Passage to the Galapagos – Part 2

Tuesday afternoon (14 March) we continued to enjoy dead flat calm seas but were frustrated by the lack of wind which averaged 3-4 knots so we continued to motor sail. We also reduced our revs to 1100 to maximise fuel so we are only making 3 knots. This could be a long passage! But at least some dolphins came to play before the sun went down.
By 9pm the wind started to build to 10 knots and we were sailing close hauled – as the wind had swung SE – with all three sails out. Happy days! This continued throughout the beautiful moonlit night.
By 6am on Wednesday the wind had died back to 6 knots and we had changed course towards the Galapagos islands. So we motor sailed slowly again on very low revs. By 10 am the wind had died completely so the sails were put away and we had a bit of a swell rocking us from side to side. But it is a nice sunny day….and the sea colour has started to improve.
The wind remained at 6 knots all day so we deployed the fully extended whisker pole and kept on motor sailing – it was worth the effort as the poled-out genoa added about a knot to our boat speed. But disappointingly the light airs meant that we only covered 99 miles in the second twenty-four hour period. The forecast predicted some wind from Thursday onwards but the models don’t agree and put it in different places at differing strengths so we decided to hedge our bets and run higher than our rhumb line. We enjoyed another lovely sunset. By 9pm the wind had died completely again so we continued motoring slowly. The moon is rising later and later so now it is pitch black until after nine. And we haven’t seen a ship for days….it is a big spooky to be honest!
Thursday morning and we were still motoring….. Suddenly as the sun came up the wind kicked in and at 6am we poled out the genoa in 10 knots of wind and the engine finally got a rest! As the wind continued to fill in – and switch to the NE – we put the pole away and gybed. We now had 16 knots of breeze and continued to stay high of our rhumb line and were finally moving through the water above five knots.
The wind stayed in the 14-16 knot range – and we were having fun running downwind and eating up the miles – until 3pm when the wind sadly started to moderate again. The seas were eight feet plus with the occasional growler breaking behind us causing us to surf…. So the movement was a bit rolly to say the least but we are grateful to be sailing. The third twenty-four hour period saw us cover 112 miles and we hope to improve on that if we can just keep finding the wind. The star show Thursday night was spectacular with clear views of the Milky Way – combined with phosphorescence in the water behind us in our wake looking like someone was sprinkling fairy glitter dust – it is just plain magical to be out here. Or is leprechaun dust? Happy St Patrick’s Day.
Friday morning at 3am we gybed and started to head back away from our rhumb line. But it has been hard going ever since – the wind remains at 10 knots – and we appear to have picked up some adverse current. The sun came up behind us spectacularly and it is a bright and sunny day. There is nothing around but ocean which always reminds us of the scene in the Truman Show where he tried to leave the island in his little sailboat and ended up hitting the scenery backdrop LOL.
Come 8 am, having downloaded the weather again, we gybed back towards our rhumb line as the different forecasts were almost in agreement that the stronger winds were just below our current position. And, we are pleased to report, that they were right. Within half an hour of our gybe we had picked up winds blowing 12-14 knots and we continue to experience them now. Fingers crossed this continues for a while although we could do with a break from the rolly and breaking seas.
Bye for now Jan