Day 3, Drake Passage Southbound

0715Z 16JAN22, Day 3, Drake Passage.
Current Position: 60 40S / 068 00W
24 hour progress: 121nm, 5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 369nm, approximately 275nm to landfall.

To start day 3, winds became lighter, as forecast, and by 0530 we were motoring with 1 reef in the main and no genoa. We had entered the Drake Lake section of the passage. We pointed just west of where we want/hope to make landfall and motored along directly into light head winds.

It was another good weather day and we warmed up the boat with the engine and some sun in the pilot house. We also did housekeeping stuff like cleaning dishes without worrying that they would fly across the boat, made some water and enjoyed tuna melts for lunch. Everyone was in good spirits and a nice dinner seemed promising and was thus planned.

In the afternoon, we watched a light-mantled albatross and a number of small storm petrels and prions frolic around the boat. They all looked like they were considering landing on Zephyros but none did. The albatross would soar around us, land next to us, float back along our track, take off and do it all again while the petrels and prions followed along without landing in the water.

The forecasts suggested that we might have to motor for 24-36 hours until we got wind from a good direction to sail. Well, as the day played out we actually only motored for about 14 hours and found ourselves in very sailable winds, from a not great direction, right as Megan was finishing up dinner preps. As is often the case, dinner time meant increased winds and the anticipated calm dinner prep turned more challenging. But it all got in the oven and then, as Jon was napping and Daxton was standing watch, Megan unfurled the genoa and secured the engine setting us up close hauled on a port tack. (This means everything in the boat shifts the opposite way and wasn't exactly expected for our southbound transit of the Drake where the winds normally blow from the west.)

The course over ground was ok for awhile but the winds turned to be more southerly and a bit stronger. Jon added a reef to the main with Ronan on watch while Megan slept. We sailed on at a nice clip but nearly due west when we want to actually go south. The age old problem of sail - you just can't head to where the wind is coming from. (And motoring into the wind means uncomfortable bashing in these conditions.)

We finished out day 3 adding another reef (so back to 3 reefs) to the main with a full genoa and tacking back to starboard. The course still isn't where we would like it to be, but the boat is leaned over in the expected direction and we are moving at a good speed.

We are sailing as close to the wind as we can (which isn't especially close compared to some other sailboats) and hoping the wind moves more westerly so that we can go more southerly. It should eventually turn according to the forecast - some on Sunday, more on Monday. However, we already believe we have more wind than forecast (hard to know for sure since our anemometer is broken) and we just aren't sure if it will turn enough to point us where we were hoping to make landfall. We might have to go to the back up option. Not a big deal, but we were (are) hoping we can make landfall decently far south this year. In the meantime we sail on and do what we can with what we have.

No comments:

Post a Comment