Tuesday, June 30, 2009

free falling south

When we left Port Antonio at 6:00 on Monday, we knew that the first 25
miles were going to be rough, and they were. We motored against the wind
and a choppy sea over a SE 8 foot swell and were tossed around until we
turned the corner at 11:00.
Then we were able to stop the engine, hoist up the main with one reef
and unfurl the full genoa with the wind slightly behing the beam at 20
to 25 knots. Shortly after, we ran into a rain shower with wind in it
and we double reefed the main. After the shower had passed, we realised
that we were still doing upward of 6 knots, so we kept the main double
reefed and the genoa full. We have kept the same setup ever since and
after 30 hours, we have covered 182 nautical miles. It is a little bit
physical as we have a 9 foot swell on the beam and rolling sometimes
heavily. That does not stop us however to enjoy our drinks before dinner
and to cook decent meals.However, late in the morning on Tuesday, we got
a short but fierce squall with more than 30 knots of wind in it, and
after that we remained with 22 to 28 knots of wind forward of the beam,
which is a lot less comfortable. But we knew all along that the run to
Panama was not going to be a walk in the park.
The only problem comes from the main computer which keep freezing and I
have had to switch to the Toshiba laptop, already setup as a backup, for
navigation and other tasks that does not require an internet connection.
I suspect that the main computer does not like the heat (90 degrees
inside the boat and probably more inside the chart table), and the
temperature is causing something to fail, probably with the hard drive.
For the time being, I will only start that computer when I need it.
If we keep sailing at that speed, we should get to Colon very early on
Friday morning. I am expecting the wind to drop significantly the last
day but we should still make it for Friday.

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