Friday, November 08, 2013

Day 2 South Pacific Convergence Zone

IDENT: kf7tdy & wdf2150 (LightSpeed)
TIME: 2013/11/08 18:03 UTC
LATITUDE: 10-58.31S
LONGITUDE: 177-04.79E
SPEED: 6.1
Wind: 085T @ 8kts

We're underway from Rotuma, Fiji to Tarawa, Kiribati a 900nm sail crossing the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). The SPCZ is an area of low pressure where warm moist equatorial air collides with cooler drier air of high pressure systems passing to the south. It's a grab bag of chaos characterized by light winds punctuated with intense rain and fearsome squalls.

Between December and April the SPCZ hatches budding cyclones that can grow into monsters as they track to the south.

Weather models struggle to make sense of the ever changing chaos and GRIB files for the area are notorious for their inaccuracy. Fancy routing software and onboard data downloads offer insight, but mostly it's a take what you get voyage.

When we decided to initiate the customs/immigration check out procedure in Rotuma a few days ago it looked like we'd have a nice weather window as soon as we reached 8S or about 270nm north of Rotuma. Now a few days later we're underway and we may be stuck with light SPCZ winds until 4S for 530nm. It's going to be a slower passage than expected, but so far the seas have been pleasantly small and we've made good use of the light winds.

Overnight the wind dropped to 4-5 ESE with clear skies and we motored NNE for about 6 hours and considered a stop at one of the smallest countries on earth, Funafuti, Tuvalu 200 nm to the NE.

This morning we have super flat seas and 8 knots of wind pushing us along at 6 knots. This makes us happy, so we're once again fully committed to continuing on to Tarawa, Kiribati.

That's it for now.

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