Slowing Down to Speed Up

It’s been a busy day here onboard Bodacious Dream. With the pending gybe* around the coming weather system, I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish first thing after sunrise. The most important of these was reefing the sails and changing the setup on the foredeck for smaller sails. Changing sails is how we control the horsepower of the boat. As winds increase, they generate more horsepower from the sails, which means our only way to “depower” is to “shorten” sail by using smaller sails.

Lunchtime ...
A late and modest lunch on the aft deck

At just over two thousand miles from Wellington, NZ, and considering the approaching weather system, it has become time to make our gybe and head north towards our target, the Galapagos Islands. Though that sounds easy enough, there’s more to it than that. It’s not a straight shot to the Galapagos. While it felt good late this morning to gybe and put the Islands directly on our bow, it’s still necessary for us to get further east and catch the prevailing winds before we can make an earnest move to the north. At the same time, a significant low-pressure (storm) system sits directly in our way.

Galapagos ... this way!
The Galapagos are that way!  – 47.16029S, 136.136105W

We’re in the Southern Hemisphere where storm systems rotate clockwise, so the best place to be when one comes by, is behind it to the west and northwest. Our gybe will take us northward as we rendezvous with the storm system that will begin to move SE on Thursday, opening a pathway behind it where we can hopefully use the winds that spin off of it to propel us northward … and then back east over the top of it. If we simply continued to head east, the storm would come down right on top of us.

So, the reason for changing the set up on the bow for smaller sails is to control the speed of Bodacious Dream once the wind speeds start to increase. In this instance, we want to slow our pace to the north to give the storm a chance to set up and begin to move to the southeast, so that we can follow behind it. Right now, I’m trying to hold a steady a pace at 7.5 knots. That’s not so easy though, as the boat really wants to be going 10 knots with the wind and waves behind us. But, if I were to go at the 10 knots, I’d sail smack into the storm. So, it’s a bit tricky out here today … but in the meantime, we have enjoyed another beautiful Southern Ocean day with another lovely and dusky sunset.

Moody sky
Sunset, April 7, 2014 – 46.303469S, 148.377016W

Also, we put up the first half of our Leg 2 photos (Cape Town to Wellington) on our BDX Facebook Page. Click the link or the image below to see those.

Facebook Album
Leg 2 – (Cape Town to Wellington) Album #1 

Thanks, and more soon.

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and the ‘devil-may-care’ Franklin
Currently @ 45.2426S, 133.3764W

(* For the more unsalty among you, A gybe (or jibe) is a sailing maneuver whereby a sailing vessel reaching downwind turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other.)

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