Thursday, April 13, 2017

2017 Pacific Puddle Jump (Day 0 to Day 10)

Shindig's track from Baja to Marquesas

On 3/21 Shindig left Marina Palmira for the Marquesas!

With four onboard we  made a few stops on the East Cape to test the boat systems and jump onto a "norther" that was blowing down the Sea of Cortez.

On 3/23 we poked our nose out into the Pacific.... and kept on going!

Here are some photos from the passage with passage notes that I posted on during the trip.

Day 1- Baja March 21

Shindig slipped her lines today at 11:30.  We enjoyed a wonderful send off from friends on the dock and Mom and Dad escorted us out of the channel aboard Elegante.  Rob, JD, Tom and Sylvia are all excited for the passage ahead.
We are currently at the Bonanza anchorage at Espiritu Santo and making our plans for the next few days.

There is a norther expected in the Sea of Cortez on Thursday that may not make for the most comfortable sailing but will shoot us out of the Sea like a cannon ball.

Day 2- Baja  March 22

Today we started heading South toward Cabo!
We had a mix of sailing and motoring today and are now anchor down at the Bahia De Los Muertos.
Our buddies on SV Pangaea are here too.  It is 75 degrees outside and there are 5 knot winds from the NE.
At the moment we are studying the weather to plan our departure timing to take advantage of norther that should arrive tomorrow.  The trick is to have good wind but not get spanked during the windiest part of the system off the tip of Baja.

Day 1 - Pacific Puddle Jump Passage March 23rd

Shindig is off shore and on her way.
This morning we left Bahia De Los Muertos and sailed south.  
We had 20 to 25 knots most of the day and made good time around the tip of Baja.
Right now we are in the wind shadow of Baja and motorsailing West to pick up North winds.
There were many whales spotted on our trip South.  They were breaching all over the place.  I like to think they were waving goodbye to Shindig.

Windy conditions off Baja

First sunset at sea

Day 2 - March 24th

Last night the wind came up at 0200 and allowed us to  sail West and we have been sailing for the last 18 hours.  We are beam reaching in lumpy 6 ft swells.  It is a "one hand for you, one hand for the boat" kind of day.  Everyone is getting used to the watch schedule and taking naps to catch up since is was not a restful night.  Yesterday's 24 hour run was 152 miles.
Sylvia made excellent beef burritos for dinner.  All smiles for the crew.  JD and Sylvia saved the day today when they recognized a bolt had fallen out of a support brace for the wind generator.  We were able to fix it before anything bad happened!  2474 miles to go.

This ship, seen in the shipping lane off Cabo, was the last boat of any kind that we would see for 2200 miles

Day 3 - March 25th

Last night we had excellent sailing conditions.  Beam to broad reaching in 12 to 17 knots of wind with far less sea state than the night before.   We clicked off 154 miles in the 24 hours ending at 0730 this morning.  Soon after sunrise the wind dropped to less than 10 and we struggled to make good progress down the track.

Tom and I have been studying the weather and it looks like there is a big wind hole forming around us and we need to be west of our position to get the boat sailing.

We have been motor sailing that way for most of the afternoon.  To conserve fuel we motor slowly at about 5.5 knots.

Dolphins swim by throughout the day but we are very slow and boring for an extended visit.  The ocean is an incredible blue and over 11000 feet deep here.

The first few days we were chasing squeaks.  Tom is soaking down a sheave at the end of the boom that was.... noisy.

Day 4 - March 26th

Yesterday was a 132 mile day.  Light wind (<12 knots) was again the big story.  In order to keep Shindig moving comfortably we are sailing more West than South and are looking for more wind.

The sailing is comfortable but we are not breaking any speed records.  4.5 to 5.5 knots.

Much of the day was spent attending to and fixing critical boat equipment.  Our trusty Keurig coffee maker broke and crew moral soured quickly.  

It took a while to figure out how to take it apart but it soon gave up its secrets and debugging on the salon table entertained everyone for hours.  We found and removed debris in a check valve and now hot coffee is flowing freely.  Mutiny avoided.

400 miles completed.  2238 to go.

Tonight we are having green chili chicken enchiladas that Nancy made for us!

The boys onboard tackle the all important task of fixing the coffee maker.

That little green fleck was the reason the machine wasn't working well.  It was stuck in a check valve in the bowels of the machine.

Day 5 - March 27th

We are now 25% of the way!
Great sailing conditions for the last 24 hours.  The best winds have been at night (15 to 20).  During the day the winds back off a little but made for beautiful trade wind reaching.  We have two more days of westing before we gybe over and aim for the equator near 135 West.  The long range weather model suggest we will encounter winds <10 knots in a week or so.  I hope the forecast improves because Shindig likes lots of wind on the stern.

We had a visit from a booby bird today.  It was very interested in the fishing lures and circled for  an hour diving occasionally to get a closer look.

JD got out the sextant and we looked at it.  It should be able to give us a latitude and longitude position but we can't figure out how to turn it on.

The crew feasted on penne pasta with red sauce and a salad for dinner.

last 24 hour miles: 145
Distance covered: 545
Distance to Nuka Hiva:2095

JD enjoying a morning coffee on his 5AM watch

JD plotting our daily position on paper charts

Sylvia driving downwind.  This was a popular sailing configuration for the first 1/3 of the passage.

Day 6 - March 28th

All is well onboard Shindig this evening.

In the morning Tom collected two flying fish that were on deck.  They are now bait but no takers.
In fact, we have been dragging lures in the daytime for 5 days without a bite.  We must be doing something wrong.

100% cloud cover today and good winds from the NE 12 to 20.  We are now sailing wing on wing and it is very comfortable compared to the broad reaching in 6 foot swells and chop for the last few days.

Todays highlights......

We open the "in case of scurvy" gift from Cliff and Donna.  In it we found delicious freeze dried fruits.  Yummy puffy fruit snack

Sylvia is getting to know the boat and spent three hours driving on her 11 to 2 watch.

Tonight was calm enough for movie night.  We enjoyed Passengers.

Last 24 hour miles: 157
Distance to Nuka Hiva:1945


Day 7 - March 29th

Today, on our 7th day at sea, we gybed.  After being on the same tack for 900+ miles it is time to slow down our westing aim more at Nuka Hiva.

The morning lull at sunrise relented and we continued making good speed in 15 to 20 knots of wind all day.

In the middle of the night I found myself chasing new noises.  You get used to the noises your boat makes.  It is quite noisy in fact when the boat is going fast and rolling a lot.  When a new thud, thunk or squeak shows up I always investigate to make sure something bad is or is about to happen.  I got harnessed in at 0100 and went on deck with my flashlight.  It was coming from the stern near the wind generator and new "squeak, squeak thud" only happens when the boat rolled hard on its side.  There is a little play in a wind generator bracket and I think that may be the culprit. (yes the same bracket where a bolt worked loose 5 days ago).  I used some lashing to preload tension in the bracket and went back to bed.  A short time later the boat rolled hard and "squeak, squeak" no thud.  Did I get it.....?

Tonight we are having chicken, turkey and gruyere crepes and cucumber salad.

PS.  Nancy has forwarded me some facebook comments to these position report.  It is fun to share them with everyone onboard.  Keep them coming.

Last 24 hour miles: 155
Distance to Nuka Hiva:1800

Day 7 treat bag from Mom and Dad!

Day 8 - March 30th

Today the sun came out in the morning and we have had some of the best trade wind sailing of the trip.  We are broad reaching in 15 knots and miles are flying by.

We are now more than 1/3 of the way and broke the 1000 mile mark.  If you know where, "in the middle of nowhere" is, well we past that a few days ago.

Today we opened a care package from from Mom and Dad.  It was labeled, "open after day 7".  It was full of fun snacks and everyone was very excited.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

JD had continued success in the Bad Noise Eradication Program(BNEP).  There are some wires in the mast that flop back and forth and make a racket.  It has been a lively sail and being that the mast is right next to JD's bunk we decided to tackle the project before he went crazy.   The solution involved a dremel tool, bungie cord and patience.  We are happy to report there is one fewer bad noises on board.

Our weather analysis today indicates that we will have these same good winds for a few more days and then we are likely to experience some rain and light winds.  We are enjoying these trade wind conditions and clear skies while we have them!

Chasing more noises.....  This project silenced wires that were slapping around inside the mast.

Day 9 - March 31st

146 miles completed in the last 24 hours.  Is is amazing how consistent our mileage has been in last 7 days. (154, 132, 145, 157, 155, 142 and 146)
As expected the clouds rolled in today and we have 90% cloud cover the wind is holding at 15 to 20 this afternoon.  It is a rambunctious ride as the sea state has grown to 6 to 8 ft and is confused.  There are also less significant wave trains from different directions.

This type of ocean sailing I call, "Endurance Sailing".  It is said that this three week trip will but more than 1 year of wear and tear on boat gear.  The goal is to make it without breaking people or gear and have a fun time.  No reason to take risks or subject the boat to stressful situations on purpose (that shit will happen on its own).  How is this different than the way we normally sail Shindig? For one, we are not flying the spinnaker in these conditions.  Sailing with the kite puts a lot of stress on the boat and requires a lot of crew attention.  Especially in 15 to 20 knot winds and 6 to 8 ft confused seas.  Another thing we have done for Endurance Sailing....  Inspect the rigging every day, re-rig sheet and guys to avoid chafe, and move control lines periodically to avoid chafe points.

Today we encountered rain and mild squall activity but the wind is still good and consistent.  The ITCZ (google it) is moving north into our path and we will need a plan to traverse it sooner than expected.  In the morning we'll get another set of weather data and modify our course to a skinny part of the ITCZ.

No fish today but when I pulled in one of the lines the hook on the lure was bent straight.  Something had a taste.... or it snagged on debris.

JD giving Tom some tips on celestial navigation

Sylvia getting some help at the helm from BooBoo Kitty

Day 10 - April 1

Yesterday was our best mileage day at 159.  Last night was our first with squally conditions.  The wind stayed with us though and the 15 to 20 knots pushed Shindig downwind with ease.  In the late morning Tom and I studied the weather and all the predictions for a long ITCZ in our path were reversed.  Odd for sure.  We decided to gybe and head a bit more south around noon.  With all hands on deck we over sheeted the main in close and flopped over.  The expected bang was followed by the pitter patter of torlon bearings bouncing on the deck.  The outhaul car on the boom broke.  No April fools.   JD and I got the outhaul car off the boom and collected as many of the bearings as we could find.  With all the bits and pieces on the floor of the cockpit it was clear that fixing the block was not going to be an easy option (car end plastic was cracked allowing bearings to escape).  We all channeled our inner McGyver and turned our attention to modifying an old staysail deck car to work.  Soon after we had the end of the boom off, fitted the modified staysail car, and.... Bobs your uncle. The fix worked!  Team Shindig is back on course and getting closer to the equator with every hour.

First serious breakage.  The outhaul car (right) lost 1/2 of its ball bearings do to a cracked end cap.

Lots of pieces

Rob and JD removing the end of the boom and fitting an old genoa car to replace the busted outhaul car.

Stay tuned for days 11 -> 20

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