Surfing Along Latitude 40

I trust you all had a good New Year, and are cast off now on the open seas of January. Bodacious Dream, Franklin and I had a good one, and have also been experiencing some very good sailing here the last few days.

As some of you know, I have a proclivity for mapping out waypoints. Typically, these are specific points on a nautical chart, but they can be more abstract goals as well, such as personal markers you set for yourself. Anyway, I use waypoints, so I have some gauge as to how things are progressing. When the distances you’re sailing are in the thousands of miles, you often can’t get your current position and your intended destination on the same chart, so by setting waypoints, you can give yourself a sense of accomplishment as you go along.

In the Middle of the Deep Blue Sea … 41.4829S, 59.4750E 

Today we marked off a couple of milestones. First, we passed 2000 miles sailed since leaving Cape Town on December 21st. So, now I’ve punched in my next waypoint at a point on the map that is 3000 miles from Cape Town! And also, when I zoom out on the electronic chart navigation system, I can see both where we are now AND Western Australia on one screen … which is kind of cool … not having the boat being the only thing on the screen!

So, Western Australia is about 2300 miles east of here and with any luck, in about two weeks, I should be cruising below that longitude and heading towards Tasmania … and then onto New Zealand. Now, Tasmania is about 3800 miles from here and New Zealand, currently about 5000 miles. So, there’s still a long way to go!

(Now, I’m not able to upload the new VIDEOS I’ve been shooting out here until we get closer to land … BUT I do have an earlier video that you haven’t seen and that I’m adding here because curiously enough, it was shot at an earlier milestone, when I was 2000 miles from Cape Town (as I am now) but on the Leg #1 side … as well as 5000 miles from our Jamestown, RI starting point, which is exactly as far as I am right now from our Wellington, NZ endpoint. (Lots of wind noise in this video – sorry about that, but you’re not missing much in this case.) 

2000 from Cape Town, but in the opposite direction … 

The past couple of days we’ve had some really sweet and steady winds, so I was able to keep up the speed and knock off some miles. Last night, I was able to surf off waves and so raised the speed up to 12 and 15 knots a couple of times. You can make some good miles this way, if you can keep it going. Unfortunately, by mid-morning today, the high-pressure system that follows the cold fronts pulled in … so now, I’m back to moseying along at 4 and 5 knots. But, the good thing is, I’m tracking straight east along Latitude 40 with yesterday’s total distance at over 200 miles!

It looks though like we’ve got some complicated weather coming in this week. There are a couple of low-pressure systems headed our way, and then there’s also a tropical cyclone that is presently up near Madagascar that just might spin off some energy into one of these southerly moving lows and intensify it. So, we’re hoping to make some good progress in the meantime, so we can stay in front of that storm and take advantage of its pushing winds, rather than fall behind it and have heavy wind in our face. So, I’m spending extra time trimming the sails and making sure the boat is open and moving the best she can. If all goes well, by Sunday of next weekend, we can say we’ve passed the 3000 miles from Cape Town mark, which is about half the distance to New Zealand!

sliver_moon_550This is a moment …

In the midst of all this sailing, there is always some startling beauty out here in the watery world. This photo I took of the sliver of a moon in the gold of the setting sun and one of my entourage of birds all came together just right. The beauty and balance of sea and sky, light and dark, movement and stillness all combine sometimes to give me this great feeling of peace and pleasure.

But for now, it’s back to the routine of sailing the boat, looking out for phantom ships, hoping to see whales and dolphins, making dinner, doing maintenance and eating chocolate … though I’m getting a bit worried I’ll run out of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses before the end of this leg. (Are you listening Jenny? Jenny’s my friend AND my Hershey’s contact!)

Again, thanks for following along. There will of course be more to come soon. And watch for our new Explorer Guides launching the middle of this week! The plan is to launch two of these every week for the next three weeks. This new set will be bigger and cover many more subjects than the earlier sets. They will have plenty of fun facts and provocative questions that will hopefully be of interest to learners of any age. I even learned from working on them!

So, until later …

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (who recently realized that the earth is shaped the same as he is)