Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Swimming across the equator

April 18, 2012
Noon boat time
Position at 2000 April 18, 2012 UTC: 00°00'N 127°29'W

Swimming across the Equator

Day 15: Mexico to Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
We all swam across the equator today at noon. Filmed the event with our GoPro camera as I dove off the bow when we crossed the line. Everyone else jumped in as well so only our kitty Shell was at the helm. After a good frolic we each gave the waterline a scrub to rid the boat of growing gooseneck barnacles. Then it was shower time with shampoo, conditioners and razors to bring us back to a more civilized state.
Back on board we couldn't seem to locate Shell in any of her normal hiding places after several extensive searches of the boat. Then we finally found her burrowed inside the main sail. Good thing we didn't hoist the sail right away as who knows where she would have unfurled.
With a little ceremony we toasted our crossing of the equator with a bottle of cold Champagne. The first full glass of bubbly going to Poseidon and then the real glass Champagne flutes clinked together for a toast with the freshly minted 'Shellbacks'. Back underway we are again sailing with regular sail and enjoying 15 knots of wind out of the East on a course of 200T and a boat speed of seven something knots. We'll continue on a course a little more South than West to the Marquesas to keep our apparent wind speeds up and the boat moving. I have little doubt that the SE trade winds will come soon enough and I'd like to be positioned to have the true wind abaft the beam for a broad reach to the Marquesas. As such this was part of our strategy of crossing the equator near 127W so we'd have the wind more behind us to avoid an uncomfortable beam sea, the most loathsome point of sail for a catamaran.
Ok, this is strange. The last time I crossed the equator was exactly 6 years ago to the day. It was April 18, 2006 with Julie and Karl aboard my old monohull s/v La Vie. On that passage from Puerto Vallarta to the Marquesas we crossed the equator at 131 33W at 0030.