|Posted by victorycat on April 22, 2009 at 11:23 PM||comments (3)|
Tuesday-Wednesday, 21-21 APR 2009:
(Ruth) Today is Wednesday April 22, 2009 and according to Ray (Raymarine Navigation system) we have 95.00NM to go!!!! How wild is it that we have been traveling at sea for over 22 days.. So today begins the food celebrations. I made by hand corn tortillas. And what was left of the red onion and romaine lettuce, we had awesome beef tacos. Tomorrow after we anchor and check in we are having T-bone steaks, southern mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.. and of course an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. Looking back we had quite the adventure and did not kill each other, (however there were 2 close calls). There were (so far) only 2-3 boat problems that either were fixed or can be. The cribbage tournament continues, but because Tim is ahead in games won and points I have not been reporting that information. (yes we all know I am a sore looser).
Many many thanks to our wonderful son, Don, for keeping this Blog updated on our website (www.VictoryCat.webs.com) while underway and to Tim's father, Don, for his support in dealing with all our mail. One other shout goes out to the Pacific Seafarer Net, who kept track of us and especially to Mr. Tom (WA6TLL)who made several HF phone patches for us and helped us keep in touch with our loving family. Tomorrow we see land for the first time in 20 days, it's like Pepto Bismo ahaaa what a relief! (Don: I was tempted to edit that last part out....(sigh)..... but I didn't)
(Tim) Two days ago we set the main sail at the third reef (1/2 the full sail area) since we have been sailing on a steady broad reach (wind right off the port beam) and the wind has been 16-22 kts with 25 kts gusts. We have been averaging nearly 7 kts (6-8 kts) in heavy seas (8 ft), which are just aft of the beam. Bit splashy at times, but a nice roller coaster ride for the last couple of days as well as making good time. Having the main at the 3rd reef significantly reduces capsize risk to near zero and much more comfortable of a ride even if the wind gusts up.
Position (4/22/09 at 6 PM): 08-49S / 137-37W (approx. 90 NM to LAND HO!)
Distance traveled since last blog: Day 21: 144 NM, Day 22: 157 NM (new Victory Cat record)
Heading: 229T at 6.5 kts (reefed main sail) on 16-22 kts of wind
Tim and Ruth Henning
|Posted by victorycat on April 21, 2009 at 2:04 AM||comments (0)|
(Ruth) Today (Sunday) has been mostly boring except when Tim went out in a little rain storm to re-rig our main sail from the 2nd reef position to the first position. I was suppose to write this blog last night, but during my shift a cloud cluster was forming and I needed to keep my attention on the radar screen while cleaning the galley. We did have some excitement the other day. Friday night about 11:30 PM, or 2330, I was sitting in the salon and heard a noise. I thought it was the jib traveler moving from one side to the other, however, it was actually the main sail crashing DOWN.. ohhhhh shit.. woke Tim up, and he saw that it was fixable. I just stood there in total awe and he rigged up a new position on the main sail to hoist it back up.
(Tim) Our main sail luff (front edge of sail) has always been too long and in order to not have an 'S' curve in the sail battens (impacts sail shape), we must really tighten up on the main halyard. Over weeks of sailing, the 2-1 block got jammed into the top of the mast and without halyard flex, it worked the retaining pin through the metal backing plate on the top end of the main sail. I now believe that the main sail luffs were possibly sized without taking into account the 2-1 block length (therefore, the luff is too long) or the sail was just cut too long. We are now using the pole up line (Aussie speak for topping lift) as a halyard, but we are using it only to the first or third reef points. Thus, avoiding going up the mast in the open ocean. We must be careful when lowering the main due to no pole up (topping lift) since nothing is holding up the boom when the main sail is lowered. At one point I adjusted one of the reef lines from the 2nd to the 1st reef points and used a tightened 3rd reef line to hold up the boom. In the Marquesas, I plan to go up the mast and retrieve the main halyard and remove the 2-1 block.
(Ruth) Because of the storm we have had almost NO wind in the last 3 days, so I made an awesome dinner Saturday. I defrosted some Mahi-Mahi, spread a thin layer of diced green chilies on top and wrapped each piece in cedar paper that Tim cooked on the grill. Last week my fresh basil was on its last leg so I made fresh pesto and tossed it in the frig and forgot about it until yesterday. I made fresh pesto pasta with sundried tomatoes olives and the extra green chilies and a sprinkle of green onions. Ta Da!!!!! Ok back to studying French.. Merci beaucoup. (Tim: the dinner was awesome - good to have a gourmet cook onboard as well as one who stands watch)
(Tim) The wind conditions drastically changed today (Monday, 20 APR) increasing to 15-20 kts with 25 kts gusts and on the beam making for fast sail conditions (6-8 kts). The sea swell also increased to 8 ft just aft of the beam making for a rolling fast sail. Just before night fall, we put in the 3rd reef due to darkness reducing our ability to judge passing rain squall wind strength. We track storms at night by using radar for 20 scans every 10 minutes to conserve power. The radar is left on when conditions warrant. Squalls (moving concentration of rain clouds) have been typically moving at 15 kts with a WNW direction. In the center of these squalls we have found up to 30 kts winds and torrential rain (see ITCZ blog).
Position (4/20/09 at 9 PM): 05-45S / 133-57W (approx. 370 NM to LAND HO!)
Distance traveled since last blog: Day 17: 115 NM, Day 18: 118 NM, Day 19: 124 NM, Day 20: 119 NM
Heading: 229T at 6.5 kts (reefed main sail) on 16-22 kts of wind
Tim and Ruth Henning
|Posted by victorycat on April 18, 2009 at 1:49 PM||comments (1)|
(Ruth) April 16th 2009 The Day I will remember the rest of my life. The day we sailed Victory Cat across the Equator! I do not know how many days we have been sailing. (A LOT) We had quite the event today. As a part of Naval and ocean crossing vessel history, crossing the equator is a ceremonial event. I am well aware of this time honored ritual and started planning for it at the beginning of this passage. (note: a voyage is a round trip event and a passage is one way). Costumes are optional, but the jest of it is that until you have crossed you are considered a lowly (Tim: lower than pond scum) pollywog, and any and all Shellbacks reign over you. As part of the ritual the pollywog gives King Neptune (pours into the ocean} a drink of the boats finest grog (we used a shell as his glass) and ask for permission to join the ranks of the mighty Shellbacks. Tim is a shellback of course so he assumed the roll of Neptune with a fork taped to the boat hook as a trident(forked spear) and I wore my clothes on upside down.. you have to see the pictures to get the full effect.. After the toast, I was baptized with sea water (Tim sprayed me with the seawater hose) and I was officially a Shellback (Tim: unfortunately the hose got stuck open and she got a good seawater shower)(Ruth:yea, Unfortunately}. Then we sat down to an awesome meal of barbecued New York strip steaks (marinated overnight with Jack Daniel's mesquite blend), brown gravy over mashed red potatoes with garlic and Parmesan, mixed veggies and a glass of special red wine. The rest of the day was routine with the sun shinning and a nice downwind breeze with following seas.
Position (4/17/09 at 8 aM): 01-03S / 129-19W
Distance traveled since last blog: Day 16: 125 NM
Heading: 229T at 5.5 kts (Wing-on-Wing) on 10-11 kts of wind
Tim and Ruth Henning
|Posted by victorycat on April 18, 2009 at 1:46 PM||comments (0)|
Sunday April 12 - Tuesday Apr 14 , 2009
(Ruth)Today is April 15th (tax day) and I can catch up on the blog. According to our log book a lot of shit went down in the last few days.. Yesterday was a day of rest and recovery. It started about 3 days ago when we reached the ITCZ. I think Tim explained what the ITCZ was in a previous blog. I call it the International Terrible Cloud Zone. Basically a gigantic storm wall hundreds of miles wide and thousands long. Pounding high pressure rain and raging winds. ( not much sleep ). According to my log book on the 12th, it was 2am and I was sitting here and heard something tapping on the roof, so I got up and looked around and saw that the safety (jack) line was making that noise. As I looked up I noticed that the wind had suddenly picked up. I ran to the wind speed indicator and the reading was 17, 18, 19 knots of wind.. with full sails up 25 knots of wind can tip the boat over. YAH. So I quickly turned the boat out of the wind, got it on a safe course and calmly went to wake Tim to help me reef the main sail, which reduces the amount of sail. (calm on the outside so not to scare Tim, but wigging out on the inside). Then while we were well into the zone the wind died and we started a motor and played the game of sail only or motor-sail to get out of the zone as quickly and safely as possible. Humid as hell, is noted at 6pm and then by 3 am on the 13th I have it noted that while sailing in a comfortable slow speed, the storm creep up behind me so I "fired up both engines and punch through it, Boo Ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Tim: this storm cell appeared to form right in front and on top of us.)
(Tim) We passed thru too many storm cells to count. They were moving at 15 kts east to west and with being 5-10 miles wide, it was difficult to dodge them. Our course was nearly due south since we were trying to quickly pass thru the ITCZ. We did dodge a few storm cells, but we were usually immediately hit with the next one in line. It was better to pass thru the tail end (east side) rather than the front end (west side) of the cells. We saw the wind speed go from 5 kts to over 30 kts in less than a half minute with near horizontal torrential rain. The seas built up to 8-12 feet from many different directions (referred to as confused seas). We had been preparing the boat and ourselves (mentally) for the ITCZ. It is an area of unsettled weather surrounding the earth just north of the equator (normally between 2N to 10N) where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge and where the sea surface temperatures reach their maximum values. The ITCZ migrates north and south following the sun with about a two month lag.
After you pass the ITCZ, you are faced with the exact opposite conditions, near zero wind since the ITCZ sucks all of the wind on the equator side of the ITCZ between the northeast and southeast trade winds. This area is referred to as the "Doldrums". The best thing to do is to continue motor sailing since the ITCZ is totally unpredictable and can easily start drifting south. Our Doldrums experience was about 100 miles (nearly one day of running the engines). As we came out of the ITCZ, we did encounter two sail boats (Pilot and Ika ...). They were traveling together (father/mom on one boat and son/daughter-in-law on the other). They are also headed for the Marquesas. We talked on the radio with them several times and will probably meet up with them somewhere down the road. We had not seen another soul since leaving Mexico. You can only see to the horizon (about 8-12 miles depending on the height of eye). Seeing another boat in the middle of this part of the ocean was cool. We found out that we have several mutual friends (ex. Ralph and Helen on another Seawind - Moon Drifter). As sailors usually do, we separated during the next night and have lost radio contact.
We were initially caught off guard by the ITCZ since in the previous 12 hours the ITCZ moved 500 miles to the north right into us as well as intensifying. Again, there is no prediction model for ITCZ movement and NWS can only report where it has been. The ITCZ had been weak and broken up about 1 month after the equinox (last week) and even did a rare trip to the southern latitudes. That is why we diverted toward the equator taking a southerly course earlier than planned. I guess the ITCZ realized it was on the wrong side of the equator and moved back to the north with a vengeance. Going south early still worked out for us since the storms were of much higher intensity to the west of us around 130W per the NWS reports. We were near 120W. I talked to one boat at 130W (about 600 NM away) on the HF radio and they were getting hit much worse. Bottom line is that we had been talking about this portion of the passage and we were ready. Sorry it took us a few days to recover prior to writing this blog. It was impossible to write (or do most anything) while in the ITCZ. I am hoping Don can find one of the weather faxes that show the charting of the ITCZ and he can paste it here. The NWS does not provide a forecast for the ITCZ since it is completely unpredictable. They just show current location and higher intensity storm areas.
(Ruth) one of the nice things about going south is that the sea state is following which means that the waves or swells are behind you so you are not bashing into them when they are in front. However, when coming behind you it sometimes feels like you are on a roller coaster. This 10-12 ft swell comes up and you are lifted up and then slide down gently or not so gently.. It made me laugh when Tim called the seas confused around the storm cells, I told him " there not confused, they know exactly what they are doing, Trying to Kick our Ass". Great preparation and calm heads prevailed.
(Note to Don:
try to search the NWS website (http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/hawaii.shtml) for the "tropical surface forecast" chart which shows the ITZC. If you find it, paste it into this blog)
Position (4/16/09 at 6 PM): 00-22N / 126-53W
Distance traveled since last blog: Day 9: 120 NM, Day 10: 139 NM, Day 11: 132 NM, Day 12: 143 NM, Day 13: 154 NM, Day 14: 116 NM, Day 15: 129 NM
Heading: 225T at 6 kts (Wing-on-Wing) on 12-14 kts of wind
Tim and Ruth
|Posted by victorycat on April 9, 2009 at 1:23 AM||comments (1)|
Wednesday April 8, 2009 (Ruth): As I sit here typing today's Blog, I can hear Captain Kirk's voice in my head, sounds something like, " Captain's Blog, Sea-date 20090408, submitted by Admiral Ruth. Today was an average day, but last night we had a spectacular event occur. While Tim was going though his usual routine at the single side band/ham HF radio, ( my turn to nap), he was asked by one of the ham operators if he would like a phone patch. Tim jumped at the chance and he called our daughter Crystal, who was at Don's house watching the D-backs together. The patch was loud and clear and Tim was able to speak to both of them. He was so excited he woke me up and almost lost his life.. jk.. Today the temperature is 84 degrees and the sea temp is 80. I just mixed up a batch of beer bread batter and it is in the oven, while we continue with the cribbage tournament
(Tim: Games won are all tied up and Ruth passed me in total points, but I have the only recorded skunk).
(Tim: We have not seen another ship since Friday. Only seen birds, who we now give a saltwater shower to hitch-hikers due to all their crap and to discourage them from staying)
Position (4/8/09 at 9 PM): 14-20N / 118-59W
Distance traveled since last blog: Day 6: 128 NM, Day 7: 122 NM, Day 8: 120 NM
Heading: 210T at 6 kts (Downwind combo using the screecher sail, reefed/prevented out main and winged jib (prevented to opposite side) on 12-14 kts of wind
Tim and Ruth
|Posted by victorycat on April 6, 2009 at 3:18 PM||comments (1)|
The main event of today was catching our first Blue Fin Tuna (25 lbs) on a lime green feather lure and a corked beer bottle teaser. Excellent eating and makes the best sushi. Ruth talks more about it in the Monday Blog. While catching the Blue Fin, I made a sacrifice to Neptune by losing my good cruising sun hat. Ruth woke me up when the Tuna hit and I forgot to clip the hat to my shirt. Small price to pay for catching a great fish for eating. I would like to thank our good friend Tim Moorhouse, who showed us the right way to fillet tuna.
Sunday April 7, 2009 (Tim): We have had excellent screecher wind (broad and 8-12 kts) and we have been flying 6-8 kts for almost two days. We are definitely in the trade winds and now making good time. We were averaging 3-6 kts the last two days and now making 6-8 kts. Water has turned a beautiful blue color with sunny skies. The moon is starting to get full, which helps with trimming sails at night.
Today is Monday April 6, 2009 (Ruth): I only know that because the bottom of my lap top told me so.. This is day 9 of our journey (Tim: Day 6). Tim counts actual days sailed but I count days from when we left the dock.. ( and we all know that I'm right!). Two days ago we caught Blue Fin Tuna. (said to be the best sushi grade). Had sushi, (roll and all - ya baby) seared tuna steak in a soy and wasabi sauce and salad.. last night had beef tostadas cause I was busy carving a pineapple and pealing apple slices to make a marinade for the next serving of tuna for tonight, which will be grilled and topped with a pineapple, apple, celery, green onion and ginger salsa, accompanied by a saffron rice pilaf and homemade parmesan dinner rolls. Yummmm!
Today we had a little ceremony with a shot of tequila and a fond farewell to Mexico as Tim brought down the Mexican courtesy flag that we have flown off and on for 3 years. We talked about the memories and especially about the life long friends we have made along the way. Adios Mexico, Nous Allons Marquesas!!!!
(Tim) We have not seen another ship since Friday.
Position (4/6/09 at 6 PM): 16-45N / 115-46W
Distance traveled since last blog: Day 4: 78.5 NM, Day 5: 86 NM, Day 6: 132 NM
Heading: 250T at 6-8 kts (using the screecher sail) on 10-12 kts of wind (broad reach)
Tim and Ruth
|Posted by victorycat on April 6, 2009 at 4:04 AM||comments (0)|
We both worked hard to suddenly get the boat ready for sea including all of the sails. Ruth quickly finished up washing clothes and cooking an assume hand made Pizza (wheat dough with Mexican pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, jalapeños, etc.). Best I ever had. She went down for a 4 hour nap and I got the boat settled and on our way for our longest sail trip ever. I also finished this blog and will send it to Donny for the website when I fire up the HF radio to report into the Pacific Seafarer Net (see www.PACSEA.org). The Pacific Seafarer is HAM radio net we use to keep track of us and other friends sailing across the Pacific. The net is ran by several HAM radio operators that dedicate their valuable time every night to talk to, track and support ocean vessels (like us). If someone is in trouble, these guys find a way to help. We really appreciate their support. Please check out their website.
Position (4/3/09 at 8 PM): 19-07N / 111-11W
Distance traveled last 48 hrs: 220 NM
Heading: 246T at 4-7 kts (variable wind speed)
Tim and Ruth
|Posted by victorycat on April 5, 2009 at 9:49 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by victorycat on March 31, 2009 at 5:56 PM||comments (0)|
Tuesday March 31, 2009 and this is day 3 of our adventure. Sunday
morning March 29th, we put Lisa (our friend visiting us on vacation) in
a cab, finished up last minute storing, paid the bill and headed off to
Punta Mita (NW corner of Bandaras Bay). Arrived at Punta Mita just
before sundown, had a couple of sundowners and awesome carne asada
fajitas. We started the Victory Cat Pacific crossing cribbage
tournament, then went to bed. Monday morning had special breakfast
consisting of hash browns, eggs, bacon and orange juice. After diving
to check the hull, taking the water maker out of lay-up, staging jack
(safety) lines, and making some minor sail repairs, we raised anchor
and away we went… So happy that we were not leaving on April 1st.. We
traveled 120 nautical miles by noon today (Tuesday), but the winds
mid-afternoon have not been as favorable as yesterday, so I suspect
less miles traveled in this next 24 hours.. We are now at a point in
the journey where we see NO land only water, smog free and star filled
skies and little puffy clouds. The fishing pole has been out with
several Skipjack tunas returned to King Neptune. At this point, the
cribbage tournament score is 2-2, with Tim ahead in total points.
Position (3/31/09 at noon): 20-09N / 107-32W
Distance traveled last 24 hrs: 120 NM
Heading: 255T at 5 kts
Tim and Ruth,
P.S. Our incredible son, Don, has agreed to upload these blogs onto the Victory Cat website
|Posted by victorycat on March 29, 2009 at 8:02 AM||comments (0)|
My name is Don Henning. Soon my parents will be leaving the "grid" and following their dreams. During their voyage I get the astute duty of updating their website for all you happy people. They will be sending me updates and I will be posting them as I receive them.