Why didn’t we listen?

In our defense, we found ourselves in a place where no one, as far as anyone can remember, has departed from for the South Pacific. Most people leave from either Panama by way of the Galapagos, as we did last year, or from Mexico, usually around the area of La Paz and Puerto Vallarta, or from even further north, from San Diego. We carefully threaded the needle between the expected effects of the Tehuanapec north of us and the Papagayos south of us, both areas of unpredictable high winds. We threaded so well that we had no wind for the first few days and ended up motoring a full 24 hours before we could raise sail and enjoy a perfect breeze. “Stay north of the equator in the trade winds as long as possible,” our research told us. And that was our plan. But after a few glorious days of sailing we grew overconfident and headed more on the rhumb line toward our destination. As the wind gradually dropped we adjusted sails accordingly and accepted that we won’t make our target arrival date. By Friday it was clear we had sailed right out of the wind, and the weather data we downloaded on the satellite phone confirmed we are surrounded by no wind, likely for the next three days at least. Remember the movie “Dead Calm?” That’s us. Without the psychopath. So we have between 2 and 4 kts of wind and flat seas. Our mainsail and jib are too heavy and require too much pressure to move us in such light air. But wait, we have a spinnaker that’s only been out of its bag long enough to get a good rinse before being packed away again beside the generator. It’s now or never. Sailors know that spinnakers are finicky and require adult supervision. We weren’t sure we could figure it out, or even if we have all the right parts but we hauled out the owner’s manual, systematically went though the steps and with a satisfying WHOMP! as our little breeze filled the chute, voila! We are flying a spinnaker. Sadly, it isn’t making a huge difference in our forward speed, which is hovering somewhere between 1.5 to 2 kts and we’re going to be in this pickle until probably Wednesday when the wind is predicted to start filling in again. Still, it’s a beautiful Sunday, Jack made a delicious omelet for breakfast, we learned a new skill. And that’s not bad.


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3 Responses to Why didn’t we listen?

  1. I always love a good spinnaker. May the winds pick up and take you across the wide Pacific with smooth sailing all the way.

  2. Liz

    Beautiful picture, enjoy the view!

  3. Take the term “target arrival date” out of your vocabulary. Even if you are not moving you will remember this as some of the best times sailing.

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