10/03/2016 – Frustration!

The winds held until late morning then started to drop, as our speed decreased we also seemed to get less help from the current. Our stunning progress of the previous few days appeared to be going nowhere fast. When John downloaded the WCC position reports at 1700 we found that the two boats we had made most progress on had suddenly found good current and leapt ahead. In fact, only one boat in the fleet had a slower VMG than us. For those who don’t know what I mean, here is a quick explanation. Velocity Made Good is the speed the boat is closing with its destination, calculated by taking its speed over the ground (SOG) and course over the ground (COG) and measuring the distance of that point from the destination. The more off course we are, the lower the VMG. The fastest point of sail might give you a SOG of 9 knots but if you are sailing 45o off course only 70% of the distance travelled reduces the Distance to Waypoint. It’s all to do with Pythagoras. It’s no good moaning, the winds and currents are there to challenge or tease sailors. If you want to go in a dead straight line as quickly as possible you need a motor boat or an aeroplane but even these can be moved off course by currents of either water or air! Mid-afternoon was so boring I baked a Banana Bread then continued sorting out my embroidery threads while John caught up on some much needed sleep. The VHF sprung to life with a general call to the World ARC fleet from Makena. VHF has a nominal range of line of sight but this is extended by the height of the aerials. Makena is a 62 foot catamaran with a very tall mast, ours is a lower mast but it still means that we can communicate with other boats at up to about 20 miles away. I had a chat with Luc and about 45 minutes later I saw them on the horizon, or at least I saw the tops of their sails. The AIS told me they were 7 miles away and making 10 knots, we were only making about 5! They eventually overhauled us about 3 miles away then disappeared over the horizon. During the evening the wind filled in a little and our boat speed increased. We are sailing a course very close to our rhumb line to the waypoint so just about all our SOG converts to VMG. The day’s run was a good but not spectacular 167 nM and our distance to go to Grenada at midnight was about 546 nM so a Sunday arrival is still possible. More tomorrow. Joyce

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