Day 23 Day’s End 9/24/13

We’re at day’s end here on WW II.  

A large wave has just come through the centre hatch above the table at the base of the mast and boarded us. The hatch has been open all day with not a hint of water on the deck. It’s as if someone deliberately threw a bucket of sea water right down the hatch. The berth on the starboard side is soaked and there is a large puddle on the cabin sole.  In this heat it will dry soon.  


The Intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ, is the region that circles the Earth near the equator, where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together.

The next few days and the sea we have to cover are very unique. This is the beginning of the ITCZ Intertropical Zone, a no mans land for the wind. This is where you go from weather influenced by the north to weather influenced by the south, and the transition is often fraught with light and fickle winds. And, this is where you can get trapped for days drifting and in sizzling heat. The first time I transited this mysterious area was on Sannu II in 1997. I did not have the benefit of Grib files so I wallowed for several days chasing every little breeze to make headway at all. Eventually, of course, I made it through but not without suffering mild heat stroke. I lay very still below decks on the cabin sole with a water soaked towel over my naked body. I did this for hours until the night rescued me from the heat and delirium. With that in mind, I come upon the ITZ with some trepidation, based on experience.

I’m  fine with our progress toward the ITZ. My biggest reservation is the size of the waves.  At 2+ metres, if the wind should completely die I would suffer enormously at their hands. With no ‘way’ (forward movement) on, it would be impossible to set any sail at all as the flogging they would take would tear them to shreds and, drive me crazy. You are definitely at the mercy of the wind.

We’ve had a wonderful 10-15 knot breeze off our stern quarter that is filling a single reefed main and a poled-out jib pushing us along at a respectable  6+ knots in a straight line to where the narrowest part of the ITZ. Lat 10 00 North, and Long 150 00 W, that point at this moment is 236 miles down the road, and we are right on it. With our daily runs of 150 to 180 nm, we should be there tomorrow or Thursday .

The boat’s motion at the moment is swinging from 25 degrees to one side to 25 degrees to the other, and rocking forward and aft through 20 degrees – 10 each way so it is a lively ride and I’m thankful for my nav station seat. Typing this on the computer is rather like sitting in the back of your car while your sixteen years old – a wild ride, at speed. I seem to be forever pressing < then delete. It’s dark now so I’m turning on the mast head running lights as well as the nav station lights.

The ham radio sits off to my left. I’m listening to the sound of mariners on the Seafarers Net call out their position to another operator who records their position.

It’s too hot to sleep comfortably below tonight, so I will try and nap as best I can with frequent trips to the cockpit to watch the amazing star filled sky and feel the cool breeze. If things get really lively,  I’ll get Annie Lennox to sing ‘Walking on broken glass’, and I may just have to make some popcorn. 


  1. Hi Glenn,

    My next door neighbour drew my attention to your adventure and I check in whenever I remember to. I bought a 28′ Grampian sailboat 5 years ago, and I’m hooked. I’ve read many of the round the world adventures stories and somethings that’s always puzzled me is this: Why don’t you stop at the amazing places along the way? What is it about completing the trip non-stop that makes it better than spending a week in Hawaii, Tonga, etc.?


    John Taylor

  2. Hiya Glenn, what a terrific word picture you have penned as you approach the ITCZ!! How I wish I could be there to experience it as well. Marijke & I had lunch on a 13 m vessel today here in Simonstown. A Dutch couple who have been circumnavigating for the past 11 years an still have not completed their voyage ……………. maybe oneday for me.
    Fair winds and safe sailing

  3. Hayley Shephard says

    Hiya Glenn,
    What a trip I’m having following your blog entries. I truly feel that I’m right there, feeling the breeze, the movement of the boat and enjoying the wildlife that passes you by. Any Albatross in your travels yet ;)
    The other night it was absolutely pissing down up here in the North Island, the sound vibrates beautifully on the rooftop of my 30ft motorhome. I can easily turn the towering cedars that surround me into open ocean waves and I do often. So…in other words I am right there mate, with ya and enjoying every minute. Really happy you are out there. Stay safe and keep a keen eye out for those magnificent birds especially once you are in the southern hems. Big hugs, Hayls

  4. Pat and Fred Lark says

    Hi Glenn,

    Oh what a beautiful picture you leave with us. We can only imagine what the night skies look like. Truly a million dollar view. Thank you for the terrific posts. Stay cool. Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Nevertheless we are still keeping our eye on you. Happy Sailing.

    Pat and Fred

  5. Georgina and Lawrence says

    Love getting your updates, Glenn, from waaaaay out there. Wishing you continued cooperative winds and a quick transit through the ITC.

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