Day 4 - Pacific Crossing - 21 April

July 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


Longtitude:         04° 48 S

Latitude:         97° 02 W

Course over ground:     260° 

Speed over ground:     6.5 knots 

True wind speed:     12 knots

Time: 7.30 am (Local Galapagos)

2,500 miles to go!


Saturday. We seem to have moved out of the literal doldrums but hit the psychological ones. Our speed is an average of 6.5knots, and we were exhausted. Xavier puts it down to sailing double-handed and the toll that night watches take on us, but it's more than that. We have already done a couple of week long passages before and they were nothing like as tiring at this point. Firstly, I realised that the exhaustion of rushing around with preparations and combining that with sight-seeing, and reporting back on it!, really had taken its toll. We had a fortnight to get ready in the Canaries, while in Santa Cruz we had three days. Secondly, we didn’t do any formal home education on passage before, primarily because it took Francis so long to get his sea legs. This time round, all good to go, the schooling was wearing us out as much as the kids! Still, it was Saturday so we reckoned we all deserved a break.

For lunch, I marinated the fish in lime, olive oil, salt, garlic and coriander and baked it in foil. Simply delicious. After much scientific research (by consulting an A5 double-sided fish card picked up in the Galapagos for the princely sum of 9 dollars!) we worked out the fish we caught the day before was not a Mahi-Mahi but a Pacific Jack Creville. Similar to look at in terms of being silver with a yellow tail, but with a darker, meatier centre. Turns out it was a small one, but according to Wikipedia (which we have downloaded off-line), big enough to have reproduced several times, phew! Also there is no way we could have eaten a bigger one or found space in the fridge. 

Supper was freshly baked sourdough loaf sandwiches, followed by curling up to read Treasure Island together all evening. Yes, our existence at the moment pretty much revolves around food and the weather, and in-flight entertainment! The loaves are a real godsend, made thanks to growing the yeast starter given by Cathrine, from ARC boat TINTOMARA ( via Sissi from INDIAN SUMMER. TINTOMARA are currently doing the World ARC rally, along with our friends on US boat JOJO’S CIRCUS (who crossed the Pacific on their 60 foot Outremer in 16.5 days, despite losing their gennaker in the early days) and UK boat MAD MONKEY. 

We are getting a handle on the boat. We have been keeping Gary (as in Garmin - see below*) our autopilot on windhold, set at a fixed angle to the wind. The problem with that is that a large roller of a wave can sweep the boat along and temporarily disorientate Gary so he starts turning 360° to compensate, and the gennaker flaps like hell until we turn the engine on, enabling us to turn the boat round again manually. It's only happened once on this trip, but after looking at the tracks of a drunken sailor that Gary has weaved across the map, the Skipper decided it was time to put La Cigale on a heading hold tonight and she seems to respond to that with a faster speed. Of course, the danger there is the wind may change course but we monitor the instruments and overall it has been a steady SE since we set sail.

Emails and updates from the other boats come thick and fast, and a lot of fun banter flying around. Every night around midnight, Josie, from the US boat SHAWNIGAN, collates the info so we have a summary in one place of all our positions. Of course, none of us are remotely competitive…


*Skippers’ notes on Gary and Raymond:

GARY, our GARmin autopilot is fun, chatty, user friendly and versatile. But he’s a bit queer and has funny habits - like doing 360s for no apparent reason. Google the British expression “he’s a bit of a Gary”.

RAYMOND, our RAYmarine autopilot is the opposite. Cold, calculating, and never really wrong. But he’s antisocial, doesn’t talk to any of our other instruments and a pain to use. See Rain Man, the movie.  



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