Day #6 - Nov. 11, 2016
LTY DAILY STATS: (I’ll use this same list each day for those of you who like to keep track and experience the sail a bit more this way)
LTY (local Fiji) time: 16:30 Nov 11th, 2016 (LTY time/NZ time = UTC +12)
LOCATION: about 720nm south of west end of Fiji
POSITION: 28 31.924 S 172 117 10.130 E (can cut & paste into Google Earth)
SOG: 7.8 kts (SOG = Speed over Ground)
COG: 180 (COG = Course over Ground, our GPS based compass heading)
WIND: 21kts = 180 degrees, dead downwind
SEAS/Swell: 1.5m following seas out of the North
WEATHER: Air has turned colder with the approaching front but otherwise beautiful sunny day heading for late afternoon clouds
SAILS: Running “Wing on Wing”; Genoa poled out to Port, Main out fully to Stbd.
AIR TEMP: 71.2F 21.8C
SEA TEMP: 77.5F 25.3C
DISTANCE TRAVELED last 24 hrs: 138nm
APROXIMATE DISTANCE to go to OPUA: about 480nm
DAY #5 DEFINITELY a DAY to REMEMBER!
It’s the 11th day of the 11th month over here on this side of the dateline. I may be out of touch with name changes in the past few years but as a Canadian I know this to be Remembrance Day and I think it is now called Veterans Day in the USA. With a very big dose of remembering these pasts it has also been a day to remember here on the Good Ship Learnativity for other reasons.
She has been a dashing downwind demon with the wind up and clocked around to be straight behind us, along with following seas out of the North to match. This is a somewhat difficult point of sail, referred to as “dead downwind” as there is no “side” for the sails to be filled from as with all other points of sail. What we do then is put up our spinnaker pole straight out to Port today, and thread the far end of that pole with the Genoa sheet (line) which keeps the Clew (bottom outer end) of the sail out in clean air and always fully filled because it can’t flop back the other way. Then we swing the mainsail all the way out to the other side by pushing the boom as far as it will go to Starboard and fasten it securely in place with some stout lines and blocks. If you were following us from behind then what you’d see is this enormous pair of triangles of sail cloth extending from the top of the mast out both sides which gives us the perfect shape to catch all that building wind coming over our stern. Add to this seas of about 1.5 m also coming straight from behind, known as “following seas” and you have the perfect combination for super comfy, super fast sailing which is what we’ve been doing since poling out the Genoa this morning.
It is a rather eerie sensation because the apparent wind, what we actually feel onboard, is relatively low because we subtract our forward speed away from what are otherwise wind speeds which have been building from 15 to now about 22 kts. Add to that the following seas which gently lift us up like an oversized surf board and let us surf down their forward face and finally add in the fact that we don’t heel (lean over) at this point of sail and you have a very wonderful though unusual set of sensations. So here we sit, pretty much level, feeling like there is very little wind at all, enjoying what seems like a leisurely sail as we feel Mother Nature gently pick us up and roll us forward. However, when we happen to glance over at our “speedometer”, the SOG meter which tells us our Speed Over Ground, we do a double take or two as it says we are doing over EIGHT knots! In fact Christine just snapped a picture of us hitting NINE point TWO knots on the last surfing session! Wow, what a ride to remember!
We will continue to enjoy this as long as we can but we are also keeping a close eye on the weather and wind as we are headed for the next eastward traveling front that is down south of us and will bring some much higher winds our way which are forecast to be gusting up to as much as 35 or 40 knots and changing directions. Nothing of great concern but we have a LOT of “canvas” up right now and definitely want to have most of that down before we catch up to the front.
So that’s been our day out here in Mother Nature’s big pool which she ever so generously allows us to play in and we are making great time surfing our way straight for New Zealand now. We’ll see what lies ahead in the coming days and may need to purposely slow ourselves down so that we time our arrival to be ahead of one front and behind the other and are sure to be sailing westward into the Bay of Islands with plenty of good light overhead and plenty of time to sail down around the NE coast of the tip of NZ and then around and westward to check in at Opua. For now though we’ll get back to enjoying our ride and catching more waves on this giant surfboard otherwise known as Learnativity.
Christine & Wayne