Yesterday was our 5th day at sea from Easter Island to Valdivia. We’ve covered about 500 miles and our position today is

35 degr 44′ S , 104degr 21 W at 1430 Z on Fri April 8th

I post this position here because I am getting out of reliable contact with any Winlink shore stations , so I cannot post the position to the cool map on the website. I have not figured out how to do that with Sailmail, which is what I am mostly using now. Mer can still use Winlink because her netbook suffers less from RF interference. We use the same radio and modem.

Yesterday we had very strong winds , up to 35 knots at times . Very Nautical,if Steve and Marilyn are reading. We were running only under poled out staysail and still doing 6.5 knots. The tiller would need a kick every 10 minutes or so as the stern sloughed around in a steep following sea.

If that wind had continued we would have put out the series drogue for the night as the wavecrests were breaking bigger and bigger. I do not want to be ‘knocked down’ at all. However at about 2 pm , while I was having a nap , the clouds moved in , torrential rain started , the temp dropped 6 degrees and the wind changed from 30 k NNW to 25 k SW immediately. It took Mer 1.5 hours to get the sail configuration sorted out for the new angle. In heavy heavy rain. I offered help , by yelling through the open porthole. My offer was somewhat brusquely refused. ” Foxtrot Oscar” ? She’s a rude girl! I even offered to put on the kettle. No point in both of us getting soaked is there ? That’s what I thought too. Good Crew !

So, the rain and wind were sporadic all night with frequent sail changes in the rain. Very inconvenient. At 0400 the wind was gone , sails down , to bed.

This was a classic ‘cold front’ something we haven’t seen for 8 months. The barometer had dropped about 5 mb over the preceding 6 hrs.

At 0800 today, engine on , and YES, the ‘bus heater’ putting out BTU’s, taking heat from the engine. Don’t overestimate the hardship : still in barefeet but wearing wetweather trousers and a light sweater. Temp inside 25 C and outside 17 C.

For those interested , we have run under two jibs a couple of times. The spinnaker halyard replaces the staysail halyard as a pole topping lift. The small pole on the staysail does not need a topping lift. The boat is much steadier , and the vane works easier in strong winds with two jibs up and mainsail down. Yesterday was too much wind for any more than the staysail. I could have also put up the tiny storm jib. We use the spinnaker halyard to hold up the whisker pole. Until I accidentally released one end of the spinnaker halyard and the line ran up through the masthead block , streamed away ahead of us in the strong wind then descended to the water and ran under the fast moving boat. The prop shaft is locked so entanglement was avoided. I am glad when it is me that fouls up because I can give full verbal expression to my displeasure , without risk of offending anyone, except on the principle that ‘swear words are bad’. I am not of that school. We are not going up the mast to re-reeve the spinnaker halyard, unless it falls glassy calm someday.

The saga of ‘Bobby’. She made it into Hanga Roa anchorage at Easter Island on Wednesday , getting a tow from the Armada for the last 2 miles. But yesterday the wind switched around to the NW and blew into the anchorage. An anchor line chafed through in the pitching and she was secured to her anchor with only a very light line. Geoff on ‘Curare’ and Jim on ‘This Boat’ went over to help her. They called the Armada rescue boat to standby – they needed some convincing because the Port Captain had “closed the ports” due to dangerous seas. But they gamely came out and stood by in case ‘Bobby’ needed plucking from the jaws of the surf , 100 m away. Geoff reported by radio last night that while the 30′ enclosed twin diesel rescue craft was standing by, green water was sweeping over it from bow to stern. This was IN the anchorage. Very marginal. Geoff reported that even after the wind had died down , 8′ seas with 3 second intervals were making the anchorage extremely uncomfortable. Emily is looking forward to getting into the tiny harbour of Hanga Piko when the seas subside , so she can get some rest and go to work on ‘Bobby’ repairs. Geoff and Linda on ‘Curare’ I think are anxious to get to sea, where it is safe, sailing also towards Valdivia.

Pressure cooker pumpkin cake was still warm when I got up this morning.

I am looking out the window at the Shearwaters and Petrels soaring around in the gray oceanscape. Big heaving SW swell still coming in. No wind. Motoring at 5 knots east. Collecting rainwater with the built in piping.

After hopelessly trying to sail in the fitful wind in the black night , Meredith declared as she climbed into her warm bunk, that this is a ‘lame way to travel’. Not so much a way to travel as an alternate way of being. ‘Still lame’. ‘ Your face is lame’. The high level of witty conversation continues.

Slouthern Ocean

Technically we are in the Southern Ocean , but that is perhaps a bit of a dramatic label, at the moment. Our position is 30 degr 6′ S and 109 degr 52 ‘ W and we are in 18 knots of North wind sailing wing and wing on a course of 165 degr true at 6.5 knots. A big SW swell arose this afternoon – a huge period, they look like small hills in a Saskatchewan wheatfield.

We haven’t seen any marine life for a couple of weeks , since before Easter Island. Occasional Booby birds , Shearwaters and Terns.

Emily on ‘Bobby’ is only 75 miles from Easter Island and is moving at 4 knots , so she should arrive there tomorrow. She has been over a month from the Galapagos. Her work will start when she gets to Easter , to get her boat seaworthy. Forunately I think she will encounter a lot of helpful and skilled people at Easter Island. Still , it will likely take a couple of months for her to sort things out.

We are heading South , and the weather maps indicate that as we sail around the high pressure system in a counter clock wise direction , we might be lucky and carry a fairwind towards the coast of Chile.

Or maybe not.