Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 4

May 28, 2002

The seas are lumpy and confused as we continue on our course towards Acapulco. NORDHAVN doesn’t care; it’s her crew who long for even a few hours of smooth seas.

The predominate wind which ranges between 10-20 knots has clocked around to port. From time to time, it is interrupted by a squall bringing torrential rains. Thankfully the staterooms are air conditioned, but the rest of the boat is at 101% humidity. There is a film of condensed wetness on the salon table.

I continue to be amazed by the durability and stamina of this boat. NORDHAVN has been “rode hard and put away wet” for certainly the last two weeks that I have been aboard but also for the weeks and months that have passed since leaving Dana Point last November. There is not a single thing wrong with this boat at the moment and I can already foresee a quick turn around in Acapulco where we will refuel, change oil, provision and hand crew #5 the keys.

We are learning many things from the ATW project and much more will come from reflection after the voyage is finished. What I have learned is that the boat (assuming that it is a good boat) is no longer the issue. The modern boat far exceeds the physical and mental strengths of those who operate it.

The #1 issue for me is the heat and humidity. It is ever present, insidious and debilitating. Except for time spent in the stateroom, I have been hot since the moment I stepped off the plane in Barbados. My friend Marty Wilson (owner of N6216- KARMA) scoffs at my complaints and says that in time, one adapts. Fine Marty; adapt away… I want air conditioning!

We are fishing now (courtesy of Kevin’s skills and ambition). So far we have hooked up 4 fish (1 sailfish, 2 marlin and 1 Dorado) and all have danced, fought and ultimately we lost them. The Dorado was the heartbreaker because we would have released the others anyway. The big bull Dorado was at least 30 pounds and Mike only made matters worse when he went into a detailed description of how he would have cooked it with garlic, onions and other secret ingredients. It would have been delicious.

Within the next 2 days, we will need to make a decision about how we are going to treat the Gulf of Tehauntepec. From time to time, a violent offshore wind called a Tehauntepecker (no laughing please) will blow across the waist of Central America and into the Gulf of T. The wind can reach speeds of 80 knots or more and therefore can be dangerous. Since it is an offshore wind, the defense is to run very close to shore (some say within 200 yards) for the 200-mile distance where the risk occurs so that the fetch is minimal and the seas can’t build up. Since it is a “gradient” wind caused by conditions in the Gulf of Mexico and as far away as Texas, it is somewhat predictable.

Jim Leishman will study the weather information and get further advice from Walt Hack as to whether we should hug the coast or cut straight across. If we cut straight across and get caught offshore by a Tpecker… (I could make several play-on-words here that would not be suitable for the Nordhavn web site.) Let's just say, it wouldn't be good.

 

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