I’ve noticed that island regions influence wind strengths, often beginning at several hundreds of miles away

Blog Post 27 by Jon Sanders: Wind, Eggs and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Wind

I’ve noticed that island regions influence wind strengths, often beginning at several hundreds of miles away; generally, the effect is less wind, either up-wind or down-wind. Vision Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion islands and in the South Pacific: Tuamotus, Tahiti and Society islands. On the other hand, the Trades in the Caribbean (the Islands I visited or pass on route) are more reliable.

As I tend to sail with a shorter rig, it might look a wee bit strange departing Tahiti with my mainsail reefed and not much wind. Sure as eggs, as the distance gets longer the wind becomes greater. It’s lots easier tying the reef (neat as) when at the dock than it is at 2am.

Each day the swell gets bigger from the south, south-southwest and the southwest.

Something is down there!

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Taina Marina and the Oyster World Rally

Blog Post 26 by Jon Sanders: Taina Marina and the Oyster World Rally

The Hon. Ian Campbell, former Australian Senator and Federal Minister, has an Oyster 68 ft single mast yacht. It is said, and one believes, more material (not to forget, etc., etc.) goes into these UK built stock production cruising yachts to stand the ocean rigours. The Swan yachts in Finland appears to have a similar reputation, as they emphasise the ocean racing ability in their design. Perhaps their designers do not consult mother enough. All that aside, I am a Swan fan. Anyway, I am parked at Taina Marina, and

at the upgraded downtown Marina de Papeete there are lots of Oysters, though not the sort you eat

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A lot of years back France resumed underground nuclear testing at Mururoa, southeast of Tahiti

Blog Post 25 by Jon Sanders: Tahiti

Now Tahiti.

A lot of years back France resumed underground nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll (south-east of Tahiti) approximately 450 to 500 N Miles south-southeast of the track I took thru the northern portion of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

At the time of nucler testing, the amicable Polynesians rioted. The headline in the West Australian Newspaper (home) read “Something in Paradise” (I think “Chaos in Paradise”). It worked, France brought the testing to finish sooner.

So, here I am in Paradise

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Sails. Something I have not mentioned much is the things stuck up in the air

Blog Post 24 by Jon Sanders: Sails

Sails.

Something I have not mentioned much is the things stuck up in the air. No, it’s not the mast or the stainless steel Super Wind (turbine) support down the back (oops sorry) ‘aft’. The Rolly Tasker Sails built in Thailand.

I know Sven Cornelius CEO of Rolly Tasker Sails reads this. Poor bloke.

“Hey, Sven” (Kerry Tasker proprietor and much more). If you would like to write this into your Newsletter, I would be delighted.

When I was a wee lad, or at least decades younger, Kerry likewise; she was then the receptionist and Sailing Secretary Royal Perth Yacht Club (and me a member). Rolly Tasker AM would build my sails.

Later Kerry married Rolly. (Lucky man).

Rolly Tasker has built my sails since I was a teenager. First in Perth Western Australia and now Phuket Thailand.

A long time ago, Xmas 1984, my S&S34 was at the Cruising Club of Australia, Sydney, preparing for the Sydney Hobart Race.

I, at the bar, as one does, a beer or three with some crew of the more remarkable – at the time I reckoned they just ‘sat on rails’ – they acted more important and knowledgeable. The reality is they could shin a mast or climb out on a set spinnaker pole in 30 knots of wind (and much more). I could not.

Anyway, they were ribbing Rolly as competitors do. I remember saying to them.

“How many State titles have you won?”

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When Magellan entered the Pacific from the strait that bears his name it was pleasingly calm.

Blog Post 23 by Jon Sanders: Pacifico

When Ferdinand Magellan entered the Pacific from the strait that bears his name it was pleasingly calm. He named the Pacific. ‘Pacific’ (Pacifico). Anything but, it cannot be. – Except for today, yesterday and probably tomorrow.

Anything but, it cannot be.

Except for today, yesterday and probably tomorrow.

Frustrating. No, not at all.

A quiet gentle wind 7/8 knots, sometimes 9/10.

Paul Stratfold has routed me into the west-going current.

Yesterday I was making 3. 3 1/2 kts. Same wind today 4 to 4 1/2 kts, at times 5 to 6. Nearly all blue sky, a gentle sea. Broad reach. Cool to warm (extension of Peru current), the yacht has an 8-degree heel to starboard. That’s the right-hand side of the boat. (I mean yacht).

Days later (writing later), much the same as above with a little more wind and helpful current.

I am starved for any news of the world

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Grandma and Grandpa (and me) sailing conditions.

Blog Post 22 by Jon Sanders: I have cleared Galapagos

I have cleared Galapagos with Grandma and Grandpa (and me) sailing conditions.

My passage cleared to the north of the Galápagos Archipelago. Sailing on an obtuse angle, it was 3 days before I crossed the equator. (Nothing happened).

All the folks in the Old Testament, all the folks in the New Testament, all the folks in the Flat Earth Society they never knew there was an equator. The former were never told, and the latter don’t want to know about it.

If the likes of Galileo had told them there is one, they would probably have thought it would be the bleeding tipping edge of Earth itself. It isn’t. I know. I crossed the equator and never fell off the planet. I am still here! Pity some might say.

I crossed the equator and never fell off the planet

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Panama is in The Doldrums – weather wise that is.

Blog Post 21 by Jon Sanders: I am on my way to Tahiti

I am on my way to Tahiti

Panama is in The Doldrums – weather wise that is.

Seems to be going well otherwise. (As long as you don’t stroll into the wrong localities).

On departure there was no wind, none at all. Flat calm. Calm as calm.

Lots of flotsam and jetsam in the water (to bang into).

My engine is a Yanmar 4JH4AE – does that make sense?  Nup, me neither.

In other words, 50hp (at 3000 RPM). When asked I usually say 40hp. More reliable. More than adequate.  Installed 2008 (9 years back) by Neil Rock. (Hi Neil).

Now June 2017 it has chalked up 5460 hrs. It has never missed a beat. Starts instantly and never stops. Excepts when one pushes the stop button, of course.

I have had an air leak in the new in-line fuel filter; I couldn’t fix it. Took it off. Connected fuel line to each other and rely only on the fuel filter attached to the engine. Yanmar has two sizes fuel filter that fit. I use the large size.

All my refuelling is done by jerry cans (‘Jerry jugs’ BJ Caldwell calls them), I can then see if there is any dirt. (Never refuel from the fueling barge at Benoa Marina Bali. That nonsense has been going on for years).

I stick to service per manual, i.e.: Oil change and new oil filter every 250hrs, clean exhaust mixing elbow every 250hrs, go in neutral from slow to flat out 5 times in succession before turning the engine off, etc., etc. per manual.

The Panama Canal is an engine reliability canal, trust me.

Panama City, towns, roads, rivers, and canal are all built inside a rain forest – some debris ends up in the Gulf of Panama. Every several years Perie Banou II and Jon Sanders likewise. With the Yanma churning at 1500 RPM, I do 6 knots in a flat sea. Change course a little here, a little there to avoid city-made litter, or a sodden tree trunk, or foliage monkeys once climbed.

Into the night. I can’t see nothing! On and on…

What did I bang into?

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I was due to depart [for the Canal] Monday. Well, I didn’t, I went Tuesday

Blog Post 20 by Jon Sanders: Navigating The Panama Canal

As you are probably aware, I was due to depart, on Perie Banou 2, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon – Atlantic end of the canal – Monday 22nd May 2017.  Well, I didn’t, I went Tuesday.

Why? I don’t know. You get that. It was the same with two other yachts. All three yachts did the transit Tuesday.

The other yachts were a French-owned Lagoon 50 (ft) catamaran and a New Zealand owned Royal New Zealand Yacht Club 44.5 Beneteau. RNZYC is on North Island.

Paul Stratfold and his partner of eight years, Shiralee Fitzgerald, flew in from St Maarten Caribbean to manage and do the transit with me.

In Paul’s baggage were two oil filters and two fuel filters for Perie Banou’s 50hp Yanmar engine.

Paul did not declare them. Bad boy. (He is a good bloke – but then again I ain’t a Panamanian)

He got arrested! True

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Colon - Panama Canal

I am still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon, but not for long

Blog Post 19 by Jon Sanders: Panama Canal, but not for long.

I am still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon, the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal, but not for long.

PB2 tyre fenders – ready for the locks

Shelter Bay is the natural meeting place of lots cruising yachts. Their tall masts and rows and rows of furling headsails. Mostly American and European. They are a friendly bunch.

They wait, they wait and wait for their slot to transit Panama.

There is plenty of space to pass through. It is the limited number of advisors (obligatory on board), i.e.: pilots, that holds things up. In fact, it is obligatory to have a minimum of six on board.

The Skipper, called Captain in Panama; the Advisor (Pilot); and four Linesmen, to pay out and haul in the four dedicated long ropes provided by the linesmen or agent. The Linesmen can be your own crew, and it’s probably a good idea to have one or two professional Linesmen.

The locks are intended for ships. The big ships. The water comes in and out quickly with turbulence.

Rick, my Linesman – did I write “my”, more likely Paul’s Linesman – advised me

our transit is on next Monday, 22nd May ‘17

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Colon Panama

PERIE BANOU is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina, Colon

Blog Post 18 by Jon Sanders: Shelter Bay Marina, Colon

The city of Colon Panama is on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.

Colon remains, as with previous years, a dangerous city. But it is much cleaner and getting safer.

PERIE BANOU is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina, Colon. Good Marina, with services, some modest.

Balboa is the port for Panama City on the Pacific Ocean. The other end of the Canal.

If one looked at a map or chart of all of the Americas, (north, middle and south), and one wanted to cross the Atlantic to the Pacific one would be going east to west.

Did I get that right?

So, to go thru the Panama Canal, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, one would go west to east.

Did I get that right?

Yes. Correct!

How come?

The canal actually runs north to south, with Colon on the Atlantic side “west” of Balboa on the Pacific. Thought you needed to know that.

This will be my 7th transit of the Panama Canal

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