Monday, February 26, 2018

Leg 3 - Heading to the Promised Land - Day 5

For the first time in a long time, the blog posts have been delayed not because of horrible conditions, ugly weather or boat breakage keeping us busy. Really, there just isn't anything to report.
Don't get me wrong, this is a very good thing sailing in this part of the world. Most of my off watch to date has been spent trying to keep the boat pointed towards an area where there are winds to keep her moving. This has been a bit of a challenge because of the rapidly changing conditions and the boat really not wanting to travel in the direction we want it to.
So far we have done well and have stayed with enough wind to keep things marginally comfortable albeit a bit rolly.
In 4 or 5 days we are anticipating our first big low of the passage to pass to the south of us. The associated front will probably nail us no matter where we are, so now the additional task of finding the best place to be when it arrives must be taken on. Timing this is a bit like trying to hop on a bullet train from a galloping horse while crossing a cobblestone bridge.
Our radio friend Peter from the SF bay area forwarded a blog post from another cruiser he worked with doing the same trip as us a few years ago. Their report was similar to ours as they lamented about crazy changes in the forecasts and having to sail off course to avoid a storm with 9 m swells. Another cruising family we met in Mexico actually sailed West (the coast is East for those who are geographically challenged) for 2 days to avoid a low that popped up on them.
Just before we left Easter Island we had an awful reminder of how troublesome this part of the Pacific can be as our radio buddy traveling about a week ahead of us from New Zealand to the Chilean coast was forced to make the extremely difficult decision to abandon his boat. This due to the complete failure of his second rudder (his first failed weeks before) and an approaching low that he just could not get out of the way of. After battling for 2 weeks to keep the boat pointed in the right direction and surviving a couple pretty nasty lows, I can't imagine how he's feeling right now.
We are taking a very conservative approach to the coast and will motor through light airs in order to stay as north as possible hopefully avoiding the worst. Luckily we have lots of weather information available to us on board and 3 outside resources keeping an eye on things as well. Routing this way will take a few days longer and burn some hard to come by dinosaurs but given our recent treaty with Neptune this will keep us from having something exciting to blog about.
So far so good.
1638 NM to go (give or take a few 100 miles :))

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