Monday, 9 May 2016
Moving more slowly now ...
The motion has calmed considerably as the winds which had us flying down the chart in the first few days have lessened. On the positive side, it is warmer as we're now aligned with the Mexican border several hundred miles east of us.
I'm glad it's a little warmer out, because we can keep the companionway hatch open. I have to keep going out to adapt the angle we're steering at to keep the wind as much on the left as I can, while still keeping the sail from flipping over to the other side (gybing). The boat is quiet (it's 3a.m.) and while Larry's asleep, I've been looking at the Grib Files. We get these every day ... a map shows us what the current forecast predicts about wind speed and direction. They're nice and colourful and work well for 'visual learners' like me.
Right now they're not giving us the news we want or expected. The map is oriented with North 'UP' so our little boat is shown heading south. A series of single strokes show which direction winds are coming from and some 'feathers' on these show how strong the winds will be. Alas - they're aqua right now with only one feather. Worse yet, in a couple of days they're a submissive blue and lying every which way, some with NO feathers at all.
By heading south (instead of southwest as we'd planned with earlier weather projections) we will avoid those contrary south winds lying out to the west of us. Just keeping moving (at 4-5 knots right now) trumps maintaining our heading towards the west. The prevailing northeast trade winds which are a no-show so far (because of an el niño effect?) should FINALLY 'kick in' on the 13th or 14th as we get further south, and then we can start heading west.
We have been heading out for a number of years now, and I have always been amazed at how rapidly and without warning the forecasts change ... especially when bad storms suddenly 'storm' in as they are wont to do. The maps and word forecasts rapidly change to reflect current (or recently past) conditions. We have taken to calling these 'aftercasts'.
This is not new for me. By spending many summers on a working grain farm in Alberta and the family fruit farm in Niagara I learned at a young age how weather can change your whole life for better or for worse. Appreciating that Mother Nature still has the ability to surprise us is one of the great joys of sailing.
At 5/9/2016 09:57 (utc) our position was 32°42.11'N 128°19.78'W