Day 594 [May 19/10] -- Hitching a fast ride on the Equatorial current

Today's Report
May 19/10 0800 JST / 1700 local

01°01'N, 101°56'W (North Pacific Ocean) 

Saito-san was in especially good spirits today as he described the strength of the favorable current he is riding, and reported having successfully repaired the worst of the two seam separations in the mainsail.

"It's really great," he said, chortling at speeds rarely seen on Nicole BMW Shuten-dohji III, with her wide beam, full keel, and 25-ton all-steel construction.

The current he is now in is part of the westward gyre of the Equatorial flow, seen on ClearPoint as a solid band of velocity arrows pointed due west. The band is about 250 nm wide and relatively consistent at 1.8 to as much as 2.5 kts. And even when winds moderate, he's seeing a SOG (Speed Over Ground) of 7 kts. Assisted by the current he judges to be 2 kts at his morning call, he had made 113 nm during the period.

[At 1100 JST he called to say that the winds had piped up to 14 kts from the SSE and that boat speed had climbed to 8.5 kts -- a number he's never before reached on her under sails alone.]

He said he was able to repair the worst of the sail damage during the day. This was an area somewhat lower on the sail, and he was able to more easily access it with the vessel still under way. The stitched seam area, he said, was a bit over a meter in length. He figures that when he reaches the Doldrums in about 4 or 5 days he'll have plenty of opportunity to deal with the second, smaller area of seam damage which is higher up the sail.

Distance in last 24 hours: 113 nm
Total distance completed: 20,832 nm
To Yokohama: 7,368 nm (distance remaining: 26.3%)
Heading: 275
Reported boat speed: 8.5 kts
Average boat speed: 4.7 kts
Weather: Clear
Temperature: 25.0° C
Barometer: 1006 hPa (slightly up)
Wind (from): 10-14 kts, ESE expected to be 8-14 kts SSE for next 19 hours
Waves: 1.0 -1.5 meters
Current (from): E at 1.8 - 2.3 kt (favorable)
Engine: 1.5 hrs, 1200 rpm
Generator: 7.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 90%, staysail 0%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map