Day 554 [April 9/10] -- Change of plans

Today's Report
April 9/10 0800 JST

13°13'S, 80°00'W (South Pacific Ocean, 1,638 nm from Valdivia)

Yesterday was his slowest day since leaving Valdivia as he found himself sans mainsail for several hours as he attempted to re-insert the No. 3 batten. He said the batten had been working its way out as a result of too frequent jibes caused by downwind sailing. For the 24-hour period he eked out 86 nm, compared to 160 nm 11 days ago.

So, despite having announced yesterday his intention to sail more directly north to the Equator, he's now decided to set a more westward course as can be seen at bottom. 

This will angle the boat against the SE and SSE wind for a broad reach, thus reduce or completely eliminate the need to jibe. A broad reach is a faster point of sail than running dead downwind, so there should be an improvement in DMG. As well, this will allow him to ride the stronger winds we are seeing on ClearPoint a few degrees below the intertropical convergence zone. In that equatorial zone, winds tend to be confused and weak as can be seen in the image.

Another benefit: This route should also be cooler as well. Today the temps were in the 22-23.5° C range (71.5-75° F). In his all-steel yacht, he will start to feel every added degree as he continues toward the mid-spring/early summer of the Northern Hemisphere.

ClearPoint Wind Image [Click to enlarge]:
In this image showing today's winds, the cross indicates the Equator. Below it, winds are moderately strong at 14-17 kts blowing mostly westward. In the convergence zone above the Equator, the winds are directionless, at 2 kts or less. 

Yesterday he awoke at sunrise to find no fewer than 15 flying fish on board, joined by 2 squid. Of the flying fish, he said only 5 were large enough for the boat's table. We asked if he turned them into sushi, but he said that with these fish there is a parasite hazard, so he broils or fries them to be on the safe side.

There are 64 species of flying fish, which can erupt from the water at speeds up to 70 kph to escape predators. In the case of these luckless fish, they shot right to the top of the Japanese food chain!

Distance in last 24 hours: 86 nm
Distance completed: 19,113 nm
To Yokohama: 9,157 nm (distance remaining: 32.4%)
Heading: 300
Reported boat speed: 4.5 kt (day's average: 3.6 kt)
Weather: Overcast 
Temperature: 23.5° C
Barometer: 1007 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): Favorable 10-14 kt SSE -- expected to stay 13 - 14 kt mostly out of SE & SSE
Waves: 1.0 -1.5 m
Current (from): 0.1 kt ENE
Engine rpms: 3 hrs
Generator: 7.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 0%, staysail 100%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map (click to enlarge)