Nambiia to St. Helena……Day 6
May 30th, written the morning of May 31st, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere…for about 5 more hours!!!) Time: GMT!
Miss Piggy’s new light air trick:
Yesterday started off with light winds which finally picked up to 14 knots. This allowed us to sail again, but not more than about a 6.2 knot average.
The problem was not so much our speed, as our course. The angle of the wind (to keep it strong enough) has to be moved forward on the beam (by moving the boat of course) to get enough apparent wind speed to get going. This angle required we sail almost due west. St. Helena is NW! So later in the day, I tried an experiment which I’d been threatening to do for awhile. I put the big reacher on the same side as the main sail starboard (or right in our case), and the genoa on the spinnaker pole to the port (or left side) of the boat. This allowed us to maintain as good or BETTER speed and sail 15 and sometimes 20 degrees closer to our course! We looked like a Gull Wing going down wind with a mainsail up!
We sailed this way all night in light airs and calming seas and were able to stay within 5 degrees of our desired heading and maintain about a 6.5 knot average speed.
While trying to get some sleep yesterday, I was listening to a block (pulley) making noise on deck. I went to get some lubricant to spray in it and when I went into the port hull, I noticed a potential disaster. Our refrigerator was not working! The digital system gave an error code of “0” and I went to the manual to find out what it was. The answer was a bad temperature probe or loose connection of the probe. I checked, it wasn’t loose. When we first set up the system, it had a manual thermostat and I told the tech to leave it in “just in case”. Well…8 years later, “just in case” showed up. I removed the digital and replaced it with the manual T-Stat probe and we were back in the refrigerator business! Yeah! This early in the trip. This would have been a bit calamitous. We are using the T-Stat control inside the box and it’s working just fine. Nikki said that I was literally – “Thinking outside the box”….:-))) By the way, the block doesn’t squeak anymore…..
This morning started out with a bang! A squall line popped up off our port quarter with the first rain we’ve seen. Winds jumped up to 30 knots, so I had to wake Nikki a bit early and we took down the big reacher. We’re still working our way through the squall lines as I write. The winds shifted to the SW which was NOT expected. We’re waiting for our next weather GRIB when I send this and it should show us a persistent shift to the East Southeast over the next 12-18 hours. Welcome to Mom Nature. Funny how she doesn’t always agree with our interpretations of her behavior.
Also of note, the autopilot compass seemed to go wonky during the squall. I changed on the fly to the backup and we seem to be again, just fine. Our boat icon on the Chartplotter (big fancy GPS system) started to spin in all sorts of directions. I haven’t figured that one out, but it doesn’t really matter. A bit like the fridge. If it works…go with it.
So I promised today’s lesson would be the PRIME MERIDIAN. Here goes.
For those of you who don’t know. Latitude lines are all PARALEL to the equator which is itself a line of latitude; specifically zero degrees latitude.
BUT, the line running north and south are NOT parallel lines and were arbitrarily picked to start at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England. Nikki and I took a photo there with our feet in each hemisphere; east and west.
Lines of Longitude run north and south and cut the earth like an orange being sliced top to bottom. This lines are NOT PARALLEL and get closer to each other constantly as they go north and south of the equator until them meet at the poles. So in a funny way, if you were at the north or south pole, you could walk in a circle around it and say you’d “been around the world”. These lines of longitude are referred to as “meridians of longitude” and one is the PRIME MERIDIAN. As I said, arbitrarily picked. It had to start somewhere.
Longitude: Why Greenwich? The Brits ruled the known universe at the time and they said so. The French tried to make it Paris, but alas, the Brits got their way in the end. As a bone to the French, instead of now calling it Greenwich Mean Time. It is called UTC or “Universale Time Coordinae. Forgive my French non spelling on a US keyboard! We just call it coordinated universal time. In other words it’s where time begins. But not really. It’s actually the mid point between both the time of day and an arbitrary coordinate system so we know where we are. Time really begins on the other side of the world in Fiji/Tonga. As the new day starts there, England is exactly 12 hours later.
We all know about the time difference between the USA and Europe and the world basis not only TIME, but the delineation of the Eastern vs. Western Hemispheres.
England is in both hemispheres. Alexandra lived WEST of Greenwich and Nikki lived EAST of Greenwich.
When we left Los Angeles, we were in the northern hemisphere and western longitudes. Once at the Galapagos, we were in the southern hemisphere and western longitudes. When we reached Fiji (the opposite side of the world to Greenwich, England. We changed to the Eastern Hemisphere where we’ve been ever since.
HOWEVER, in less than 5 hours, we’ll cross back into the Western Hemisphere as we will be DUE SOUTH of Greenwich, England.
Ironically, the place where it’s zero degrees latitude and zero degrees longitude is in the South Atlantic Ocean in the “arm pit of Africa”. The arm pit is the slang term for the big giant bight off Africa’s west coast. That spot will very shortly be 1180 and eighty miles due north of us in about 5 hours.
Later in this sail, we will cross the equator off Brazil and be back in the Northern Hemisphere as well….but not just yet; we’ve a few miles to go for that one.
So, if I’ve totally confused you good. Go to Google and look it up. Feel free to ask any questions for as you know…..There will be a test in the morning!…:-)
It’s official, another not very fast but mostly very comfortable day – 150 nm. Wow, you’d think we were a “monomaran”…:-)
KIT, position report will be posted shortly,
Scott and Multi Hemispheric Sailor Nikki
19 deg 43 minutes South
000 deg 26 minutes East