Day 4. The Trades

We had passed the “curtain of Mordor”, leaving a thick band of dark cloud to our stern… it was the boundary of the ITCZ, at 6 degrees South. Without a threat of a squall at any minute, we enjoyed our French toast with pineapple and boat-made yogurt.

Meanwhile, the winds settled into a vigorous 15knot average from ESE… perfect! Aldebaran was now finding her stride, going SW at a consistent 7-8knots.

The lumpy seas of the ITCZ still lingered, but our trimaran pounded along gleefully, as we were unwilling to slow her down. It was gorgeous sailing, we didn’t want to hamper Aldebaran’s enthusiasm. But the crew on the highside of the cockpit paid consequences with a few soakings of white water.

“Ahoy, a fishing float!” cried Spencer. This was of significant interest, something to look at in the great expanse. More surprises emerged. “Whoa, there’s a sea turtle,” he noticed an hour later during his morning watch.

Then at 1130hrs, the most unexpected: “Cargo ship, 2o’clock!” We could hardly believe it but our AIS showed we would come within two miles of the ‘BBC Scandinavia’.

“Can we say hi?” Michael asked. Next thing we know he’s on the VHF with the helmsperson on the cargo ship, ‘having a good chat’.

“You having any trouble?” Asked the ship’s helmsperson, who sounded Eastern European. We called him Ivan.

“No, we’re just calling to be friendly,” Michael responded. “Are you glad we called?”

“Well sure, not much else going on out here,” said Ivan. “Where I’d like to be is on your sailing yacht, I’d like to do that someday.”

“Is that so?” Michael said. “After spending so much time working on the ocean, you’d like to travel by boat for fun?”

“Well sure, it’s a nice place out here.”

And so it is. The ships passed each other under the blue skies and puffy clouds of the trades. The bigger one was going to Peru, originating in South Korea. The little one was headed to French Polynesia, originating in California. We met for a brief instant in the great Pacific.

We sped all day long at an average of 7.2 knots, reaching a big milestone: there’s now less than 2000 miles to go! We’ve already gone 1/5 of the way, 500 miles. Even more significant, we crossed this imaginary point precisely during Michael’s tea time at 4pm, which pleased him to no end.

To slow down the boat for night time comfort and safety, before sunset we dropped the mainsail. This also gives it a much needed break from chafing on the aft lower shrouds, where it is rubbing whenever we are doing a beam to broad reach (wind at 90 degrees or more). The big blue reacher headsail is now pulling us along on its own, at a more relaxed 5.5 knots.

I write this from my graveyard shift at 3:30am, the wind has eased a tad, and the headsail is yawning and full. It is framed by the full moon above and Jupiter to the west. The moon glitter on the sea is occasionally softened by passing clouds, which float along like passing ships in the sky.

9am. Thursday, April 13, 2017
Distance to Ducie Atoll: 1907nm
Distance traveled in last 24hrs: 143nm (sailing) Average speed 6kts

Current conditions.
SOG: 6.8 knots COG: 232deg Wind: 13 knots ESE

S 07 12.534
W 097 19.603

Current position…

5 thoughts on “Day 4. The Trades

  1. We plan to party at your 1/2 way point.
    Let us know when you know when that will be.
    So we can put something on ice, and share a few words.


  2. Dear Kristian – you are a beautiful writer. Feel like I am right there with you. Great update. So glad Michael is getting his tea time in. Please hug him for us. Happy sails – Cyetta and Dennis

  3. Picturing you all. Enjoy! Keep sharing. I skies Sugar Bowl yesterday. Thought of you cuz the last time I went, you skied with Tim and I was layed up. Great spring in Cali! Easter gathering tomorrow.

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