Where are the tradewinds? The unusually light winds we're experiencing continue to blow directly from where we want to go. A large high pressure system has been sitting north of us for several days blocking the easterly tradewinds from their normal pattern. The best we can do is sail at the closest angle we can to still make forward progress. Catamarans do not sail into the wind well. The general limit is 60 degrees off the wind, though we're pinching out 45 with the sails as tight as they'll go. With wind coming from the southeast, one tack puts us heading beyond south, the other just above east. While we could motor directly into the wind it's also slow and we need to conserve what fuel we have left. My judgement is the south tack is best right now though it's almost a coin toss. The high pressure system is supposed to move away and the winds shift back to their normal pattern soon. piloting tonight I'm watching for the subtle shifts but currently the wind is just dying down. If it gets much weaker I'll need to pull in the headsail and start the engine burning more precious fuel. Not the best of sailing right now. Time to go tweak our heading and try to maintain speed.
last night was pretty miserable progress. We were torn between two bad choices. heading east would get us closer to the trade winds, but we could not hold an easterly chorus with the winds out of the southeast. our recommended course took us straight into the wind but was more south. it meant a night of motor sailing into the wind at 3:00 to 4 knots. it makes more sense to crab south then sail out into the open ocean and then have to make up the time. headed south later. coming on deck this morning with Dana at the helm. We conferred and decided it was time to take a bold new approach. just sitting in the middle of the ocean crawling along is not going to get us anywhere. We have decided we will focus on moving south on the edge of our ability to sail, regardless of where it takes us to an extent. We have altered course and are now making eight to nine knots heading more or less towards Puerto Rico. no worries, it's about 500 mi to the shore. We can just wait and hope for a favorable wind shift or we will simply have to fight this out tacking back and forth later in the week.
I Have Arrived. At dinner tonight, (stuffed peppers), sitting around the table laughing, listening to getting stale music, sharing our daily bottle of wine, I recognized the truth. It is the journey, not the destination. Despite the lack of wind and constantly on the nose when it does blow, we 3 couldn't be happier. I did not come to go to St. Martin, I came to sail. Reaching St. Martin is the end of that. We are sailing, albeit slowly, and experiencing what it is to do so. The goal of this trip is to learn and grow. Over the past 6 days I have learned so much. Yermo and I can now handle all the sails, furling, reefing and unreefing, trimming, and even launching, flying, and dousing a Spinnaker. There is still much to learn about the boat's systems but it's those things specific to this boat. We've had things break and fixed them or adapted to those repairs that must wait until port, and improvised solutions to the challenges. We're making navigation plans and adapting on the fly to changing conditions. We are becoming more experienced sailors, the reason we came in the first place. We have already reached the place we wanted to be.
day six I think. after night of passing through squalls and small nothing extreme, this morning. we decided it was time to turn east and head directly for the trade winds. We did have a little excitement last night when we spotted several waterspouts nearby on the radar but none of them gave us any problems and none of the little storms was any real deal. it has been a slow day of light winds and progressing along it. oh a little under five knots or so. and honestly, we just didn't care that much long as we are moving forward. we're trying to conserve fuel so running the motor all the time is just not the answer. and besides we're kind of tired of listening to it. at one point the wind died and the boat almost came to a standstill and all of us just sat around doing our various things reading a book, cleaning the boat fooling with electronics. you can figure out who is doing each of those. it's getting dark now, there's the squall line in front of us but it doesn't look too big, and we will continue through tonight to make slow progress towards the east to find these mythical trade winds I've heard so much about.
it is 23:30 and another watch is nearly over. our goal starting today was to get as far east as fast as we could. this was quite difficult as the wind was out of the east. We could sail one way more or less towards Bermuda or sale on the other tack down towards Cuba but neither would really get us east fastener. consulting the weather service Dana ass which way should we choose to go? east or south. The reply came back Southeast. and you think he plays for such sage advice. We set off following the waypoints. the weather suggested only to find the wind continued to frustrate us. finally, your mom and I had a meeting in the cockpit and decided it was time to make our own course and compromise even more. so now the goal is to continue to crab east as much as we can but don't shy away from moving south as well. it may take us longer to reach the trade winds, but by the time we reach them anyway, they won't be of prolonged help. our plan is to simply do the best we can with the wind we have and work it out as we go.