One-third of the route

Tomorrow we will have covered about 1/3 of the distance from Puerto Vallarta to Hiva Oa. As we hypothesized in the last post, the new weather forecasts have led to a significant update of the route, which had to take into account unexpected wind holes and extremely light winds. After only one day of sailing, we were also forced to stop for several hours drifting, not wanting to use the engine to save diesel, which will be precious for crossing the area of the doldrums. We continued for the next two to three days alternating various sails, mainsail/yankee, gennaker, and pole sail.

Sailing under gennaker

Only since yesterday evening have we entered the area of favorable winds that allow us to follow a direct route towards what currently seems to be the most favorable point to begin crossing the ITCZ. The ITCZ (InterTropical Convergence Zone) is the area where the northeast winds blowing above the equator converge with the southeast winds blowing below the equator. This zone can be very wide, even hundreds of miles, but typically narrows down in this season while still varying significantly from day to day. The navigation strategy is therefore to cross it on a north-south axis to minimize the route within it, where winds can be calm or very variable and heavy precipitation (squalls) frequent.

During these days of sailing, our boat has attracted the attention of numerous boobies soaring above us. One of them landed during the night on the solar panels, literally covering them with guano. Showing a brave and determined character, it only left the comfortable position after numerous attempts to get rid of it. After a few moments, despite the anti-bird setup we had prepared, it moved to the bow pulpit, where it stayed for several days.

In the end, we resigned ourselves, also because it kept other boobies away, which were also trying to land. The visit of the stowaway passenger cost an unplanned session to clean the solar panels, whose energy production had dropped to a minimum.

The big jump
Today is Sunday

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