Day 604 [May 29/10] -- Fickle Doldrums return with a vengeance

Today's Report
May 29/10 0800 JST / 1600 local

09°32'N, 116°10'W (North Pacific Ocean) 

Although he made an impressive 89 nm during the period which saw winds reach 22 kts at times, by the morning call they had dropped away to almost nothing. Not only were they under 5 kts, the winds were all over the chart -- sometimes from the east, sometimes from the southwest, and all very frustrating.

"I reduced to a 2-point reef," Saito-san said of the mainsail, "when the winds got so strong and then started [changing direction]." He said NBSDIII was basically becalmed and had gone back to drifting under the weak afternoon (local time) winds from SSW. The bit of good news was that the current has increased slightly to 0.5 kt, and continues flowing in the right direction -- toward Hawaii 2,418 nm distant.

He said the sky was perfectly clear and beautiful, though yesterday's rain and overcast, with several hours of steady favorable winds, were much more preferred.  "I don't know what's happened -- at 009 degrees north, the Doldrums are supposed to be finished!"

Meanwhile, over in Australia where Jessica Watson is said to still be enjoying the accolades and attention befitting that nation's newest hero, a 73-year-old sailor has publicly announced his plan to challenge Saito-san's "oldest non-stop" record, according to the Straits Times. He hopes to best the current non-stop record by 3 years, finishing at age 74 (vs. Saito at 71).

When told of the news, Saito-san, now 76, laughed heartily and said, "Is that right? Well, gambatte!"  ["Go for it! Do your best!"] 

Distance in last 24 hours: 89 nm overground, 74 nm DMG
Total distance completed: 21,898 nm
To Yokohama: 6,302 nm (distance remaining: 22.5%)
To Hawaii WP: 2,418 nm
Heading: 328°
Reported boat speed: 2.0 kts
Average boat speed: 3.7 kts
Average daily DMG over last 7 days: 78 nm 
Weather: Overcast with occasional rain changing to clear skies
Temperature: 27.0° C
Barometer: 1007 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): 4 kts, SSW expected to be 8 kts ESE dropping to 3 kts SW over next 19 hrs
Waves: 1.5 - 2.0 m
Current (from): E at 0.5 kts
Engine: 0.0 hrs
Generator: 7.5 hrs
Sails: Genoa 80 or 90%, staysail 0%, mainsail 2-pt reef

Position Map

Day 603 [May 28/10] -- Almost out

Today's Report
May 28/10 0800 JST / 1600 local

08°23'N, 115°13'W (North Pacific Ocean) 

The sun was out, the winds started to freshen and go favorable, the current reversed to the right direction, but...

No, actually, there were "buts" this time. It looks like the Doldrums have mostly relented.

By this morning's call Saito-san was back in overcast rainy skies with the winds blowing mainly out of the NE for much of the last 18 hours, so it would appear -- though with no certainty -- that he has ghosted on light winds and (especially) a northward current up into the early reaches of the East Trades. 

Watching the Doldrums on ClearPoint has been like watching the slowly undulating body of a large pale jellyfish, as the oblong area has swelled, then receded, over the past three days. Each time the light-blue or white area that depicts light winds has grown, Saito-san's first words are "No good!" And when we plot his newest position, yes, he's right, definitely bad, like yesterday when he slipped backwards 5 miles. But today's "jellyfish" was much smaller with NBSDIII just on its upper edge. Even with a short wind reversal in late afternoon, he had made 45 nm north, and had moved 25 nm closer to Hawaii during the period.

You could hear the relief in his voice. And so far, no tortoises have died.

Distance in last 24 hours: 45 nm overground, 25 nm DMG
Total distance completed: 21,809 nm
To Yokohama: 6,391 nm (distance remaining: 22.9%)
To Hawaii WP: 2,492 nm
Heading: 275°
Reported boat speed: 2.5 kts
Average boat speed: 1.9 kts
Average daily DMG over last 7 days: 95 nm 
Weather: Overcast with occasional rain
Temperature: 24.0° C
Barometer: 1008 hPa (steady)
Wind (from): 6-8 kts, NNW expected to be 7 kts E rising to 10 kts SSE over next 18 hrs
Waves: 1.0 m
Current (from): E at 0.3 kts
Engine: 0.0 hrs
Generator: 9.0 hrs
Sails: Genoa 80 or 90%, staysail 0%, mainsail 1-pt reef

Position Map