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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Underway for Panama

Position
11°25' N
081°36' W

Time 0000 UTC or 6PM local.

About 125 nautical miles off Costa Rica heading just West of Colon, Panama 141°T @ 155nm. Wind direction is not living up to our hopes so we are fighting for all the 'Easting' we can get. At the moment the best course we are willing to sail is 145°T. Porvenir, Panama the administrative center of the San Blas archipelago lies at 125°T @ 190nm and Cartagena, Columbia lies at an impossible 99°T @ 360nm. Winds are out of the East at about 15 knots. We are now about 55 nautical miles into our voyage and although we've tweeted the course up from an initial heading of 160°T to 145°T there is no way we can lay a course to Cartagena at this point so that's off the table. Now we are just hoping to lay something East of Colon, Panama, hopefully Porvenir.

The sun just set and it looks like we are in for a nice sail overnight with settled weather. Before it get's real dark we'll take in a reef on the mainsail. Most of the day we've been sailing between 8 and 9.5 knots so the small penalty for reducing sail is no big deal vs the benefit of having reduced main sail if we get hit by a squall in the night.

As we approach the Panama, Canal shipping traffic should increase and in addition to keeping a sharp lookout 24 hours a day we'll enjoy the extra info provided by our AIS. Our Class B AIS continuously sends information about our position, course and speed to other ships and receives the same info from them. You can now see ships on your AIS receiver before you can see them visually. Unfortunately, not all ships are fitted with transceivers. But, the really big ones are so that's something.

We had only one bite on the fishing line today and since it's getting dark have reeled in the line until first light tomorrow.

Just hit 10.2 knots so it's time to get off the computer and reduce sail. I love the pilot house it's so cool to see everything that is going on and still be able to type an email.

A reef is in and we are now at a more reasonable speed of 8.80-9.20 knots with the wind forecast to moderate overnight we can shake a reef out in the morning.

Our more formal watch schedule begins at 6PM local. Kathy is in bed having a rest. Looks like tonight's schedule will be:

Dave 6-9PM
Kathy 9-midnight
Dave Midnight to 3AM
Kathy 3AM to 6AM
Dave 6AM to 9AM

During the day the schedule is relaxed and we just take nap breaks as we need them.

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