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Ocean Planet Report
Tuesday, November 5, 2002 1245gmt
Pos: 7 33N, 24 40W 


We are now in the infamous “Doldrums,” or ITCZ, or Bozo Zone….whatever they are they are unpredictable. Right now it is beautiful, reaching along at 8-9kts in 7kts of wind, but we have gone thru several “bobbing” sessions of no wind. Fortunately these have been short. Ocean Planet is fantastic in light air, and I am very lucky to be on such a great boat. In Cape Town she will get the attention she deserves!

There has been only one line of rain clouds so far, luckily without the dreaded lightning and high winds often associated with them. I keep knocking on wood for good luck, and since Ocean Planet is a “cellulose fiber reinforced” composite boat, this is easy to do. It could all change very quickly.

Last night in a light spell, since we weren’t going anywhere fast, I dropped the main and dealt with the battens. It was a four hour project of yanking, taping, sawing, and clinging to the boom as it swung around in the swell. Since I am short on material to rebuild the battens (see yesterday’s “whinging”), I shuffled them around moving up the longer lower battens to replace the broken ones instead. #1 (the top batten) is sort of jury rigged, but should be ok. #2 was cut out of #4, #3 cut from #5, and a new #4 made from #7, the bottom batten. This leaves us without #5 & 7, but there isn’t as much roach in the lower part of the sail so they aren’t as critical there as the uppers. I’d better not break them again, only 4,500 miles to go to Cape Town….

When not fixing destroyed gear, I am spending lots (too much, perhaps) of time staring at the weather files, both “grib” files and the weather overlay from Nobeltec.

I keep looking for a bright idea or opening but am probably just losing too much sleep. I took a bit of hitch to the east yesterday and last night, thinking I had a great idea and now I don’t know what I was thinking. But we’re moving well now so perhaps we’ll make up what I lost doing the battens before too long! 

There are flying fish everywhere. Once last night a whole school sort of exploded right beside the boat while I was in the cockpit, and I had to duck behind the vestibule to avoid getting hit as three landed on deck. This morning when I (finally) unreefed the main, two more rather old and smelly ones fell out of the sail! I may cook some at some point, but probably not until I run out of canned sardines…;-)

I hope the rest of the fleet is safe and doing well. I need to check in with some of them. It is always good to communicate with each other out here in the Big Blue.

Later for now,


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