Sunday, June 2, 2013

time and tide . . . . .

Every time we think we have it licked, everything changes. The hight pressure that set up camp at the entrance of the english channel is blocking our way into it with too much wind to motor and too much in the nose to avoid tacking. We have reset the genoa and redirected the sheets to have them going inside the shroud and outside the lower shrouds. This allowed us to gain almost 15 degrees towards the wind. We don't know yet for sure, we have to wait until we tack and see what is the angle between tacks on the course over the ground.
When the rigging is set up the way it is suppossed to be, with the sheets outside the rigging, and because Papy Jovial only has one set of spreaders which limits he angle that you can sheet it in, and in open seas with some chop, it used to be around 110 t0 120 over the ground. It looks much better over the water, but with very little draught (5'4") to anchor the keel into the water, the boat drifts sideways almost 11 degrees each side. The result is that if you want to cover 50 miles towards your target, you have to sail twice at much through the water. There is an old say among french sailors which says takcing means twice the distance, three times the pain.
Looking at the weather chart today, the temptation to go north and pick up a wind that would allow us to sail directly to the next fuel dock is great. However, by the time we get up there, the forecast shows that we would encounter a head wind of about 15 knots, too strong to motor and forcing us to tack.
The only option that seems possible is to continue on our present course of 110 (42 degrees away from the target), wait for the wind to veer tp 070 late afternoon and go about in a wind which should be improving in direction on the other tack. If this works, that would get us to Camaret, 250 miles away by noon on the 5th. What is next is a northerly course through rhe Channel du Four, where the current starts flowing northward 4 hours before the high tide in Brest, which is at 4 p.m. TU+2. If we miss that train, then we have to wait for the next tide, 11 hours 30 minutes later. From Camaret to Le Havre, the direct distance is 240 miles, but we know that a sailboat seldom goes direct, especially if you plan to go eastward and the forecast calls for north east wind throughout the period.
At this point, we estimate that we could arrive in Rouen between 9 to 11 june.
Besides, the weather here is beautiful. The best possible sailing conditions if you don't plan to go anywhere specific. Blue sky, calm seas, light wind.
All we can do is be patient and understand that mother Nature is in command, not us.

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