Monday, July 11, 2011

Soon Baby Soon

2011 07 10

39 29N
034 40W

About 160 nautical miles to go. Wind has fallen to 3 knots true off the stern. Do we motor? The desire to get there is offset by the cost of fuel in the EU outpost of the Azorean islands. At somewhat over $2 a litre we choose to maintain discipline. We are cheap.

Last night we passed a sailboat. We had a good chat for good reason.

Departing St. Thomas on May 25 our companions had run afoul of the same light winds as did we. However they suffered rather more. When we spoke with them:

they had decided last minute to leave and rushed the process. In the confusion he left his wallet and 2,000 Euros in St. Thomas at the marina desk.

  • they left their cruising chute on a friend's boat discovering this lack several days underway
  • they were near out of diesel
  • their transmission had welded itself in forward gear and would not release

So here they were running with no electrics, no fridge, no running lights, flicking their radar on once an hour for 2 minutes, never turning on their radio, having no weather information. This had been their circumstance for days and days.

We offered assistance: diesel of which we had a surplus by now, water which they did not need, loan of our generator to use until they made Horta. All the obvious things. The sailors, a husband and wife team, were British and fiercely independent. Politely they declined our every overture.

When we get to Horta we hope these two are still there effecting repairs. In this way we can get the rest of the story. And we can celebrate the wife's birthday which is on the twelfth but which can be celebrated whenever and wherever there is a decent bar.

Several friends have expressed concern over our being stuck in the "Doldrums".

Like them I always figured the Doldrums were a nonspecific term referring to lack of wind, lethargy, dead Albatross and "water, water everywhere but ne'er a drop to drink" sort of thing.

Not only was wrong but I suffered the ignomy of correction by the Budget Committee who did know.

The Horse Latitudes is a geographic band around the planet earth bounded roughly by 25 degrees North on the South End and 35 degrees North on the North end. This is roughly where Meredith suffered the loss of wind for lo those many days. (I always like it when I Can use the phrase 'lo those many days').

The Doldrums are strictly equatorial (who knew? not me for sure). They are not a band rather they are a moving phenomenon following the sun between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn with a lag of about six weeks. If you look you will see they are now called the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Which is sort of like describing people with retarded mental development as developmentally handicapped. (not only do the retarded people know what you mean you insult them by saying they are too retarded to get it. Like spelling "walk" around your dog.)

You would think it did not matter given the complaint with each is lack of wind but the meteorology is quite different: Doldrums have no wind, frequent violent, often thunder, storms, unsettled skies, cloud and poor visibility. The Horse Latitudes have clear sky, excellent visibility, virtually no cloud and light winds.

Like now for instance when the wind blows a steady 3 knots.

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