Waypoint bar

Greetings from Consulting Time II:

It is 1930 CAT (UTC-1 or 3:30 PM Houston Time), Sunday, January 14, 2007. Our position is N19-42’/W030-37′ or about 1714 nm from the North end of Barbados. The wind is East by north, 20-22 kn and our course is 263M, speed 7.6 kn with a partially reefed double headsail and no main.

You wouldn’t have believed our surprise this afternoon when we arrived at N20/W30 and could not find the Waypoint Bar. We checked the handheld GPS against the ship’s GPS and they matched perfectly. We started a box search pattern figuring it had drifted off station. At the same time we tried hailing them on the short-range VHF radio with no response. Then we tried the single side band radio and raised them on the first try. Well, it seems they relocated last year and our two year old cruising guide had their old location. And of course in my earlier conversations with them, I did not think to ask if they had moved. Their new location is N15/W40, the second traditional waypoint for which west bound sailors usually head. I asked them why they relocated and apparently they felt too many sailors were bypassing their old waypoint. Well, I can tell you that things are pretty quiet on this boat tonight.

And to make matters worse, we are currently headed on the rhumb line for the northern end of Barbados which will take us well north of N15/W40. The crew is not too happy about that, but I pointed out that it will get us to Barbados sooner, provided the winds are as good on this route as the southern route via N15/W40. The GRIB forecasts indicate that will be the case and thus the change in course. However, when I spoke with Herb, he suggested heading for N15/W40 based on the historically better winds at the lower latitudes

Last night at the change in watch between Bill and Beau a second ship passed off our Port beam about 2 miles on a reciprocal course.

We have been sailing since 2040 Friday evening, first with the reacher and main and then since 1120 Saturday with the double headsails alone. The last 24 hours the winds have been in the 20-23 kn range and we have been averaging 7.25 kn boat speed or 175 nm/day. There are big (6-8′)rollers out there and the boat is rolling from side to side as she tops the waves and then surfs down the back side. Beau says he saw 11.8 kn SOG on one surf. A few hours ago we put a small reef in the headsails just to quiet the boat down a little.

For dinner this evening we had Mahi baked on the grill with pineapple rings ala Cieutat, wild rice ala Uncle Ben’s, fresh asparagus (Beau’s favorite), green salad and a white wine from Croatia. And as we were cooking the Mahi, we had our only fish strike of the day. We were boiling along at 7.5 kn and he was taking the line at a fearsome rate. Bill was below cooking the asparagus and rice. One disadvantage of the double headsail rig is that it take a while to slow down. You can’t just do the quick stop maneuver like you normally would with a main and genoa. So, hoping it was a small fish I cranked down on the drag and fish broke loose. SomewhereI appears that our dinner time must be the fish dinner time also.

It was another lovely day. The high temp was about 82F with partly cloudy skys. Our latitude is about the same as the North coast of Hispanola (Haiti and DR). we are getting further south every day.

Late News: We just had a call on VHF from a Sweden Yachts 47, named Amsala from the UK. They are about 6-7 nm SW of us (having left La Gomera, further west from Tenerife, at noon Monday- not that there is a race on or anything), bound from the Canaries to Barbados and then St. Lucia. They heard us talking to Herb and called to say hello and discuss route and weather. We will stay in touch with them. I think its time to shake out the reef in the sails!

Well that is all for now.

Best regards, Doug and crew

By Ocean Navigator