Trip Reports

Bump And Grind (12-Dec-2002-20-45):
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 nice.

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 traffic.

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.

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