The Pacific Parking Lot

July 15, 2006
Latitude 24deg 19min, Longitude 150deg 43min
Course 210deg magnetic, Speed 5 knots
VALIS doesn’t have a “park” gear, but for most of today it felt like it. Yesterday’s winds continued through the night, and gradually lightened after sunrise. They finally dropped to less that five knots, with no discrenable direction. We spent most of the day slatting back and forth, only making acouple of knots or less towards Hawaii. There were intervals of promising winds, but as soon as we put up the spinnaker to take advantage of them they disappeared, leaving the huge lightweight sail hanging limply and threatening to tangle in the rigging as the swells caused us to rock and roll. The day was an exercise in sail change. From what we could tell in the radio net, others in our general area were experiencing the same frustrating conditions.
We now have decent 10 knot winds from the northwest, and we are moving much more nicely.
We are now running the engine (in neutral) to charge VALIS’ batteries. We have been using the electronic/hydraulic autopilot a lot, and it consumes a lot of power. We have had a lot of cloud cover on this trip, and this cuts down on our solar panel output (although today was pretty sunny). Bottom line, we need to run the engine two to three hours a day to keep the batteries charged. Fortunatey, we have enough fuel so that this is not a problem. Unfortunately, it is noisy and smelly.
Danile is preparing dinner now; tuna curry over rice. Paul and Ville have the early and late watches tonight, and Daniel and Andrew have the middle one.
See the attached Google Earth file for today’s track.
The crew of VALIS


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