The Tropical Twostep

When a sailboat is running before the wind, with the wind from behind, it is a very different feel than when sailing upwind. The wind across the deck is lighter, and it is warmer because the boat’s speed is subtracted from the wind you feel. It always feels like you are going slower than you actually are.

The motion of the boat is also very different. When you get close to going nearly straight downwind most boats have a tendency to roll from side to side. This is caused by a complicated interaction of the aerodynamics of the sails, and the waves coming up from behind. It can vary greatly depending on the exact size of the waves, the wind angle and wind speed, and the boat speed.

The Fetchin’ Ketch does this some. Less than most boats, more than others. Here is what it is like at its worst…

Stand in the middle of the room. Hold your arms straight out to your sides, horizontally from your shoulders, fingers pointing at the horizon. Now raise each hand 12 inches and hold it there. From your waist, tip your body down to the left until your left fingers again point at the horizon. Pause. Now repeat to the right. That’s it. Left… 1, 2, 3. Right… 1, 2, 3. Now continue while you go about all your daily chores. Oops.. Big wave! Going WAY to the left this time, and hold it….. Hold it… Ok now Right… 1, 2, 3. You get the idea!

This morning the wind was light, the boat slow, and we spend a couple of hours doing the Tropical Twostep. Since then the wind and boat speed have increased, and things are a lot more stable

We had a little bit of a slow day today, only 119 miles. 1655 miles to Honolulu. Right now I’ll forecast an arrival in Honolulu on November 17. With good winds, maybe a day sooner.

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1 Response to The Tropical Twostep

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice progress!
    On our Atlantic crossing last year …. lots of those wavy days, responsible for many bruises. Good times nevertheless!



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