Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded the boat (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016 Sockdolager found new owners, and we are now enjoying Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. Plans are to head north. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)



Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Non-Taxing Night

Pacific Crossing, Day 34: Winds of 5 knots have us moving at 1.5 to 2.5 knots, but the seas are calming and life aboard is easy. We made 52 miles yesterday. But if it's frustratingly slow progress, last night made up for it. Although lightning flashes were visible in the far distance astern, no squalls reached us. Picture the classic South Pacific tropical night--a gentle warm wind, a sky like thrown diamonds, a yellow crescent moon that tried to outshine the stars but couldn't, and us, barefoot, in shorts and t-shirts gazing up at all those stars. The Milky Way is clearly visible, and some old friends like Orion and the Big Dipper are also still visible. But there is a whole new order in the night sky, with new constellations to learn as we voyage toward, and through, the constellation of islands and reefs that make up Oceania. On a night like that, you talk in hushed tones, if at all.

This morning the sun was a blast furnace in the very light wind, but the memory of last night kept us cool. The sun is so strong down here that if you're sitting in shade and a ray of sun falls across, say, your foot, it feels like a heat lamp. We rig shade awnings and curtains every day.

Another interesting thing that surprises us is how slow we sail in winds that up in the colder north would have us moving right smartly along. I had read of the difference between warm and cold wind and their effect on sails; it boils down to the fact that warm air is lighter and has less "push" on the sails at similar speeds to cold air, which is denser. If we hadn't sailed in Canada and then down here for comparison, we would have remained skeptical that it could be this noticeable, but it really is. So now we sail with the drifter in a breeze that might, in colder climes, overpower it. Or with a breeze like today, that should move us faster but doesn't.

Kristen and Patrick aboard Silhouette, a Cabo Rico 38 enroute to the Galapagos, sent us an article by a cruising boat on lessening the growth of goose barnacles on the hull. They grow amazingly fast and heavily on the hull above the waterline, on the topsides, and down to the turn of the bilge, plus on the sides of the rudder uppermost to the sun. They also attach to shadier areas in lesser numbers. It's shocking to see how fast those little buggers grow. If you put a long dockline in the water at the bow and drag it alongside the hull for half an hour a day on each side, it knocks off the larvae trying to attach, plus some of the growth that's taken hold. And it works pretty well. We'll have some hull cleaning to do when we're at anchor, but this trick will make the job easier. If we didn't do this, Sockdolager would arrive with quite a beard.

Talking to Don and Deb aboard Buena Vista and John aboard Arctic Tern today on the ham radio, we learned that they're not moving any faster than we are. There isn't any wind over 5 knots for hundreds of miles. Deb's baking bread, something I want to do but won't until later, so as to conserve the dwindling propane in our bottle--no sense using it up and having to change bottles at sea. We still have a mold-free loaf of Mexican "Bimbo" bread, which has the texture and taste of Wonder bread (none) but is at least immortal.

We're starting to see more birds now. About 400 miles out we saw some frigatebirds, and yesterday, in the 350 mile range, a few blue-footed boobies. For several days there have been two beautiful species of shearwater that I can't identify, along with (I think) a South Polar Skua and some ternlike birds I also can't identify. Going to need another bird book! I'll write a post on the wildlife soon.

Sent via Ham radio

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