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  • A Call to AntarcticaOn March 10, 2009 at 13:43:19 French time, Skipper Rich Wilson and Great American III crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne. Race time: 121 days, 41 minutes and 19 seconds
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Day 79 - Steering by Compass

  • Jan
    27

    2127 UTC, 53/09S  60/32W, 10 knots @ 055T, solent and 2 reefs in main, heading east of Falklands. Weather for tonight suggested it would be dead upwind to go West, which I preferred, simply to get north faster, but that going east won't really lose anything because of weather pattern of both sides in next day or so, so here we go. Will likely get a big lee tonight which could be frustrating. About an hour ago, we were buzzed by a fighter plane, likely Royal Air Force from Falklands. Now THAT is speed!

    Blue sky, moderate seas, many albatross early on, now fewer. Barograph at 1011 and rising. I was struck by how cold it was last night, with the same northwest wind as we had in the Pacific on the approach to Cape Horn. But there, the wind was coming from the warmer mid-latitudes of the Pacific. Here the wind is coming down from the Andes Mountains--so same wind, but vastly different temperature.

    I have contemplated wiring together the two wind wands at the top of the mast. One has wind speed, but no direction, the other, I thought, had direction but no wind speed. By cross-wiring the data feeds, I thought we might get both. Had expert consultants from shore in on the scheme. Before tackling, though, I decided to check to make sure we actually had wind angle on the secondary, and, it turns out, we don’t. So the whole plan is off, and I won’t be cross-wiring anything! It means that I have to continue to look at windex at top of mast to get angle of apparent wind, and I cannot have the pilot steer by anything except compass.

    I have a spare wand, but I don't know if the problem is the cable, so if I tried to get all the way to the top of the mast, and install a new wand, it might not make any difference for that risk. I’ve contemplated stopping in the lee of the Falklands, but frankly I doubt it for tonight/tomorrow. We've been without a wand since last East Pacific Ice Gate, and it definitely makes the sailing harder, slower, and less efficient. It is also harder to sleep. But we've made it this far, so maybe we just have to sail the rest of the way without the wand.

    Had a couple of random-length naps today, and that was good. Have some serious computer glitches that are only solved by frequent rebooting. How did we ever get a worm virus into the computer via the satellite system?! I hope that I don't have to go to the backup laptop. Anyway, proceeding...