3d week on the Pacific Ocean: Ya crosses the Doldrums and reaches the not-so-Pacific

Ya’s position can be found here

We did the Doldrums

Day 1. Sat Apr 13 2024

3 degrees south, we will reach it in a couple of hours, we are finally safe. Out of the Doldrums!

It has been a long struggle against wind and currents those last days, but we stayed hopeful to get through.
Good weather reports, a sound ship, our navigations skills and a dose of perseverence brought us to here.
And also, thanks to all the candles you lighted!


Day 2. Sun Apr 14 2024

We had just a little bit of wind, and pretty steep from behind and a swell perpendicular on it. A nasty combination, with sails easily banging all the way. The solution: we hoisted the Parasailor. O what fun, just to watch, to look at. We made 5 knots with only 9-10 knots of wind.
The Parasailor is a joy. It is nearly 2 times bigger than the genaker, but so much easier and safer. When the wind gets stronger, it stays on course and the sail is still easy to take down. Check Peter’s “Ode to the Parasailor” on Youtube, channel Fossil Free Around the World. It starts with: ‘Shall I compare thee with a summer’s day’…

There is more good that starts with a P and that is Pierrot. Today he made saucise avec puree et legumes.


Day 3. Mon Apr 15 2024

On our course to Gambier, we see that from 2 PM the sails block the sun on the deck solar panels. From 4 o’clock the solars on the biminitop (over the cockpit) are too much blocked to deliver. The wind is so weak, that we don’t get some relevant power out of the starboard alternator. The alternator on port side is broken. So that can become a main issue.
Now we are losing about 2% or 3%of our battery capacity every day. We shut off the plotter in the cockpit. It takes only 20 Watt, but in 24 hours that will be 480 Wh. That is more than a percent of our battery capacity to be saved.
Of course we have a little back up generator and some petrol. But when we wanted to do a regular maintenance on it, it did not start. Once you live fossil free, with hardly any things breaking down, you notice that these fossil engines never work when you really need them.


Day 4. Tue Apr 16 2024

The Pacific’s name refers to the pleasant long swell, and the friendly winds. The frequency of the swell is often more 11 or 12 seconds. While the Atlantic has a shorter swell, of about 8 or 9 seconds. That is a big difference. Togetther with the friendly winds, it made Magellan and his mates call this the Pacific Ocean.

Yesterday evening we got a thick overcast. Then the first drops started falling. This day we get rain coming in long showers. From the South East there is a high and short swell. So that is lots of motion for us when we are doing our jobs. This is quite un-pacific.

Lucky for us, this afternoon we got some more wind, and we needed that. It makes the Ya sail pleasantly, because with some speed the Ya is able to move friendlier between these waves.

Pierrot made a curry of chick peas. A recipe inspired him, but it did not work out as he wanted. Also quite unpacific.

Storm after the stills

Day 5. Wed Apr 17 2024

Yesterday evening we saw some squalls getting closer (a squal is a shower with heavy winds and rain).
Indeed, one passed by. Rain and strong winds were hitting the hull hard. But it quckly passed by and again we had light winds.
Did everything already pass? During the night the squalls kept on coming and going, more and more frequently. Peter decided to reef, just in between two of them. Just in time, because the next squall hit us even harder.
Today the conditions stayed as in the night. We continuously thought it would get better, but before long a new one hit us. On top of that, the wind and rain haven’t made us very productive today.

Now in the evening, the time periods between the squalls get longer and longer. We wil wake up tomorrow in the calm after the storm.

Ups and downs

Day 6. Thu Apr 18 2024

With a wave height of 3 meter and a frequency of 8 to 9 seconds, one can say that we experience ups and downs. It makes the working on board not easy, especially during the squalls, whilst the motion is even tougher.
The block of the waterstay (stay to hold the bowsprit down) broke. Lucky us, the outerjib on it, was furled in, so there were heavy powers on the bowsprit, so it survived. We took the outerjib down, fixed the block, and up again.

A day

Day 7. Thu Apr 18 2024 / Fri April 19 2024

The sun is back, it is the great Pacific trade wind weather again. Only our course needs to go more southerly, but we will manage that.
Our rhythm is back. Peter works in his morning watch. Next to some navigation, he does jobs, like fixing the waterstay connection to the bowsprit. Or maintenance jobs. Because one maintenance job a day, keeps the repairs away.
Pierrot regularly checks the storage of the veggies and the fruit. Very important. Now, three weeks from the start, we still have a melon, a bunch of apples and a bunch of oranges. After this check, he polishes the boat for some hours.
In the afternoon we read a book, Peter does a nap, and Pierrot makes the dinner. About 5 o’clock we eat. Then we write this post -“what shall we tell today” is the question during our dinner time.
After the meal we set sails for the night if necessary, like reefing the sails. Then Peter does the dishes. He takes the first night watch and Pierrot goes to bed for the next 6 hours, and takes the watch from midnight.
This is the regular day. Like it?