Mexico to French Polynesia – Part One Days 1 – 6

This blog is composed of some of the emails we sent and/or received during our recent 2,700 mile journey from Mexico to French Polynesia

Part One – Days 1- 6

Duet Departs email to friends and family

Duet is departing San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, this morning, Thursday March 16th. The journey to Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas, is about 2,700 miles, so we expect to arrive in about 18 days, around April 4-5. Our buddy boat, the Nordhavn 60 Daybreak, is leaving from about 250 miles south of here this weekend. We will be talking to them every day. We will be getting email all the time at this email address, so feel free to write anytime.

We may write from the journey, we may not. It depends on how it goes. We will let everyone know when we arrive, but don’t worry if it takes a little longer than expected. Remember, no news is good news 😉 We may, actually we probably will, experience technical problems. We are a long way from anywhere, so it may take us a little time to get things back up and running.

Best to everyone
Ron, Nancy and Sean

Ron writing to a friend, Day 1

We actually did not make it out until this morning (Friday). On Thursday morning, the day we were originally planning to leave, the starter on the engine malfunctioned (no– it was not the battery) and it took me all day to troubleshoot. It was a long, hot stressful and disappointing day. Finally got it working again, though I must say I don’t know for sure what caused the problem in the first place. Boats can be complex creatures.

The conditions at sea today are delightful. Light breezes and a fairly gently swell, both of which are coming from the side. The first day out is always a bit of a challenge. It takes awhile to get sea legs and have that vaguely queazy feeling go away. Nancy and I both take meds to help with this, and we hope to wean off them in a day or two. Sean is more resistant to seasickness, lucky guy — he does not need to take meds.

Right now we are crossing a shipping lane, where large cargo ships travel back and forth between North America and Central/South America. We pick them up on radar, so its easy to stay out of their way. There is actually a second shipping lane further offshore that’s used by ships coming to and from Panama Canal to Hawaii and Asia. We won’t cross that lane for 2 more days.

Weather Report, Day 3, from our weather router, OMNI Bob

To: Captain Goldberg – M/Y DUET From: O.M.N.I./USA ( 302-535-0143
1656UTC 19 MAR 2017

Captain, many thanks for your regular reports.

No big change in the pattern. Weak high pressure continues to the north/west which is helping to keep the winds on the light side. It is also producing the WNW swells in the area. The light winds are also allowing the longer/lower SSW-SW swells to encroach northward as well. Persistent SSW-SW & WNW swells should be expected the next 48-72hr or so.

As the high center to your north/west slowly merges with the next high pressure pattern building across the central/eastern Pacific, the winds should become more N-NE and tend to remain more NE-ly through the forecast period. Winds speeds will also increase to the 12-20kt range as the winds become more NE-ly. The WNW swells should become more dominant during late Tue/pm and Wed/22 that likely continue through Fri/24 before the swells have a chance to start easing Sat/25 and Sun/26. Any swells you encounter, even from a more W-WNW direction should remain long, 12-17sec. The increased winds from the NNE-NE should also knock down any secondary SSW-SW swell during Tue-Sat.

Along the Great Circle route from Cabo San Lucas to Nika Hiva, Marquesas, expect:
Wind: NNW to NNE 07-15kts.
Sea: 2-3ft
Swell: Mixed WNW and SSW 3-5ft, 12-17sec.

Wind: NNE-NE 10-18kts
Sea: 2-4ft
Swell: SSW 3-5ft, 12-17sec. Could mix with WNW swells 10-13sec

Wind: NE-ly 12-20kts.
Sea: 3-5ft
Swell: SSW 4-5ft, 12-16sec. Could mix with some WNW swells 10-13sec. Combined sea/swells could reach 6-7ft, but the highest swells should have longest periods.

Wind: NNE-NE 10-20kts, gusty at times.
Sea: 3-5ft
Swell: Mostly WNW 5-8ft, 11-15sec. Combined sea/swells could reach 9-10ft at times.

Wind: NNE-NE 14-21kt, gusty at times
Sea: 4-5ft
Swell: Mostly WNW 5-8ft with combined sea/swells of 9-10ft are possible. Periods remain 12-17sec.

Wind: NNE-NE 15-21kt, gusty at times
Sea: 3-5ft
Swell: Mostly WNW 5-8ft, 12-17sec. Combined sea/swells of 9-10ft are still possible.

Updating on Tue/21 unless otherwise advised. Please continue to advise your daily position/weather/speed while enroute.

B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

Email to friends and family, Day 3

Position 19, 19′ N, 112 25′ W
Speed 6.7 knots at 1300RPM

Hello everyone

It’s 0530 (PST) on Sunday March 19th. Nancy is on watch, Sean and Ron are asleep. The weather is about as perfect as it gets, the wind is blowing 9 knots off our starboard quarter, the waves are less than 3 feet, off our starboard beam. Duet is running well, we’ve burned just over 100 gallons of fuel and covered about 250 miles, with about 2,400 left to go. We are currently traveling through the Revillagigedo Islands, about 260 miles SW of Cabo San Lucas. We will clear the islands late tomorrow night and turn more to the west. At that point we will be on our final trajectory for the Marquesas.

As some of you know, we departed San Jose Del Cabo a day later than planned. We had some minor mechanical issues, and, by the time Ron and Sean got them sorted out, it was late in the day. We decided to declare a reboot, and left early Friday morning.

Ron and Nancy are still acclimatizing to the motion, although they are much better now than at the beginning. It usually takes them about 3 days to get stabilized. Sean doesn’t get sick, so he’s fine.

Our buddy boat, Daybreak, departed last night (Saturday) around 17:00 PST. We are on converging courses, and will be traveling within a few hundred miles of one another. They may, or may not, arrive a day earlier than we do.

The food is holding out, Sean has 2,700 songs on his phone and the dolphins have come to visit several times, so we don’t lack for entertainment. We are getting into the rhythm of a passage.

Best to everyone
Ron, Nancy and Sean
Duet, N50#15

Ron reporting to our weather router Day 5 (Ron reports to him every day)

At 04:00 UTC we are at 14 24’N / 116 53’W. For the last 14 hours our speed has averaged 5.8 knots, slower than our average since departure (6.1). Possibly an eddy as you suggested, or the effects of ‘washing machine’ on our speed. COG 215M.

Wind is 13 apparent, 156 degrees to starboard of bow. It is dark so not possible to assess wave, but through most of day they have been 6-7. The feeling of being in a washing machine is dissipating as you suggested might occur with a more consistent WNW swell.

Barometer is 1015.2

Ron writing a friend, Day 6

As the title says. Latitude 13N, Longitude 118 W. The Pacific Ocean is one big place. And there is not a lot out here. Besides water.

We are 875 statute miles (around 730 nautical miles) southwest from Cabo San Lucas. The boat and crew are running well. Weather has been good though the seas were a little rough yesterday and are expected to get bigger late today into tomorrow. Our weather router has forecast 10 foot rollers coming from the northeast and sweeping under us towards the south west.

Our crewman and friend Sean Kearns has worked out marvelously. We knew we meshed well after his few days in La Paz (he visited in February when we returned from Reno), but he has exceeded our expectations in terms of capabilities and buoyant spirit. Don’t discount the importance of that last quality– at sea, negativism can spread like a noxious virus, especially amongst a small crew.

This is the longest time Nancy or I have been at sea, and certainly the furthest from land. I am amazed at how long it has taken to adapt to life out here. Some people do it fast, like Sean, who was feeling fit as a fiddle within 36 hours. Today is the first day I can attest to feeling almost normal, but I am still taking some seasickness meds. Same for Nancy. Usually we adapt faster, but i don’t think we’ve ever been exposed to such big open ocean conditions for such a long period of time. In contrast, Sean has considerably less cruising experience than we do, but probably has experienced more rough ocean conditions than we have since he fishes recreationally off the infamous Columbia River Bar. That can be one nasty area.

What do we do all day? It is actually surprising how quickly the days melt by. We each take two 4 hour watches per day. I do the 8-12’s, Sean the 12-4’s, and Nancy the 4-8’s. The rest of the time we are catching up on sleep, eating, listening to music, reading, or just sitting around bullshitting. My job description has the added responsibility of mechanical maintenance. I have a few challenges to deal with, nothing insurmountable or dangerous. Sean has his own 34 foot power boat on the Columbia River and he is quite mechanically adept. So, while I have not asked him to get his hands dirty, it is nice knowing that I have some backup if the fit really hits the shan.

I still have to pinch occasionally, to convince myself that this long planned for adventure is truly happening. I can hardly wait to smell the Marquesas once we get closer. Nancy loaded a recent biography of Captain Cook on my Kindle before we left (Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before). In the context of our journey, it is making for a great read.

Dinner on Duet email to friends and family, Day 6

Hello everyone

All is well here on the good ship Duet. It’s dinner time, or almost dinner time ;). We eat early, around 6PM, so Nancy and Sean can get some sleep before their night watches. Our watch schedule is the same each day. Sean is on from noon to 4PM, followed by Nancy from 4PM to 8PM. Ron comes on at 8PM and Sean takes over at midnight. Nancy then relieves Sean at 4AM. Ron sleeps the night through from midnight to 8AM, so he is well rested in case of problems. Ron watches things in the morning, while Nancy and Sean sleep in after their disturbed nights. Our days are like the movie Groundhog Day, we go through the same schedule, the same activities, etc., every day. The food changes though, so we have some variety!

We’ve had some bumpy weather, with some wind and seas. The boat handles it fine, and we are gradually moving away from it as we head south. It is expected to continue to be windy through Saturday. We’ve also been traveling pretty slowly, as you can see from our track. We are averaging around 6 knots, delivering about 2.4NMPG, which is adding to our fuel reserve, as we only need 1.9NMPG to arrive. We won’t speed up this early in the trip, in case we need to push against current somewhere further down the line.

We are just under 2,000 miles from Nuka Hiva, and about 600 miles from land. Our buddy boat, Daybreak, is about 250 miles south east of us. They are traveling faster than we are (they have more fuel) so they will gradually pass us and probably arrive a day or two before we do. They’ve had a disaster aboard, their dishwasher has quit! We’ve had some minor mechanical problems with one stabilizer fin, but Ron and Sean have beaten it into submission, with some help from the technical guys in San Diego, so it’s doing OK now. Other than that, all is running as it should.

The water is getting warmer, it’s 78 degrees. The air is getting warmer too, we’ve got all our fans running and the doors open. It’s good practice for when we reach the equator! Everyone is pretty acclimatized to the motion, although Ron and Nancy are still fully medicated. We will start to reduce our dosages once the weather gets a little better.

Best to everyone
Ron, Nancy and Sean
Crossing the Eastern Pacific Ocean
14 40N 116 33W

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