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21 March 2010

Sailing the Ocean Blue...

Last evening we passed the half-way point. We had traveled 1480 nautical miles. The last time we saw land was about 20 nautical miles into our trip. We saw one boat off our transom the first evening around midnight but no boat/ship sightings since.

We let the Captain have one drip at the mid-point; he still has to get us safely another 1480Nm.

Last evening we were greeted with a great crescent moon. During each of our three hour night-time shifts certainly one of the things that stands out most is the millions of stars from as far as the eye can see on the horizon in all directions. Unbelievable as one might think we have a visit from a gull many evenings. This is our only companion on deck flying with its shadow reflecting on the headsail from the starboard running light, a great site at night.

Today we moved from a broad reach to a downwind run and the sails have been changed accordingly. The head sail (Gib) is poled out to port, we started with the Stay-sail to starboard but have changed to a larger asymmetrical spinnaker (J80). Next the Main sail is set full and out to starboard and lastly we have the Mizzen set full and out to starboard. This is likely the sail settings for the duration of trip to Marquesas. Presently we have wind speed averaging 14-15 knots and the boat is moving 7-8 knots.

Two nautical related facts for your info possibly but good homework for my grandkids:

1) The nautical mile is about 15% more than a mile (6000 feet) and came into being as a result of early sailors discovering they had to travel 60 units (nautical miles) of distance for each degree of  latitude. Therefore you can imagine if our destination in the Marquesas Islands is 8 degrees South that we are about 480 nautical miles or about 550 miles south of the equator. Test question: Distance from the north to South pole?

2) Determining our approximate time creates a second assignment. As we travel west from Greenwich (meantime), England. We add 4 minutes for each degree of longitude traveled. Therefore presently we are 116 degrees west of Greenwich England (therefore we are 4 x 116 = 464 minutes divided by 60 minutes is almost 8 hours behind the folks at Greenwich.

All goes well with boat and crew and we wish the best to all reading.


7 deg 43mins South
118deg 11mins West
1820 LT