Marquesas 11

March 16, 2019

I felt like I was witnessing the answer to a riddle – there’s a dead body at the bottom of the stairs. All the doors and windows are closed. What happened? There would need to be a bit more information to make it a good riddle but you get the idea. The answer to this one is a bit murky for me and I was there. I found a flying fish at the base of the stairs inside the boat. We have found them in some pretty unusual places but his one is at the top of the list. Maybe you can see it in the photo? It’s the little silver thing on the floor.

Based on where it was, the only real explanation is that it jumped 12 feet out of the water and about the same distance horizontally, in an effort to clear the boat. On its trip through the air, it somehow managed to slip through the 4 inch gap in the hatch in the tally and then bounced down the stairs and died. At least it went out with a bang! I hope its little fish friends were impressed.

Today we flew the spinnaker! Yay! Then saw the repair job fraying so took it down and added duct tape. Flew the spinnaker! Yay! Took it down and added a patch cut from the yellow spinnaker and some stitching. Flew the spinnaker! Yay! Took it down after several hours of teams of 2 switching off to drive and trim the finicky beast of a rainbow sail.

Finally, to everyone’s relief, Joe declared the wind was too high and we should drop the spinnaker. Now our VMG (Velocity Made Good or speed in the direction we want to go) is not as good but it’s much easier to manage the boat and people can sleep.

If you look at our track, you can see a nice section when we were headed right for our destination. The spinnaker allows us to sail almost directly downwind which is more difficult with other sails. Right now, with the gennaker, we are being forced to sail much farther south than we would like. We will most likely have to gybe (turn through the wind) so we can reach our destination. But gybing will cause is to lose time because we will have to point away from the Marquesas. Our speed might be 10 knots but if we are not pointed directly at our destination, our VMG is what matters.

For example, right now we would like to be heading at 260 degrees (almost directly west) to get to the Marquesas on the rhumb line (shortest distance). But the angle of the wind is making us sail at 210. So, our speed is 9.8 but our VMG is only 7.

So, watch for us to gybe, as Nica has been doing. Because she is gybing, it’s very hard to tell if we are actually gaining on her. We will keep trying to sail our smartest and fastest and see what happens.

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