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Skipper's Logs Archive: Transat 2004



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Random musings from the North Atlantic
June 4, 2004

Cranking along out here on day five with a 23-knot wind on the beam, which is being caused by an approaching low-pressure system. Good stuff, but it's tough to get around down below. I am trying to keep my little biosphere warm and dry and am about halfway successful. It got really cold again last night and I bonked again at about 0400 when all I wanted to do was sleep and the wind increased about 5 knots causing immediate need for a reef in the main and a shift from the Solent to the Staysail. I was cold, wet, and cranky when done and crashed in my gear on the cabin floor for about an hour. When I woke I was freezing and cranked up the cabin heater, changed clothes, and made coffee (my usual mix). Feeling more better now. Looks like the day will be more of the same winds and good speed. I am about to go online and get positions for 0700 and hope that our average speed of about 11 knots over the last 12 hours will help the cause. Big speed (mid-to-high teens) has been elusive thus far, as winds have always been forward of the beam.

Life seems a bit fragile out here at times as I am heavily dependent on electronics and technology to keep this craft going. If something key (like the autopilot) goes out, the scenario becomes very different very fast. I mention this as my starboard autopilot ram quit working last night so I am down to just one. My port wind instruments went out earlier in the trip. I now have no way to make the autopilot steer according to wind angle rather than compass course. Steering by the wind angle is nice because it keeps the boat going fast at the desired angle; you just have to watch what direction your heading in the event of a wind shift. Anyway, I think I can replace the port ram when the weather moderates and I will feel a lot better when I have two again. My internal dialogue I on routing s continuous, furious, maddening and often inconclusive. The computer weather forecast files (GRIB files), which I download daily, can change significantly, leaving the best-laid plans of mice and men to occasionally go astray. My motto is "when in doubt, head for the barn," unless there is a compelling reason to go elsewhere. Deciding where to go takes a lot of time and mental energy, but it is probably the most important decision made each day, so it has to be done thoughtfully. I wish I had majored in metereology in college instead of political science.

Back to the salt mines. Yet another reef on the way. Best to all in reader-ville.



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