April 5

As I expected, at 6am the wind is 7-10 from the NW and our speed is down to 4-5k over ground. Sunrise is not until 7:0am, but we should have some light before then.

By 8am the wind had died to 7k and we were ghosting along at 3.5k for a while, then we motored for a bit then sailed again for an hour till about 10am when the wind died completely. At 10:30am we are now motor sailing SSW on a heading of 200M making good 190m over ground. Having past (well to the South) of Socorro Island we have changed our course to meet the Northern edge of the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) which we have heard is reported to be at about 3 degrees North in the area we intend to cross.

At 11:30am we rolled up the genoa and hoisted the spinnaker and are now making good about 5k over ground in about 7k True wind! A great achievement for a boat like the Shannon 50. If the pattern that held the last two days repeats, we should experience building wind early in the afternoon.

The spinnaker didn't last long and by noon in was struck and the engine started again. We can run under power for two hours a day and easily maintain adequate fuel reserves till Nuka Hiva (where fuel is reportedly available). At 2pm no appreciable wind has struck up (less then 5k) and we continue to motor.

At 3pm the spinnaker went back up - this time it stayed up! We were cruising at 6k in only 8k wind and at 10k wind we are doing 7.3k now at 5:30pm (23:30UT). Gusts up to 12k are occurring frequently during which we boost our speeds to 8.5k. I suppose when it hits about 15-17k we'll have to take her down, but then we can make 8k with the genoa anyway.

By the time I was ready to cook dinner the wind had increased a bit so we took it down to avoid having to do so at a less convenient moment. We cooked and ate dinner with just the main and mizzen pushing us along at 5.5k about 120 degrees off the wind blowing at about 12k and when dinner was finished we rolled out the genoa, fine tuned our course and are now making 8k over ground in about 15k wind on a heading of approximately 210M. I expect these conditions to prevail through the night and the winds to moderate towards dawn as yesterday.