Distance sailed today: 110 NM
Total distance sailed: 647 NM
Midnight GPS position: N 23.57 W027.59
Wind: NE Wind Force 4-5
Sea state: Slight
Generator hours: 40 mins
Whether you like it or not, weather is a big deciding factor which way you go in the Atlantic. Today the Atlantic trade winds really started to kick in, giving us a steady five to seven knots of speed.
The weather can however go pear shaped out here. This is offically the Atlantic hurricane season, and this year there have already been four named storms, all originating from around the area that we are sailing in. To be caught unawares of the development of a big storm is courting death.
That’s where a certain bit of 40 year-old marine technology comes in. The weather fax.
This great piece of kit receives a fax signal sent over a VHF radio band. At present we can pick up weather faxes from England very clearly, and ones from New Orleans and Boston in the US when the conditions are right. As we move closer to the US, we should begin to pick up the US faxes more clearly.
The VHF radio has a sound lead that goes from the radio into the microphone port on the laptop computer. The weather fax software then detects the sound from the microphone and decodes the signal into a weather map image. These weather map images are then saved onto the computer for futre reference. It takes about 10 minutes for a full weather map to be downloaded.
The image above is a rather rough image from the New Orleans station. It shows possible tropical cyclone formation areas. Thankfully none of these are anywhere near us at present, and all storms will be heading away from us towards the west.
The weather map below is from Northwood, England, that covers the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a small tropical wave about 200 miles west of us, towards the bottom center of the map. We will need to keep our eyes on that one.
Ah yes, how can I forget, today I made my first loaf of bread on the boat. 500g worth of flour – made two big loaves in the gas oven on board.