we had the excitement of seeing our first boat for 14 days, a Chinese fishing vessel that AIS helpfully told us would come within 0.1nm in 40mins if we didn't change course. Needless to say we did.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to a much more welcome encounter, with our friend Thomas, currently sailing solo aboard his beautiful Halberg Rassey 43. He's been decimating our small fleet with his speed, having started a week after Windchase!!. A little further behind Patea is hitting her straps, as is Spacegrazer a little further behind. In just one example that it's not just Windchase but most yachts that seem to undergo at least some 'drama' or another on passage, they nearly won the Darwin Awards, ironically by crashing into Isla Darwin in the Galapagos! Up close taking photos, their boat was the lee of the island with full sail up. Then the proximity of the sheer rock wall in front of them affected the wind dynamic and instead of blowing them off the island, pushed them towards it. Fortunately the engine started first pull and allowed them to reverse off, with less than a boat length to spare.

Anyway, enough from me..We are all well aboard! Our estimated arrival (Nuka Hiva) is now around the 15th July...Fortuitously this is the day that French Polynesia had announced it was officially reopening its borders, so we are fairly hopeful that no quarantine will be imposed, yay! TTFN, S/V Windchase Week 3 stats: Day Latitude Longitude DOGnm Last Cum Av 24 Hrs Spd 15 28/06/2020 02° 00.3N 103° 15.3W 1845.3 163.7 358 5.15 16 29/06/2020 01° 56.9N 106° 24.6W 2036.1 190.8 382 5.33 17 30/06/2020 01° 59.2N 110° 08.2W 2260.9 224.8 406 5.57 18 01/07/2020 01° 57.1N 112° 32.3W 2406.6 145.7 430 5.60 19 02/07/2020 01° 55.2N 114° 56.6W 2552.3 145.7 454 5.62 20 03/07/2020 01° 54.0N 116° 46.6W 2663.0 110.7 478 5.57 21 04/07/2020 01° 46.6N 118° 32.7 2770.4 107.4 502 5.52


Sun Jun 28 6:27 2020 NZST
Speed:
7.0
knts
GPS: 02 13.043n 100 33.731w
Run: 1123nm (2032.6km)
Avg: 9.1knts
24hr: 217.3nm
Weather: 12kn 185T, cloud 67/8, SS 0.5mSSW

Thankfully the 2nd week has seen the end of beating into wind AND current as we have continued west at the same latitude. If the week began with a bit of whimper, with still some adverse current, it has ended with bang (of sorts), with a PB for Windchase, yay!! We have just hit 190nm (rounding up the decimals! ;-). Now I know that is run-of-the-mill for the likes of many, including fellow yachts departing after us such as Moira skippered by Thomas (aka The Wolf), who has been speedily hunting us down in his pack of one with laser-like focus (despite a well-deserved break to spot wildlife at an outer Galapagos island), or the kiwi yacht Patea, at least once she has jettisoned the last of her excessive mango ballast. But for us, it will be cause for celebration! Our previous best was 176nm, achieved twice (first on our delivery trip S from Auckland in 35kn and 5m following seas, the other in 40-50kn following when entering the Red Sea). This time it was very different indeed to those occasions, with almost-flat seas, a kindly wind (12-15T) largely on the beam - and thus no sphincter-clenching required - all very civilised! Boat speed through most of the day and night stayed in the 6.5-7kn range and all of us slept soundly when off-watch.

Our windvane Rach has done most of the work, with just the occasional nudge required from us to keep our course in the right direction as the wind shifted, and a few sail adjustments as we varied between 110AWA and 35AWA, but most of the miles were done at 90-60.

The heading wind did cause a few palpitations - we had been revelling in the fact that the wind had kept around the 13-14knT mark (AWA 55-60 from 185-190T) through most of the night, when at 0800 the weather-gods conspired to temper our hubris and the wind promptly dropped to 5kn and we were heading NW, going close-hauled to try and maintain our Wbnd course but still with an eye to that PB...grrr. Fortunately by 10am it had recovered to 10-12 (12kn from 220 at midday, though we had adjusted course S a little to get back onto our desired track).

Of course none of this is due to the numpties in the cockpit, the real hero is our friendly westbound current! After a very slow start,for us, past Isla Darwin in t e Galapagos, it is now exceeding expectations, as it has been running at 1.8-2.8kn (average over 24hrs I guess at about 2.2. So SOG was regularly 8.5-9kn. Lovely Jubbly!).

More tempering is that our overall average speed over the first 2 weeks has only just been dragged kicking and screaming over 5kn, nearly 50% slower than 'the Wolf', who still has the best of the current to come and will no doubt make the catch before we hit the equator! Anyway, onward and westward. We're getting there but not counting our chickens just yet...'Only' 1700nm or gone and still at least 2,400 (including crossing the doldrums) to go! TTFN, S/V Windchase Week 2 stats: Day Latitude Longitude DOGnm Last Cum Av 24 Hrs Spd 8 21/06/2020 01° 51.8N 086° 07.5W 803.2 114.3 190 4.23 9 22/06/2020 01° 51.9N 087° 55.4W 913.4 110.2 214 4.27 10 23/06/2020 01° 56.6N 090° 08.6W 1049.1 135.7 238 4.41 11 24/06/2020 02° 03.2N 092° 28.4W 1190.8 141.7 262 4.55 12 25/06/2020 02° 04.3N 094° 57.4W 1341.6 150.8 286 4.69 13 26/06/2020 02° 06.8N 097° 25.8W 1491.6 150.0 310 4.81 14 27/06/2020 02° 13.0N 100° 33.7W 1681.6 190.0 334 5.03


Tue Jun 23 2:24 2020 NZST
Speed:
5.0
knts
GPS: 01 55.763n 084 18.321w
Weather: 7-9kn SSW, cloud 6/8, SS 0.5 SW

We have now covered around 714nm over ground since starting, though a lot less than this if a direct line was taken! While wanting to head SW, we probably followed the wind a bit too long and go pushed by strong current too far to the SE. At midnight Thursday we decided against aiming for the 'normal' route to get to the SE Trade Winds which we were generally aiming for (crossing the Equator at about 84W, then passing the Galapagos at around 8S, but hung a right at about 2N and have been maintaining this latitude (ie a westerly heading), broadly, since.

The first few nights (after a lovely first one) were, as expected, fairly bouncy with the SW winds that are now prevailing this late in the crossing season. Lots of rain too, but luckily we enjoyed a break in thunderstorm and lighting activity when leaving the Gulf. Winds were reasonable for speed, though we had nothing over 25kn apparent.

We encountered a few Ecuadorian fishing boats, even as far out as 130nm from their coast. These are just open topped heavy wooden things and as such they don't show up well on radar. We came within a hundred metres of one one night, thankfully lit after a fashion, if only by a cellphone torch! In daylight the next day, one friendly bunch came over for a nosey and a 'chat', of sorts, before helpfully coming along to point out their fishing gear for us to avoid (basically lots of free floating plastic containers strung out over a couple of miles with a very long baited (floating) line trailing off each).

The last couple of days have seen us overcome a few challenges with the currents (which can be fairly strong around here, esp when sailing in light winds), plus the usual technical challenges that always seem to rear their head aboard..But they now seem sorted and we are ghosting along and enjoying some balmy sailing, with what should be, touch wood, the worst over.

We have seen heaps of dolphin pods and their jumping displays and also enjoyed the attentions of a number of hitchikers - 4 currently perched on our pulpit and fighting off anyone else trying to get a look in! Paul has already had a quick first dip when we were becalmed one (sunny) day. OK it was to check for a potential prop wrap (there was none) but he can now vouch that it really is a very deep and the most amazing-blue ocean..stunning! While our progress has been slow, it's been fairly steady and we expect to pick up daily distances as the passage progresses...The Galapagos now lie about 2-3 days to the WSW, although we shall likely be heading to pass them to the N, well clear of both strong currents and the Ecuador Navy.

That's all for now folks, stay safe and well Cheers S/V Windchase PS Just a reminder that sadly we cannot access let alone reply to comments on yit while we are on passage, but really do appreciate them afterwards! If there is any goss though, do please do feel free to email us at windchase@gmn-usa.com. Because we have very limited data capacity, please ensure any email contains TEXT ONLY please - no logos, photos or videos. Especially no cat videos. And we will reply, just maybe with a slight delay, as we only switch the phone on once a day or so. Please delete any text from a previous reply before sending too - we'll know what you are referring too! Not sure if the following table of Week 1 stats will come out on yit, but it's an attempt for those of you sticking pins on maps to show where to stick them! All Locations 1200Z (GMT-5:00) Day Latitude Longitude DOG 24hrs Start (1030hrs) 08° 35.5N 079° 01.1W 13/06/20 (1.5hrs) 08° 28.3N 079° 05.1W 9.7 9.7 1 14/06/20 (20.5hrs) 07° 13.1N 079° 30.6W 95.1 85.4 2 15/06/2020 05° 29.6N 080° 18.1W 218.0 122.9 3 16/06/2020 03° 58.0N 080° 12.7W 313.1 95.1 4 17/06/2020 02° 44.1N 080° 14.8W 400.3 87.2 5 18/06/2020 02° 09.0N 081° 20.7W 495.5 95.2 6 19/06/2020 02° 08.4N 082° 46.6W 589.6 94.1 7 20/06/2020 01° 56.4N 084° 16.0W 688.9 99.3


Sun Jun 21 13:09 2020 NZST
Speed:
5.0
knts
GPS: 01 55.763n 084 18.321w
Run: 1825.4nm (3304km)
Avg: 14.8knts
24hr: 355.9nm
Weather: 7-9kn SSW, cloud 6/8, SS 0.5 SW

We have now covered around 714nm over ground since starting, though a lot less than this if a direct line was taken! While wanting to head SW, we probably followed the wind a bit too long and go pushed by strong current too far to the SE. At midnight Thursday we decided against aiming for the 'normal' route to get to the SE Trade Winds which we were generally aiming for (crossing the Equator at about 84W, then passing the Galapagos at around 8S, but hung a right at about 2N and have been maintaining this latitude (ie a westerly heading), broadly, since.

The first few nights (after a lovely first one) were, as expected, fairly bouncy with the SW winds that are now prevailing this late in the crossing season. Lots of rain too, but luckily we enjoyed a break in thunderstorm and lighting activity when leaving the Gulf. Winds were reasonable for speed, though we had nothing over 25kn apparent.

We encountered a few Ecuadorian fishing boats, even as far out as 130nm from their coast. These are just open topped heavy wooden things and as such they don't show up well on radar. We came within a hundred metres of one one night, thankfully lit after a fashion, if only by a cellphone torch! In daylight the next day, one friendly bunch came over for a nosey and a 'chat', of sorts, before helpfully coming along to point out their fishing gear for us to avoid (basically lots of free floating plastic containers strung out over a couple of miles with a very long baited (floating) line trailing off each).

The last couple of days have seen us overcome a few challenges with the currents (which can be fairly strong around here, esp when sailing in light winds), plus the usual technical challenges that always seem to rear their head aboard..But they now seem sorted and we are ghosting along and enjoying some balmy sailing, with what should be, touch wood, the worst over.

We have seen heaps of dolphin pods and their jumping displays and also enjoyed the attentions of a number of hitchikers - 4 currently perched on our pulpit and fighting off anyone else trying to get a look in! Paul has already had a quick first dip when we were becalmed one (sunny) day. OK it was to check for a potential prop wrap (there was none) but he can now vouch that it really is a very deep and the most amazing-blue ocean..stunning! While our progress has been slow, it's been fairly steady and we expect to pick up daily distances as the passage progresses...The Galapagos now lie about 2-3 days to the WSW, although we shall likely be heading to pass them to the N, well clear of both strong currents and the Ecuador Navy.

That's all for now folks, stay safe and well Cheers S/V Windchase PS Just a reminder that sadly we cannot access let alone reply to comments on yit while we are on passage, but really do appreciate them afterwards! If there is any goss though, do please do feel free to email us at windchase@gmn-usa.com. Because we have very limited data capacity, please ensure any email contains TEXT ONLY please - no logos, photos or videos. Especially no cat videos. And we will reply, just maybe with a slight delay, as we only switch the phone on once a day or so. Please delete any text from a previous reply before sending too - we'll know what you are referring too! Not sure if the following table of Week 1 stats will come out on yit, but it's an attempt for those of you sticking pins on maps to show where to stick them! All Locations 1200Z (GMT-5:00) Day Latitude Longitude DOG 24hrs Start (1030hrs) 08° 35.5N 079° 01.1W 13/06/20 (1.5hrs) 08° 28.3N 079° 05.1W 9.7 9.7 1 14/06/20 (20.5hrs) 07° 13.1N 079° 30.6W 95.1 85.4 2 15/06/2020 05° 29.6N 080° 18.1W 218.0 122.9 3 16/06/2020 03° 58.0N 080° 12.7W 313.1 95.1 4 17/06/2020 02° 44.1N 080° 14.8W 400.3 87.2 5 18/06/2020 02° 09.0N 081° 20.7W 495.5 95.2 6 19/06/2020 02° 08.4N 082° 46.6W 589.6 94.1 7 20/06/2020 01° 56.4N 084° 16.0W 688.9 99.3


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 16 18.478n 061 47.987w
Run: 1459.4nm (2641.5km)
Avg: 5253840knts
24hr: 126092160nm
Weather: lovely

Arrived to check in at Deshaies, Guadaloupe after a pretty slow 225nm 53hr passage, upwind and against the prevailing currents :-(, from Great Lameshur Bay where we had spent our last couple of nights on St John island, USVI (fantastic!). Here we were to enjoy some lovely stops (including of course fresh croissant!), and walks ashore, particularly in the southern island group of Les Saintes.


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
4.9
knts
GPS: 05 29.621n 080 18.156w
Run: 1385.1nm (2507km)
Avg: 4986360knts
24hr: 119672640nm
Weather: 8-10kn SW, cloud 7/8, SS 0.5-1m SW

We have covered around 211nm over ground since starting (220nm through the water as current against), but actually had a cheeky 4hr stop off at San Jose, the southernmost island on the first afternoon, to attend to a few forgotten boat chores, enjoy a last flat evening meal - and wait for the Sbnd tidal current to start again. Leaving at dusk saw us heading broadly for a point about 40nm E of Malpelo, a very small Colombian island in the mouth of the Gulf of Panama. We'll try to maintain this course for a further 250nm or so, until about 2N. As well as taking us towads the SE trades, this will mean we'll minimise the time under the cloudbase where the ICTZ seems to extend further S and E than normal, bending around across the Gulf of Panama towards Ecuador (this carries the risk of thunderstorms and lightning, particularly at night, so we are keen not to hang around under it!). It will also give us the chance to still decide at that point whether to route N, S or through the Galapagos Islands, depending on a more up to date forecast to come.

Fortunately, we seem to have got the departure time reasonably right and have kept ahead of any black clouds moving towards Panama, with the only lightning being well in the distance. Also fortunately the SW swell (against us) hasn't really amounted to too much, although Sue has uttered a few choice words already! Still, pretty happy with the start! Distance covered=211nm,last 24=116nm, DTF=4,113nm (projected track on departure=4,324nm)


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 18 25.503n 064 36.714w
Run: 810.9nm (1467.7km)
Avg: 1459620knts
24hr: 35030880nm
Weather: lovely

Wheres Wally? Or more to the point, where's Windchase? Well a few very brief updates to catch-up on our whistlestop tour of the Carribean...We've actually just set off from Panama, bound for the Marquesas. I actually had written up quite a bit more, but managed to drown my phone on which the diary was kept in the Las Perlas islands (40nm SE of Panama City). Oh we

, c'est la viwe...I'll try and fill in more later, but typing this on passage, so just the briefest details for now! Arrived in Road Town, BVI after an easy 19hr, 85nm downwind passage from Anguilla.

Our 5 days in Anguilla were a bit of a disappointment tbh - The weather wasn't flash, with quite a bit of drizzle, and it's a place that seems to want to cater more for the high-end traveller (and yachties) than us n'er-do-well cruisers...Basically your anchoring options are very limited, to only 2 bays, and while off-lying islands have moorings to protect their reefs, you had to pay the princely sum of around US$56/day for the privilege of their use (in daytime only!). I've no doubt they'd get more cruising visitors (and their income for locals) if they charged less. The locals were certainly welcoming through, even if the weather wasn't - but it looks like not much of the tourist $ filters down and from a quick visit to the main town (and the ever-illuminating chats with taxi drivers), what limited resources are available don't seem to get spent on infrastructure.

Still, the anchorage we did stay in did have a very lovely & long perfect-sand beach, a short climb up to a neighbouring village to get supplies and several (expensive) restaurants and bars spilling out onto the beach. We stuck to the latter in the name of cocktail research, mainly hanging out at the very chilled Elvis's Bar which Mili liked as it had friendly dogs...and served great fish tacos too.

Initial impressions of the BVI (Road Town) were was that it is a bit run-down and touristy (given we had picked up a free mooring in the harbour which was accomodating two mega-cruiseliners, while we went ashore to complete formalities)...But the impressions definitely improved significantly when we headed off to explore more around the two main islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda....very lovely!


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 11 14.515n 074 13.054w
Run: 363.4nm (657.8km)
Avg: 1308240knts
24hr: 31397760nm
Weather: lovely

Arrived Santa Marta, Colombia after a 343nm generally great downwind 2.5 day passage from Curacao, which we had left on 27 Feb. We whizzed past Aruba at 9kn...assisted by the decent wind - and a 3kn current! ;-). Here we enjoyed a lovely if brief stay in this safe marina and tourist town, also taking a private taxi 3hrs south (Mili wasn't allowed on the shuttle bus) for a 4 night hotel stay in the old town of historic port of Cartajena. Lots of good food and even learnt how to make our own chocolates from scratch!


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 12 06.534n 068 55.328w
Run: 753.6nm (1364km)
Avg: 1356480knts
24hr: 32555520nm
Weather: lovely

Left Martinique on 17 Feb, continuing south initially to close past the spectacular Les Pitons peaks of St Lucia at sunset. We then turned west, to arrived Willemsted in Curacao, after a 534nm passage. We'd bypassed Bonnaire becuase we wanted to arrived in time for the annual Carnival Grand Parade on Curacao. We enjoyed both the Carnival and a brief stay in the marina here, which was a short walk to the historic centre with all its colourful buildings and amazing murals.


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 08 54.573n 079 31.512w
Run: 1183.6nm (2142.3km)
Avg: 4260960knts
24hr: 102263040nm
Weather: overcast

Well, we are here...Back in the same ocean we started in 2 years ago (if still a little way from NZ!). The transit through the Canal went pretty smoothly, if a little later than planned. Moira and Windchase had it relatively easy, being rafted either side of Spacegrazer...We were thus only responsible for handling two of the four lines to the dock side that secured the entire raft of 3. Having said that, in one lock we did come within inches (no exageration!) of squishing our freshly serviced and polished windvane when something went wrong with a line on the far side and the whole raft skewed perilously close to the lock side. Thankfuly we had brought a 2nd hand mega teardrop fender in Shelter Bay that was close at hand to save the day (and windvane!) Whilst we were originally scheduled to make the transit in a day, in the event we were held up by the ship with which our raft shared the first 3 ('up) locks with, and would thus ultimately miss the ship we should have accompanied through the final 3 (down) locks. We all felt this a blessing, as it gave us the chance to relax at the S end of Lake Gatun which separates the up and down locks, as well as enjoy the view on both days raher than doing some in the dark as would be the case for most yachts in more-normal times).


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 18 20.427n 064 47.675w
Run: 1109nm (2007.3km)
Avg: 1996200knts
24hr: 47908800nm
Weather: lovely

Arrived to check in at Cruz Bay, USVI after a (very!) easy 7nm cruise from the West End of Tortola, BVI


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 09 30.624n 078 36.966w
Run: 1231.5nm (2229km)
Avg: 2216700knts
24hr: 53200800nm
Weather: lovely

Arrived in the idyllic San Blas islands of Panama, after a 288nm 2 day passage from Santa Marta, averaging 5.8kn. Although reputed to be a tough passage (apparently voted the '5th worst in the world') due to the very high winds and following seas usually encountered off Baranquilla, we managed to get the timing right and grabbed a short window which ensured it was (fairly) cruisey. Unfortunately our planned 2 week stop in the San Blas was to be cut short by the arrival of Covid-19...Barely 30 hours afer arriving, we were visited by local officals and soldiers and informed that Panama had gone into lockdown and we could no longer check into the country in the San Blas and would have to head to Shelter Bay to undergo quarantine and official entry. Poo.


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 14 43.811n 061 10.885w
Run: 1279nm (2315km)
Avg: 4604400knts
24hr: 110505600nm
Weather: lovely

Leaving Guadaloupe on 9th Feb, we arrived to check in at St Pierre, Martinique after some exciting sailing down the coast from Guadaloupe - with a cheeky little overnight stop off the coast of Dominica. Another ex-French island, so lots more croissant, wine and rather too much Ti Punch! Enjoyed stocking up at a big supemarket with its very own dinghy dock, meeting up with the guys from Bachus again, whom we'd first met in Tenerife....and of course lots of dog walks! Left on 17th Feb :-(


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 08 35.609n 079 01.175w
Run: 82.8nm (149.9km)
Avg: 298080knts
24hr: 7153920nm
Weather: sunny

We have been enjoying the Las Perlas (Pearl Islands) about 40nm SE of Panama City for the the past fortnight. These 2 weeks give us a pause to make sure we didn't pick up anything from the Transit advisors we had to have on board through the Canal, attend to a last bit of provisioning and boat preparation - but mainly a chance to relax and get back into cruising mode in a beautiful place.

The islands really are lovely, and a Covid bonus is that they are practically deserted! We've enjoyed the company of fellow kiwi yachts Spacegrazer and Patea and our swiss friend Thomas aboard Moira, with a few beach bonfires, shared meals and more than a few spicy colas. Mili has also been in heaven with her regular walks on deserted beaches! Mind you, we did have a brief scare when touring the S end of the islands with Moira...We'd anchored off a beach ready to do an up-river dinghy trip at dawn the next day, so naturally headed there for or evening walk. Landing in the centre of the beach, we headed off to the right end first. Mili being off the lea,d, she soon smelt swamp, which we hadn't spotted through the bush. This, of course meant that she went hareing off into it. And that, as we know spelt potential trouble. Dad dutifully waded into the mangroves on a retrieval mission packing it this time, it must be admitted! Anyway, retrieval complete, and lead now firmly attached, we headed back to the other end of the beach. Lo and behold, the bush opened out here to reveal the 'swamp' at the other end was actually the edge of a large lagoon backing the full length of this long beach. Wherein happily swam 4 crocodiles, only about 30m off the back of the beach. I have little doubt that had we turned left with her off the lead instead of right when starting, or without the mangrove warning bells, Mili would have done her usual and rushed into swim in this part of the lagoon...and promptly become a croc 'bocadillo'! Anyway, all good things must come to an end but it does make way for the possibility of new adventure!...Here we go...setting off on our longest passage to date, around 4,000nm west to Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas, an archipelago at the eastern edge of French Polynesia. (We'd actually like to mae landfall on Hiva Oa, an adjacent island, but still have some uncertainty this is allowed. Although limited reprovisioning stops for yachties have been allowed anyway, FP is now scheduled to repoen its borders offically to all visitors on July 15th. This is about when we may arrive, although the journey may take (us) anywhere between 28-42 days, depending on the weather! Unfortunately our late departure from Panama has meant that we are now in the rainy season and the prevailing winds have changed - whereas we would have looked forward to a full 'downwind' run, with following winds all the way, if we'd left in April, now we have wind and swell against us, for at least the first 7 days as we first head broadly SW before turning W. Current forecast is for winds not actually to come behind the beam for about 2 weeks! Oh well, needs must...Off we go!


Tue Jun 16 10:03 2020 NZST
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 09 22.129n 079 56.694w
Run: 1325.4nm (2399km)
Weather: overcast

Arrived in the less-idyllic Shelter Bay quarantine anchorage, after a 90nm overnight passage from San Blas. Actually it wasn't too bad and the 2 weeks passed quickly as we were brought provisions, sim cards, water etc by dinghy via the incredibly friendly marina manager Juanjo, his sidekick Eddie and volunteers Andre and Magnus. Once in the marina, we were incredibly lucky to enjoy this aptly named shelter...It is remote from any built up areas anyway,but further controls had been put in place by Juanjo to ensure it remained a Covid-free oasis. We were also lucky however that Juanjo had sweettalked the commander at the nearby Aeronavale base, who conducted patrols in the area, to take a 'relaxed' view of the strict lockdown beng imposed elsewhere in Panama (men and women allowed out of their homes for only 2 hours on alternate days) to the marina visitors, and this allowed us to roam freely at any time within the marina and on a limited part of the coast and old naval base. Loads of attention and walks for Mili, so she was happy, an even happier when we purchased an air-conditioning unit from a fellow cruiser to cool the cabin. Dad enjoyed the walks too, often with Thomas, a Swiss friend we had first met in Curacao, or Susie and her 2 dogs. Oterwise it was back to the obligatory boat chores during the day for him. Sue meanwhile had volunteered to serve in the marina grocery store, haveing fun times (in air-conditioned comfort!) with fellow volunteers Lindsey and Corrina. Evenings were often 'social-anti-social', often with a speaker set up on the dock. Fortunately stocks of 'spicy cola' were able to be sustained (by most), given the official ban on alcohol sales and consumption. On 28 May, after over 10 weeks including quarantine, we finally departed Shelter Bay to transit the Panama Canal, with fellow cruisers from the boats Spacegrazer and Moira,with whom we would raft up through the locks.


Sun Jan 5 4:09 2020 NZDT
Speed:
0.0
knts
GPS: 17 04.151n 061 53.057w
Run: 477.4nm (864.1km)
Avg: 4.9knts
24hr: 116.7nm
Weather: 15-16 ENE, CC 2/8 SS nil

FINALLY made it to Antigua and now sitting at the customs wharf in Jolly Harbour. Just completed our fomalities and waiting on vet to allow Mili ashore. The last few days we've had some reasonable wind and calm seas, so very comfortable, if not fast. Of course, almost inevitably the best conditions were saved for last, when yesterday we had a nice 15kn N/NE breeze on the beam...However as we still wouldn't make landfall before sunset, we spent the best part of the day trying (and failing) to keep boatspeed under 4kn and in the end chose to 'heave-to' until daybreak about 10nm off shore (kind of like parking the boat using the sails rather than an anchor).

Apart from arrival, almost a bigger highlight occurred on New Years Eve just after the last YiT report, when we received an extended visit from a whale (about 7m long and still to be identified), who cruised alongside and under the boat for a couple of hours, much like we're more used to with dolphins. Fortunately though, it didn't seem to identify with Windchase as a potential enemy, or a mate.

Mili appears to be very much looking forward to some shore leave, while the crew are aiming for Rum Punch and an extended sleep! TTFN! PS Antigua looks beautiful!!! Last few daily runs (noon-noon in nm) 21: 108.7 22: 115.0 23: 109.6 24: 95.4 (+5.4 after noon) (Total 2,801.2nm, in 580hrs at overall av speed of only 4.83kn....Not helped by 5 sub-100 days and only 4 over 130!. The minimum possible great circle route would have been 2,643nm)


Wed Jan 1 2:00 2020 NZDT
Speed:
5.3
knts
GPS: 18 00.433n 054 42.371w
Run: 431nm (780.1km)
Avg: 5.9knts
24hr: 142nm
Weather: 12-14 ENE, CC 2/8 SS 1.0m NE/1.0m E

Well as you can see from the recent daily run distances below, it looks like we have enjoyed our all-too-brief period of decent wind and are now back to the lighter stuff. Still, at least the seas have settled down from the slightly confused following mush that induced much rolling (and a fair few swear words from the chief cook) over previous days! Yesterday afternoon we passed our previous longest passage time (462hrs) and not long ago the distance on that passage (2,353nm). The fact that we'd traveled further across the Indian Ocean in that time (when it may normally be expected to be a lot slower than the Atlantic) may indicate just how slow we've been on this one! Oh well....

Even most of the recent nights have been (mostly) relatively benign...A bit more exciting when the moon is not shining as then even very-modest waves which may curl over and break nearby, can sound like an oncoming train! Usually we have been able to count on a few squalls, but even most of these haven't amounted to much...The wind has only risen by about 5-15kn ahead of the squall and (because we have Rach steering which keeps us at a constant angle to the wind) we'll speed up and turn 30-50 degress to the North as it does so. Then the winds (and we) swing back on course as the squall passes and 'normal service' is resumed. At night we are usually reefed down, to make sure we're not caught with too much sail up when these squalls pass, but the wind shift on the leading front can sometimes take us a bit too side on to the waves and require us to tweak Rach a bit to correct this....But usually she can be left to take care of things.

During the day or at night when the moon is out you can usually tell ahead of time what may be coming by the more ominous clouds or obvious sheets of rain/drizzle and if there is a lot of activity at night, we'll sometimes switch on the radar too, as this shows up the areas of rain and their path pretty well.

Sailors (and even us lol!) can also see the predicted potential for squalls and lightning ahead via sat phone downloads of something called the CAPE Index in grib files (CAPE being the "Convectively Available Potential Energy" ). However, on Windchase, this is supplemented by a more practical system of eyes and ears, in conjunction with our own empirical "Observer's Fear Under Concentrated Kilowatts" index. This moderately-scientific measure, of audience excitation, is a 10-point scale based on the proximity, frequency and ground strike potential of any lightning, starting from 1 (Comatose). On Monday night we had our first consistent bout of lightning, resulting in excitement levels of around 7 (High) and 8 (Stomach Tightening), but fortunately not rising to the levels 9 (Sphincter Clenching) or 10 (Involuntary Evacuation) we experienced crossing the Java Sea! On that happy note we shall bid you goodbye and wish everyone a very Happy New Year! TTFN Last few daily runs (noon-noon in nm) 18: 135.7 19: 133.0 20: 114.8 (Total 2,364nm, at overall av speed so far of only 4.9kn. DTF approx 430nm)


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