Log: The Wire

Ode to the Weatherfax

Our excellent progress continues unabridged so far, and we’re definitely feeling like the North Pacific is being kind to us. As the helming is rotated through the team, unbroken attention given to the wheel day and night, we are fairly flying across the slightly curved course, consistent winds speeding us towards the distant Hawaii shores. Our progress is such that we are breaking the 200nm day barrier, which we haven’t had the pleasure to do on Disco since the days of the Atlantic crossing, which can feel like a long time ago at times.

Being at the lower end of the crew numbers spectrum makes for more workload, especially on the helming side, and I don’t doubt that in heavier or more varied weather that called for extensive sail changes and deck work we would feel suitably ‘stretched’. However, the flip side of this is that the living space we now enjoy is just perfect. There’s no climbing through a mass of bodies all trying to simultaneously get into their boots, the galley for the first time ever at sea doesn’t resemble a perpetual student house culinary experience, and it’s altogether just very spacious. Cooking food for 5 people is world apart from cooking for 8, and perhaps this being the reason I’ve decided to take a more proactive approach to the galley. That, and the intruding boredom of nothing breaking and no sail changes required mean I’ve got to do something keep sane without drama on tap.

The nav station is happily awash with Hawaii cruising guides, coastal pilots, and a shiny new logbook. The entire boat is overflowing with the black and white images the Weatherfax machine has been churning out at the most peculiar times of day, with synoptic charts, wave heights predictions, wind forecasts, and satellite imagery everywhere. The Weatherfax system is brilliant, with forecast imagery available for free anywhere. The Engineer and I were contemplating earlier how wonderful it was that a relatively vintage bit of technology was still in such prevalent and valuable use, with mental images of a highly specialised network of wizened old forecasters tucked away in basements around the world, running an otherwise forgotten system of ancient technology. I’m sure the truth is very different, and it’s probably really hi-tech, up until the point that I print it out of the fax machine on the boat.

Previously we have had the detailed and insightful analysis and advice of WRI, but due to being fairly restricted on sat comms this time around we have reverted back to the old-school methods of keeping tabs on the bigger weather picture. However, we know that WRI are keeping a casual eye on us, so should anything come up we can be afforded the full weight of their expertise, which is very reassuring to have in the background, and much appreciated.

As I write this, the sun has just set, gradually later every day as we continue into the west. Below decks is aglow from the red ‘night lights’ that keep the boat with just the right amount of light to move around without being a disturbance. Up top Cali is driving us, with the glimmer of the compass light keeping him steady on course (and his delicate touch of the helm, of course), while the tricolour shines out nearly 100ft above us, keeping the windex visible as it flits through the wind in the bright white of the stern sector.

Disco is very much feeling like a ‘proper boat’ with ‘proper boat life’ being lived right now, all on her well content and at home. Smooth 24/7 running of boat, sailing and people is just wonderful when it all comes together.

Date: 19th May 2017
Time: 0326z
Position: 27°47.1N 129° 05.4W
COG: 250°T
SOG: 8kts
Wind: N 4
Swell: NE 3-5ft
Sky: 6/8 cumulus
Weather: Fair

With the support of our partner Weather Routing Inc. 

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