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At Sea: Stars

May 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

Finally reaching after 6 days close hauled.  Wind now 45 degrees apparent off the port bow.  Great to have the extra speed and better action.  Heading south of the course to Galapagos to give some room for the wind to come back to west of south.  I spoke too soon yesterday about shaking out the reef, it stayed in all day and we had to roll off a good bit of the genoa late afternoon when the wind got into the 20 knots.  I had expected to use a lot of fuel getting to Galapagos but to date we have motored just 16 hours which includes the watermaker sessions.

The sky isn’t clear all night but we have long enough breaks to identify the new constellations.  We are seeing the southern cross just after sunset and Virgo.  Later into the night we loose the Southern Cross but get Scorpio, Libra and Bootes and the planet Jupiter in the south east.   Before sunrise we get Venus and Mars in the south east.  Making good use of the computer programme “Stellarium” to get the names.  I think it only runs on linux though. Don’t see the north star any more.

Edit [Andrew]: Stellarium works on Linux, Windoze and Mac see here.

For the last few nights we have had tern like birds flying all night in our wind shadow.  They go before daybreak.  I guess there is less wind and they don’t have to concentrate on navigation – the moon only comes up now just before dawn.  They entertain the watch keeper as you get flashes of light just like a distant boat as the fly through the light from the masthead tricolour.

Today should be the day for crossing the equator.  Already at 0 degrees and somany minutes at the moment.  The Oban Times is to hand – we have missed lots of other good opportunities hopefully we’ll get this one

Position: 0.238,-87.458 at 07:00 local, 13:00 BST
24hr run: 110 miles by GPS, 117 miles through water.
ETA Galapagos at 5 knots: 15:09 local 24th May
Wind: South Esat 18 knots Sea: lumpy with SW swell 1.5m

Tags: At Sea · Pacific Leg