Day 10: I’m on the other side

17 Oct

Finally crossed the 1000 nautical miles to go milestone. That's right, I've been to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, saw it, and now I'm on my way back (to Hawaii since it's the closest). If anyone wonders what the middle looks like: Overcast.

Looking at my grib files (thanks to Iridium satellites, my Mac and some software called Predict Wind Offshore), I've now got a 1000 nautical miles of mostly downwind sailing. Mostly dead down wind in fact. Bella Marina don't do downwind… Unless…. The Pole!!! Yes, people, by popular demand (mostly by me, the captain) the pole is back. I was worried I wouldn't need it again, but now it's a very important piece to get me to Hawaii as quick as possible.

Did I mention I fitted the pole just two days before I left? The pole is a hand-me down from another cruiser who forgot they had it when they sold their boat. Thank you Mark and Christine! Then I picked up a new end for it in Seattle on a long drive up there the weekend before leaving (doesn't seem so long now in comparison) and even got some hardware for it from West Marine (what? An all time first, although I did need to delicately tweak it to fit, using a hammer).

Anyway, my long rambling about just getting the pole was to point out that I never got to try it out. Good thing it worked, and today I got to build some skills using it. In the past, I've got plenty of experience using a spinnaker pole with spinnakers (and a crew to help you), but now it's more of a whisker pole being used with my jib. Works quite well, especially since it allows Bella Marina to spread her wings and go wing-on-wing! Yeah, baby! For those who don't know, wing-on-wing is when the main sail is pushed out one way and the head sail (jib in my case) is pushed out the other way. The pole is used to push the jib out. Without the pole, the jib would just collapse and flap around. Like a broken wing.

So, now I've got some practice and pretty god options for going down wind on most angles. Dead down, does create a lot of roll (boat moves violently side to side), but that's currently my tack going straight for Hawaii and after 10 days at sea I'm starting to look forward to wrapping this trip up. Still got about a week left, though, and downwind travel requires more wind. So, while I prefer no more than 15 knots upwind, I prefer at least 15 knots downwind. Still, no one needs more than 25 knots. Not my size boat, anyways. Grib files says I'm in luck.

To celebrate, not the pole, the 1000 nautical mile mark, I had a ginger beer and some coconut cookies, while watching Captain Ron on my iPad. Second time I watch a movie. Not sure if I'm bored or it's a sign I finally have time for some R&R instead of worrying about the next storm or when my fuel will run dry. My best guess to the fuel question is Waikiki Beach. I'll just drift it in from there.

Captain Petter on S/V Bella Marina