First week on the Pacific: good food but bad winds

In their first week on the Pacific, Peter and Pierrot had good food but bad winds. The start from Panama was great, but then came the bad winds. Read all about it in this weeks’ blog!

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Great start

Sat Mar 30 2024

Our voyage to Gambier Islands starts great. PredictWind forecasted favourable winds and currents from last midnight till April 1. At 21:00 we lifted anchor and we slowly left Panama City with its metropolitan skyline. At 23:00 the first little wind came. We could sail.
In the morning we came in the currents, all favourable. We do more than 6 knots. Now we are rounding Capo Malo (Bad Cape), with a respectable distance. PredictWind’s Weather Routing predicted exactly what we are doing now.

Pierrot, just 3 days on board, made a flying start. He did the provisioning of the vegetables and fruits the storage, he runs his watches, and today he made a great salade for lunch and a Carbonada a la Flamande. Man, how to get us happy on board.

Some extremes

Sat Mar 30 2024

This day had extremes. In the night. he wind started picking up, we had to take a double reef, and some later even a third reef. Then, the attachment of the toppinglift broke. Not nice, to fix things in the night, but we maneged to settle everything calmly.

In the morning the wind started to drop, contrary to the forecasts. When a 20-25 knnots (6 Beaufort) was predicted, it even becomes wind still! for some hours. This delay will change our routing later on.

We also had our first loss. A bunch of 5 bananas fell down during our little adventure at night and 8 carrots have already completely rotten. But still we had a great meal.


Mon Apr 01 2024

The weather forecasts were not corresponding with reality, so we took new ones through satellite communication. Today it is the last day of our month satellite contract and we have a massive credit, so we took extensive forecasts.

As of tomorrow, the winds will not be favourable for the next 500 miles. Also the waves will be against. So the currents must get us through.
There are two models predicting the currents. One saysthat we get all current against us, or pushing is with force into the Galapagos Islands. The other one says we got the currents with us, or no currents at all.

What will it be?

April 1

Tue Apr 02 2024

At midnight the wind slowly dropped. Strange, all weather forecasts say different. Pierrot did his best to keep the Ya sailing but, finally, at the end of his watch there was no wind at all. Only the engines could help. We had to accept that the windstill area appeared to be much bigger, and prepared for an 800 miles wind still voyage, in stead of 500 miles.

Then the wind picked up again. We are sailing. We sail slow, only 3 to 4 knots, but we are sailing.

So nature fooled us at bit. On April the first!


Wed Apr 03 2024

We started our passage with a weather window that should bring us all the way to th Equator now. But, the weather chose to be different. Now, we are hundreds of miles ‘behind’. The currents are playing with us and we try to make the best of it.

Last night just before Peter’s watch ended, the last bit of wind had gone. The currents could do what they want with Ya. In his watch, Pierrot saw it all happening in his watch. For every sigh of wind he hoisted the sails. And he had to lower them again as they start slamming by the motion of the Ya in the waves.
The next morning Peter took over. A bit of wind started to blow… from the South South West, exactly against, just the wrong direction. These winds can stay here for weeks.
Peter took the decision to sail to the South East. At last you can sail in the Southerly direction then, to get yourself free from current . OK, that is another 200 miles -do understand the scale of the ocean. And we made 1 knot speed over ground- do understand the strenght of the current. So after 8 days, we would be in an area where no currents are, at least a place where you will not be set back.
Peter made calculations on the quantity of energy on board, and when to use it as engine power. But again, the scale of the ocean is simply large and we are iny miney tiny. This passage could be a long, long story, with days of waiting and hoping Ya would not loose to many miles. Days of waiting? Or weeks?

So you understand the moods of us here on board.

Suddenly, around noon, the Ya made a spontaneous tack. The wind has shifted in just two-three seconds. We got a South South Easterly wind. We could sail! OK, the current refrains us to sail straight to the South, but near Galapagos we could probably pass the Equator. That is another 400 miles, but who cares – we are sailing!
The mood has changed to excellent and vivid here on board the Ya.
Pierrot made a great curry with coconut milk, wow.

Good hope flies with the wind

Thu Apr 04 2024

Last night a big booby came sitting on Ya’s bowsprit. We had good hope that the SSE winds get us against the currents, all the way under the Galapagos and could brings into the tradewinds.

Early morning the booby left us. The wind changed its direction to the SSW and that is exactly against for the next 500 miles. These winds typically blow here in June and later.
We downloaded the new weather forecasts from PredictWind. The SSW winds are here to stay as long as the forecasts predict.
So to sum up: the currents are against us, the winds are exactly against us, as well as the waves. This does not look well for a smooth and running voyage.

If you see our good hope flying with the wind to you, would you please be so kind to blow it back to us?

Back ‘n forth

Fri Apr 05 2024

Back and forth, that is what we have been doing the last 24 hours. Heading to the South East, then tack to go to the North West, and again, and again, and again…
Frustrating, because we need to go to the South West. Constantly changing our minds on what would be the best course, does not help either to get closer to our destination.

We wait and hope for the currents and/or winds to finally be on our side. In the meanwhile we take every little opportunity to get an extra mile.
The last day we did 32 miles. Perhaps we do half of it today? Perhaps in our best dreams.

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