Getting more into the deep downwind sailing

JollyDogs is into day 5 of what will likely be a 21+ day passage from the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico to Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia. We began using the standard main and jib sail plan, then when conditions were favorable we doused the jib and the big screeched showed its face. Those sail combos worked great reaching and up to about 135 degrees apparent wind, but we're entering the phase of the passage where we're going to be working a lot of deep downwind conditions. We've got a couple of tricks up our sleeve for that - in heavier conditions as well as at night, we'll fly our Simbo rig, a pair of head sails hanked on to the double slot furler, but during daylight hours in anything from 9 - 24 knots true wind we'll be flying the Parasailor.

It's awesome, and it's pulling us toward the equator right now, just like one of our Jack Russell's taking us for a walk. Easy to deploy and retrieve, and pretty darn low maintenance while flying, it's just another way to reduce workload for a short handed crew. The autopilot is loafing, the solar panels are much more exposed to Mr. Sun, and we're enjoying the sleigh ride.


Over four days in now!

And we're just passing the last of the Mexican Socorro island chain, Isla Clarion. The seas are about as flat as a pancake, and we're back to motoring along at around 5.8 kts SOG. The highlight of the day might be our "big left turn" at our next weather routing waypoint, coming up in about 4 miles. Of course we are trolling lures hoping to eat fresh yellow fin tuna or something equally delectable for dinner, but Isabel always has a backup plan and so far that has really paid off. Neither Thad nor I can equal her cheffy prowess, so we're relegated to washing up or doing other menial tasks around the boat while she continually boosts crew morale.

Yesterday afternoon we were treated to the company of a small pod of very large dolphins. They did the bow wave thing for a bit, then buggered off but before they got too far several complete back flips were demonstrated. Never seen that in the wild - thought it was just a trick taught at Seaworld, or if you're old enough that old Flipper TV show.

Our course is keeing us in reasonably favorable current for the most part, and we're pleased with our progress. The wind should fill in by tomorrow morning and we'll rig for deep downwind sailing. We've got a Parasailor (thank you again, Thad and Kristin) in our arsenal, and we're also going to rig up a Simbo twin headsail setup using our new jib supplemented by our tired old original jib, both pulled out on barber haulers. With any luck it'll all work a charm, and we'll have a daytime and nighttime sail plan that keeps us scooting along.

Isabel, what's for lunch?

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner - second email

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May'st hear the merry din.'

He holds him with his skinny hand,
'There was a ship,' quoth he.
'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—'
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white Moon-shine.'

'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—
Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.

Test post by email

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