North Pacific Crossing, Week 1 Update

We’ve been reminded this week of the wisdom behind the adage: Gentlemen never sail to windward. We’re seven days out from Ailuk atoll and have covered a little over 830 miles so far. That’s slow, even for us, but somewhat intentional on our part. For most of the week we were sailing upwind (called “beating” – for good reason) into pretty consistent 20 knots of wind. With the story of Brick House’s recent dismasting fresh in our minds and over three thousand miles of ocean laid out before us, we stayed reefed for the first several days to go easy on our rigging and hull as we made our way over the short but steep northeasterly wind waves. The result was a frustratingly slow uncomfortable slog, but we made progress in the right direction, each tick of the GPS showing us getting a little closer to our destination.

We’re happy to report that there’s not much to report. Each day has been sunny and hot, and every few days a brief rainsquall catches us to rinse us off (we’ve noticed less squalls as we move north, and they’re not as boisterous as they were down by the equator). We had a noddie bird onboard for about 18 hours. He stayed long enough to be named Guanimo and to ride on the top of the dodger through an impressive 26 kt squall.

Over the past few days the waves have occasionally laid down a bit and we were able to pick up the pace. But this morning the wind petered out to the point where Twitchy, the wind vane autopilot, starts to lose his wheaties, so we started the engine and headed more easterly to try to dodge a weather trough to our north. We celebrated the 4th of July by doing a bit of much needed house cleaning, making a tankfull of water, and catching a small but delicious mahimahi. Fish tacos tonight!

The long term weather forecast shows the north Pacific high cooperating with our travel plans. It’s been spread out and actually showing up as two highs north of Hawaii lately, but the weather models predict it’ll consolidate into one and shift eastward, and we hope to latch onto its western flank in a few days.

22°20.28′N 175°20.35′E 04-Jul-11 02:47 UTC

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