Monday morning – almost half way there

Good morning –

Last night was an interesting encounter (first visually due to the bright lights, and later on AIS to get the data) with the 43 meter fishing vessel Fuyanyu 92. Somewhat unusual to see bright lights on the horizon here mid-ocean, started to look like a boat of some kind – a cruise ship?

Turned out it was a 43 meter fishing vessel Fu Yuan Yu, and they went by about 6 miles off on their way north while we passed by headed soutwest. I tried hailing them on the VHF, and they did not respond. The only possible issue would have been if they were long lining, but at 7 knots of boat speed it was unlikely they were laying out a longline across Beetle’s bow.

Most of the evening was spent on deck in the cockpit, that’s the prime time to read as it’s nicely cool and you’re not cooking in the sun, tons of stars were out (at least for the first half of the night, later on the sky clouded over a bit), shooting stars shot across the sky, and it’s really nice. I’m reading a Jet Propulsion Laboratory history of the Voyager 1 & 2 interplanetary probes, and lots of talk about the amazing imagery that came back from those two spacecraft.

The morning brought in stronger trades, up to 20 knots steady now, and the sea state is building with it. It’s always hobbledy bobbledy when the wind direction changes and the sea state becomes a jumbled mess and Beetle hops up and down and side to side as we bounce off the different wave trains. Makes life on board interesting, as the boat lurches in different directions and you learn to not try and stand anywhere without bracing yourself into something solid. Walking forward to the head becomes more of a jungle gym exercise as you work forward from the vertical ladder bar to the vertical grab bars port and starboard at the nav station and galley, then it’s another step forward to reach the overhead teak grab rails, then you can reach the mast and lean against it, then step through the main bulkhead, lean against the work bench, turn to right and wait for the boat to go momentarily level so you can step through the small bulkhead and into the head. At least the toilet is facing fore & aft, so when seated you’re wedged in at the shoulder and can’t fall off when the boat rolls. Boats with the toilet set facing inboard (a common enough tactic to squeeze more things into less space) really aren’t set up for offshore use. When the boat rolls heavily and the toilet rises up behind you, it can be tough to not get flung forward towards centerline.

ComNav are looking into the 1500 autopilot parameter loss, apparently all sorts of things can happen – essentially anything that would place voltage across various parts of the unit can cause the non-volatile memory to become volatile and drop whatever was saved. Good thing I had those numbers written down! I’ve also examined the backup hydraulic pump, and turns out there is a small amount of stroke displacement adjustment built into how the small black cube hydraulic pump attaches to the actual motor. As my spare is setup at maximum displacement, I bet the installed pump is set up the same way. Something to try out is to back off the two set-screws and rotate the pumpset over to the least displacement setting and see if that makes the motor run more smoothly. Hmm… things to experiment with when conditions calm down!

Tonight Beetle will be Net Control for the Pacific Puddle Jump net, I’ve got a pretty good radio but I’m not in the middle of the fleet and I don’t hear a lot of the boats very well. There are a couple of good radio installations out here, Coastal Drifter has one, and I fear Phil on Coastal Drifter is going to be doing a lot of relays for me tonight! So much for Phil trying to share the radio net wealth.

Jack is asleep at the moment, I have the watch, we’re scooting along in nice trades, super bright blue sky, lots of white caps out to the horizon, a couple of 8-10′ swell trains coming through, and the sea state is beginning to stabilize as the old wind waves die out and the new wind waves continue.

Should be a super day!

current position 09 deg 58’N x 126 deg 08’W, making 6.8 knots at 237T.

Kristen has asked if I could add distances run, distance to go, etc. I’ll have to work on that as my written information is based on the 0200 UTC net, not on the log postings. Right now we’re 1363 miles from La Cruz, 276 miles from the current approximate turning point of 08N x 130W, and the entire trip is roughly 3,000 miles. So closing in on the half-way point!

– rob

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