Given our goal to cross this area of squalls and flat calms as quickly as possible to reach the southern trades, a several-hundred-mile-wide ITCZ* is not our friend. We're approaching the edge of it now (at least where it is currently) and we're still 600 miles north of the equator.
And speaking of now, we are movin' and not groovin' in steep 8- to 9-foot swells coming from two directions. For the past 16 hours, sustained winds have been blowing in the low 20s from our aft quarter. We're headed SSW at 6 knots under a fully-reefed main. We're alternately getting pounded on the side and rolling deeply from gunnel to gunnel (and if you've seen our high freeboard, this is unusual for us) and surfing down following seas. We aren't very comfortable. The only thing that would be worse is entering the ITCZ, losing these northern trades, and being left to wallow in these seas with no wind to fill our sails.
Otherwise, all is good aboard. Eleanor continues to impress with her attention to dish duty, despite the motion. Frances, who normally exhibits a bit of mal de mer, has remained her perky, hungry self, seemingly cured. Del Viento is still holding up well. Recent casualties include the cockpit-mounted inclinometer (smashed by a line wrapped erroneously around the mainsheet traveler car) and two fender whips (which I had to cut after they got tangled up in the water generator tow line).
* inter-tropical convergence zone--a varying area near the equator where the prevailing winds of the northern and southern hemispheres converge, producing unsettled weather
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1 hour ago