AO-Xing Days 5 & 6: Finally Trade Winds

There we go with the trade winds. True wind speeds are above 20 knows at times. Sails are full and Yuana rushes down the winds and down the waves. Our 24-hour average traveling speed is now around or above 6 knots, as it is supposed to be. The sea is relatively flat and comfortable. Somewhat unexpectedly, we can even do our school program for the kids.

The boats which went for the Southern route make a fantastic progress these days. One catamaran even did more than 200 nautical miles within 24 hours. By its design and dimensions, Yuana cannot be that fast. We would have to reef the sails in the those winds and the sea state would certainly be not be better for us there. So we are still more than happy with the route we have chosen and glad that we passed some other boats in our vicinity.

Some who study our track might wonder why we zic-zac towards Barbados at times, whereas other ships go as the crow flies? With the sails available the boat makes best speed with a wind angle of 120-150 degrees. Heading straight downwind (which would be 180 degrees) makes the boat slower. The zic-zac however makes the route longer. So the trick is to understand how much extra speed the boat has to make so that the deviation still pays?

To find the trade-off between shorter distance and extra speed, we use the dimension ‘Velocity Made Good’ (VMG) on our displays. The VMG is the speed vector towards the destination. It decreases the farther we point away from the target waypoint, except if the boat speed increases more by doing the same. Yes, a bit complicated.

After a day without seeing any buddy boats, British ‘Krabat’ and Swedish ‘Rubicon’ appear on our screen. Our directions seem to cross. Finally we pass ‘Rubicon’ in a distance of just 0.2 nautical miles only, what a coincidence! Although if I like the idea of being alone very much, it is good to know that some buddies from the same Ralley around us. We chat for half an hour on the radio. One can find all kinds of topics to exchange. There are always news about well being, fixing things, weather or fishing. Fishing actually can be pretty expensive if the hooked fish would disappear with the expensive lures all the time.

Yes, we made the same experience: we are on one of the biggest fishing lakes in the world and run short of lures now, what a pity. So we started to create our own lures. It doesn’t require more that a hook, a couple of colorful woolen threads and a bit of fantasy to create own lures. We also found that the fish would bite better if some meat is attached to the hook.

Once we catch a fish of reasonable size, we bring it to deck and spray a little bit of alcohol into his gills. It is then quiet and can be ‚sent beyond’ and filleted quite easily. Joe tried the technique to fillet the fish without opening it and removing the intestines first. This goes much quicker and with less of a mess. By the way, the beautiful 75cm Wahoo we caught on day 6 gave a very nice lunch for all of us.

So here we are, doing well, feeling well, starting to discuss how we shall celebrate the next Half Way Party;-)! There is the big blue Atlantic Ocean all around us. We hear our own wake astern. Yuana gives us a safe and comfortable home.

Nautical miles during the crossing:
Day 6: 144nm
Day 5: 149nm

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