24 hour run: 120 nautical miles
Distance to go: about 2400
Conditions: light wind, but we're moving
We've had really lovely conditions so far; light, but lovely. There's been enough wind to keep sailing most of the time, although the engine came on in the wee hours and ran into the morning today. We're keeping the RPMs down so we can make progress with efficient use of fuel. Our incentive is to arrive in the Marquesas with enough diesel that we are spared from refueling. It will be very expensive there- pushing $6/gallon.
Totem is, of course, a *sail*boat but we do want to make more forward progress than the breezes sometimes allow so we can get into the stronger, more consistent trade winds. Getting there can be challenging to the patience. At this point it doesn't look like those trades will start until around 120 W, which is still about 350 miles from where we are now and a total of 900 miles from our departure point in Mexico. As much as we are loathe to turn the key on the engine, it could take a very long time without the added push! For perspective, our average speed the last couple of days is the equivalent of about five and a half miles per hour.
The weather does change of course and we keep an eye on the location of the trades, the convergence zone at the equator, and other systems that may affect us. Forecast information is pulled from a variety of sources. Our primary references are the grib files we can download through our single sideband radio. We share information on radio nets, and learn about conditions ahead of us from other boats in the fleet reporting their localized weather. Keeping track of the weather is extremely important, but we try not to slip into over-obsessing about it as well. It would be easy to spend hours looking at predictions and come out no farther ahead!
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