Day 103 Ghosting along 13/12/13

Dec 13, 2013Position: 30.41 S, 96.34 E

01:00 am. WW II is ghosting along at 2.5 knots in a very very light Southeasterly breeze. The moon is above the light quilted night sky. The sea is calm. It is dry, no dew, and mild 20 C. I am sitting comfortably in the cockpit in my night fleece amazed by how WW II is making progress in the light breeze. We have covered 20 miles in the last six hours. This calm is supposed to last till 10:00 am. At some point I’ll take the sails down as the slatting grows more destructive and forward motion is reduced to about 1 knot. Then we will lie quietly till the wind returns. Thinking of you out here in the quiet warm Indian Ocean in the middle of the night.

The morning has dawned and we are taking advantage of a fresh breeze from the Northeast. We’re moving along at a good speed over fairly calm seas. A nice ride.

Course 275 T Speed 5 knots Wind NE 10 knots Waves NE 1-2 metres Cloud 100% Temp 19 C Baro 1017 Volts 12.7


Day 102 Less than 2,000 nm to halfway 12/12/13

Dec 12, 2013 Kellerberrin and Binningup

Australian ham radio operators located in Binningup and Kellerberrin

I’ve turned west and am making good time. My GPS puts me 1,996 miles from the halfway mark! I did just over 1000 miles in the last week since leaving Cape Leeuwin and half of that was going north, so if I can get past the calms predicted in the next day or so, I will be making good time towards half way. It was very hot in the cockpit at one point today, so along with some laundry, I had a good scrub. I was surprised at the amount of skin that came off. It feels really good and I’ll rub in some lavender moisture cream just to give me that spa feeling. A bath and clean clothes all at the same time? What ever next. My next task is to wash my Gill waterproof fleece farmer john outfit and my fleece jacket. It will be such a treat to get them washed; they are definitely past due in that department. I guess that’s one of the perks of coming North – getting my self clean, and the boat has dried out a lot inside as well. 

There are two French Islands south of me, Île Amsterdam and Île St-Paul. There are some great stories about the history of the islands and the Google Earth maps are very interesting to look at. Getting back to my new route, in the British Admiralty book “Ocean Passages for the World” the route I am taking is shown on chart # 5308 World Sailing Ship Routes. This chart is inside the envelope which accompanies the book. The route I am taking is in fact an old, well used sailing route.

I made contact tonight with Peter VK6APZ from Kellerberrin in Western Australia. I had Cliff ZL4AS in Balclutha, NZ and  Ted VK6NTE just outside Binningup, on the radio tonight. Great to have some time to chat with these fellows. We have just had another squall go over, not enough rain to catch but each one washes the salt from the deck , so when a good shower comes I can open the valves and collect some rain water. I will feel a lot better when the tanks are full again.

I feel very good this morning and have been busy on deck.  The day dawned and all around us was the “valley of the rain squalls”. I got excited and thought this is the morning we will put some serious water in the tanks. I needed a strategy. There are several inherent problems to overcome before I open the valves to the deck drains and welcome the water below into my 10  gallon holding tank. The first is to make sure all the salt has washed off the deck and sails before I open the valve. So I need a really good downpour or several showers with no salt water getting on deck at the same time. The situation for that to happen is somewhat difficult. It means virtually coming to a stop and sit still while the rain washes the boat for awhile and then when I think it’s done, open the valves and let ‘er rip.

The squalls in this valley I am in are rather tame and the best I’ve received from them so far is a heavy scotch mist, not enough to wash the deck of its salt. In the last few days, particularly in the morning and late afternoon, I’ve had about five or six of these misty bursts so the deck and sails have been rinsed. The squalls this morning looked ominous,  but as in life, looks can be deceiving and they were little more than heavy mist, no real rain. Certainly not the rain clouds we’ve grown up with on the West coast of B.C. Undaunted, I kept at it. I ended up using a new sponge to wipe the mist off the deck and squeezed it into a waiting bucket which I had cleaned, ready for the job. During two misty squalls I managed to collect about a gallon of water. This isn’t much water, but when you are out of water completely and you’re desperate, it could seem like the Hoover Dam!  

I have 25-30 gallons of water in my tanks and I don’t want to take that for granted.  I’ll take every opportunity to collect water and perfect my collection techniques. I found that the rubber bucket I was using imbued the water with a strong rubbery taste which became evident when I was eating my morning oats. I forced 3/4 of the oats down but there are still three or four spoonfuls waiting for me in the saucepan. I am trying to find some sauce or something to cover the ‘rubber bucket’ taste as I hate to waste any food. Any suggestions? And so ends the first of many lessons on collecting rain water from the deck. Stay tuned for more episodes. 

One other exciting thing happened this morning during the squalls was I saw a big flying fish. Other news you may not be aware of is that there is a tropical cyclone developing above me. We’re closely monitoring it, and its path has not yet been defined. I’m not sure if it even has a name yet. Stay tuned! I’m due to be becalmed here this afternoon but for now there is a 5-10 knot breeze from the south and the seas have flattened out so we are still ghosting along at 3.5 kts. Go West Wind Go!

My great mood today is a direct result of your warm love and affection Marylou and I want to thank you for that and tell you that I love you madly, not crazy madly but enthusiastic madly. But I am crazy about you. 






Day 101 Heading west 11/12/13

Dec 11:2013Position: 30.39 S, 99.23 E

We’re at 30 S, one week and 900 nm after leaving Cape Leeuwin. When the wind fills in, we will head west god willing. Extreme pain in my elbow last night. Had to take pain killers to put it down. It must be my exercise program. I’ll have to make some modifications. Woke to find quilted sky broken with morning sun rise. Rain had fallen during the night and is still around in the clouds on the horizon. I will try and get some in the tanks if at all possible. Motion is very lively this morning. Wind steady, hopefully for the next full day. Miss our phone chats M.

Course 330 T Speed 5 knots Wind E 10-15 Waves 2-3metres Cloud 60% Temp 16 C Baro 1021 Volts 12.7


Day 100 Heading to 30 South 10/12/13

Dec 10, 2013

Position: 31.53 S, 101.12 E 

All is well. Trying to go north and west, to get to 30 S. Gradually making it with steady progress and many course adjustments through the night. Lots of waves to keep us on our toes and hanging on.  

Course 310 T Speed 5.5 knots Wind E 10 Waves SE 2 metres Cloud 100% Temp 16 C Baro 1024 Volts 12.6



Day 99 Riding the waves 9/12/13

Dec 9, 2013Position: 33.07 S, 102.56 E

Last night West Wind called to me, in her way, that she was off course.  She let me know with a distinct change in her motion which I am now fluent in. It brought me on deck, not in full foul weather gear, but two layers of fleece. I turned on the running lights and GPS to make getting back on course less of a white cane experience. My MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) LED headlight provided the  illumination I needed for this middle of the night exercise.

We were running down wind with the mainsail boomed out to port and the jib boomed out to starboard. Both are well secured by downhauls and a series of guys (lines) forward and aft to combat the 20 degree roll either way brought on in part, by a following sea. It takes some time to bring things back in line with my course objectives, mostly patience, because there are several small adjustments to the self steering vane that have to be made. After the adjustment, I need to wait ten or so minutes to see if we can maintain our course despite the death rolls. The upshot of all this is, I spend a fair bit of time in the cockpit in the dead of night. Sometimes when I’m waiting for WW II to settle in, I turn off my head light and the GPS and just soak up the experience of sailing in a great ocean in the middle of the night.

Each night has its own quality of light. Last night we were sailing under a quilted sky and above it the moon was back lighting the rising fluffy giants. The light that filtered through was ever so soft and subtle. Once I turned out the headlight and adjusted to night vision, I could just make out the line of the horizon off in the distance. West Wind’s light coloured decks and white sails became a distinct feature in the black nightscape. The rolling motion has the effect of being on a roller coaster, accompanied by the sound of rushing water and breaking waves. The waves were running beside us like a pack of dogs playfully chasing a pick-up tuck down a road. I sat for a while enjoying the ride,  my feet braced against the seat on the other side of the cockpit. It was exhilarating. Then I decided to go forward and climb into the seat in the pulpit which extends out beyond the bow.  If this were a ride at the amusement park, the line up would be a mile long and it would cost the earth. The quality of the filtered light through the clouds, the dark running sea and WW II’s light coloured hull running before the wind pushing her westward. The ride made my heart race and brought a broad smile to my face and a loud hoot and holler from deep in my soul. Like a kid, I was too excited to go back to sleep and seeing that I was the only one in line, I took a longer turn than I paid for, enjoying every single minute over every wave under the spectacular night sky.

Glenn in the pulpit seat

Taking a seat in the pulpit. Day 2 off the coast of Vancouver Island near Sooke, B.C.

Course 320 T Speed 4 knots Wind E 10 knots Waves E 1-2 metres cloud 100% Temp 16 C  Baro 1026 Volts 12.7