| 8:45 PM local time, Thursday, December 12 (2045 Dec. 12 UTC) 14 39 N 048 22 W.
Temp. 84, Humidity 66%, Cloud Cover 40%. Sixteenth day at sea.
Greetings from the crew of Maverick.
For the past three days we've had about 15-20 knots all day, slightly higher
at night in the squalls. The seas haven't been big but they're a bit sloppy. My
theory on this is that in the northeast tradewind belt you have a sea running
from the wind you have, a cross-sea running up from the southeast trades below
the ITCZ, a swell running down from lows that come across to the north, and odd
seas kicked up by squalls in the vicinity that sometimes hit forty knots. We had
exactly the same situation in the Pacific trades but had much rougher seas
because the wind we were sailing in was often thirty to thirty-five knots. The
fact that we're sailing dead down wind makes the boat roll heavily in weird ways
with the cross swells. This is what has made it impossible for us to get
Maverick to steer with the helm locked in place. We haven't really slowed down
that much when we've had wind, to save the autopilots, because dead down wind,
speed increases your directional stability in these seas. So in general the seas
are nothing to complain about, as we're making good progress and the weather's
We're not going to break any records getting across but when we have wind
we've been doing 150-mile days pretty consistently. When the wind was light and
when we were working on stuff about a week ago we had some slow days, and on one
we made only 60 miles. Many of the other boats motored by us, as we heard from
their position reports on the morning net. We have only actually seen two other
boats in the last week.
The autopilots are hanging in there and although the Captain was at first
spending a lot of hours on the helm, as we've grown closer to our landfall and
we've gained confidence in the autopilots in these conditions, I've slackened
off a bit. As I write this we have a little less than 800 miles to go, or about
six days if the wind holds.
The final story on the man-overboard on the ARC boat was that, after
conferring with the rest of the family, the body, which was never brought back
aboard, was cut loose and left at sea.
PS to Mark: That's a clever repair solution. Unfortunately, the outside of the
shaft that needs the repair must fit inside a tube that gives it only about
1/16"clearance, so we can't create any extra thickness. I'll file yours away to
use for the next jury-rig.
PS to Walt: We're now using the Navico most of the time except in squalls-see
above. We do not sleep at the same time, someone's always on watch. However, our
procedure is that, if the on-watch person is having trouble staying awake, we
set a kitchen timer and take a ten-minute catnap, and repeat until we feel
alert. Something that is over the horizon will not hit you in less than ten
minutes. We feel this is better than dozing off, not setting an alarm, and then
waking up an hour later. Obviously, we don't do this near shore or in heavy
As far as radar is concerned, we rarely use it except in fog or to tell distance
off. A ship's lights can generally be seen from further away, particularly in
rough conditions where the radar has trouble picking up targets, and, unlike the
radar, a ship's lights tell you what direction it's going, so it's easier to go
by the lights and use the radar only to help. We never use the alarm on the
radar, preferring to trust our eyes. Some targets just don't show up.
Singlehanders swear by it but that doesn't make me feel better.
PS to Bill: Thanks for the reminders.