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Ocean Planet Report

Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
June 29, 2002

Pos @ 1130UTC:
37 04.7N, 61 17.7W
Course100mag~84true, @ 11-13 knots


Yesterday and last night was a balancing act, trying to find the most comfortable yet fastest course between the semi-stationary front just to our NW and the higher pressure to our SE. Left (north) = more wind for a faster trip, but also adds risk of squalls and breaking something . . . Going fast helps us stay in the wind longer too, so with the small genniker retired for now, I’d put up our next lower gear, a light upwind Doyle D4 roller jib. I was feeling kinda guilty for taking it so easy with the working jib, anyway . . . 

Well, of course, not long after I got going nicely the wind decides to pick up (as it gets dark, naturally) and the tall dark clouds that had been about 40 miles to our left started encroaching on my territory. They also decided to illuminate themselves with lightning (which always gets my attention). I didn’t need any more convincing to head for the foredeck and test out the efficiency of the custom rolling luff rope I made for this sail (a different setup than our working jib and gennikers). It works quite well, so we hunkered down with just the double reefed main keeping both jibs rolled up. I also headed up (more south) enough to keep the menacing clouds at bay. Now, if I was racing, my approach to this whole equation might be different, but we’re not. The main idea is test some stuff out and get the qualifier done safely.

BTW, do you know what the most important tool for celestial navigation might be? No, it’s not the sextant (the device used to measure the altitude of the sun). It is an ERASER!!, and I forgot to bring one. Which is a drag since I have to make my own plotting sheets (uh, forgot those too), to truly finish a few sun sights I did. Laugh all you want, it’s not as bad as when I did my qualifier for the ’96 singlehanded transpac on “Rumbleseat,” when I forgot my sleeping bag and matches for the stove…:-) 

In any case, it is beautiful this morning; 20kts of wind, the clouds have retreated, and we are easily rolling along at 11 to 15kts with the working jib and main. Perhaps it is time for me to roller the bigger jib back out . . . a surefire way to encourage the wind to pick up.



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