May 14

Everything is lining up perfectly weather-wise. All systems are GO for a Saturday AM (local Queensland time) departure, possibly Friday afternoon. There is a low forming just off the coast now which promises to bring heavy rain tomorrow and perhaps Friday. All of the computer models are showing it heading Southeast at a fast pace (fast as in app. 300nm per day). It just depends when it begins to move away from the coast. 

After that, in the wake of the low will be those rare and elusive Westerly winds we have been dreaming of. Of course, they won't be very strong winds, less then 15k, perhaps even 10k but at least we won't be bashing upwind in 20-25k of trades! The forecasts out to 6 days show a continuing trend of calm winds as a high is predicted to form in the hole left by the departing low. Of course, 6 days out tests the limits of the computer models abilities and such things must be taken lightly or with some salt. But if we get only 3 days relief from the trades (Easterlies) we will be in position to turn Northwards and keep the wind at or behind the beam (i.e. From the side or aft of the side as opposed to from the front which is bad). 

We have plenty of help analyzing the weather. New friends Gene and Robbie on "Noason" (formerly from Alaska) whom we first met (and mentioned in these pages) in Vanuatu last September, are old hands at the Queensland to New Cal path. Gene concurs with my assessment and wishes he could go with us. They are in the process of selling their boat, their home for the last 5 years, the only home their daughter, Allison, has ever known.

We can almost taste the baguettes and croissants au chocolate. We are both brushing up on our French. I have been practicing reading French weather reports and am getting pretty good at it. I have some translation software to help me when I run into a new word. I doubt I will actually learn to speak French this way, but if I am ever caught at a French Meteorological symposium or convention I will be able to hold my own.