LAT 02 05.1S
LONG 154 00.0
ETA 0600 24 Jan 2012
COG 350 SOG 9.5
WEATHER WIND (in squall) 243@17kts (no squall) 277@6kts, sea slight, swell 1m north, cloud 7/8, Baro 1004.4
As we sail our way into the Pacific Ocean Gold Coast Australia continues its cat and mouse battle with Geraldton. Until
recently Geraldton have been sticking to us like glue 3nm astern to the south. Occasionally they would gain on us slightly,
and then we would loose them slightly. Just after midday the storms started to build. As the storms approach the wind
backs up to 90 degrees, and Geraldton appeared to be in their own wind with the squall coming towards it while we
maintained our course to the north in the usual light trades. Two hours later as the squalls began to approach us Geraldton
were 2nm to the east of us sailing at 10kts and making significant gains our our position.
Gradually we weave our way around squalls which have good wind on the outside, but no wind underneath them. We are
constantly altering course and trimming trying to get the best speeds and make ground to the North to get to the trades
first. Hopefully we can out sail Geraldton for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening now we are in similar wind
however the squalls are so random it is very hard to pick a particular course or game plan and we must just sail by the minute.
Squalls not only bring wind, and they also take away wind and it is not uncommon to have a 2min squirt of 20kts followed by
0kts for the next half hour. This is why it is very important to try to navigate around the outside of squalls and not get
stuck in the middle of them. One squall yesterday took us an our to get out of its centre, yet right now the squalls have
seemed to increase the wind in the general vacinity to up to 20kts making for some very good sailing towards the equator.
Squalls also bring rain, and as I type it sounds like the boat is sitting under a waterfall as the rain comes down in bucket
loads. Everybody onboard get very excited about this particularly the girls as it is not just a great way to cool off after
a hot day’s sailing, it is also a fantastic opportunity to have a shower in the rain and if you like even shampoo your hair
with fresh rainwater in an environment where only limited water can be made and there is not enough water to have a shower
every day. If you manage and you can catch some of the rainwater as it comes off the mainsail it is also fantastic drinking water.
As we near the equator there are certain crew members onboard who have not yet entered into King Neptune’s realm, and
preparations are underway for us to receive King Neptune and as custom initiate the periwinkles into shell backs. Other
members will be crossing the equator from south to north for the first time so they too will no doubt be ordered to pay pennants to King Neptune.
In this part of the world we are very lucky to have any wind at all, so even though the wind is random and comes from
squalls, it is better than no wind at all so we take what we can get. Hopefully if these conditions keep up we can be into the trades by tomorrow and setting course for Singapore.