We had to go by engine a bit longer than we hoped for last night, the wind did not pick up before the light got back. We got 27 hours by engine and together with our first run we have now totally 46 hours. We still have more than half of the fuel left, meaning we should be able to go 2 ½ more days, 300-350 more miles (if needed). Right now, we have fantastic sailing, A5 (asymmetric) and full main, 12-16 knots of breeze and pointing straight at San Francisco (following the great circle – shortest route will be more accurate). Distance to Golden Gate is now 1175 miles.
Yesterday we had an impressive visitor, an Albatross. Our host for the Transpac race in Long Beach have a lot of knowledge about this animal through her engagement at the aquarium there. We hope it is OK to share that information and looks forward to seeing you at Shoreline when we are passing there in a couple of months again Jane!
The adult plumage of most of the albatrosses is usually some variation of dark upper-wing and back with white undersides.The wingspans of the largest great albatrosses are the largest of any bird, exceeding 340 cm although the other species’ wingspans are considerably smaller at no more than 1.75 m. The wings are stiff and cambered, with thickened streamlined leading edges. Albatrosses travel huge distances with two techniques used by many long-winged seabirds: dynamic soaring and slope soaring. Dynamic soaring involves repeatedly rising into wind and descending downwind, thus gaining energy from the vertical wind gradient. The only effort expended is in the turns at the top and bottom of every such loop. This maneuver allows the bird to cover almost a thousand kilometres a day without flapping its wings. Slope soaring uses the rising air on the windward side of large waves. Albatross have high glide ratios, around 22:1 to 23:1, meaning that for every metre they drop, they can travel forward 22 metres. They are aided in soaring by a shoulder-lock, a sheet of tendon that locks the wing when fully extended, allowing the wing to be kept outstretched without any muscle expenditure, a morphological adaptation they share with the giant petrels. Albatrosses range over huge areas of ocean and regularly circle the globe.Their adaptation to gliding flight makes them dependent on wind and waves, however, as their long wings are ill-suited to powered flight and most species lack the muscles and energy to undertake sustained flapping flight. Albatrosses in calm seas are forced to rest on the ocean’s surface until the wind picks up again. The North Pacific albatrosses can use a flight style known as flap-gliding, where the bird progresses by bursts of flapping followed by gliding. When taking off, albatrosses need to take a run up to allow enough air to move under the wing to provide lift.
Life is good on board and at daytime it is still shorts temperature. We have been digging out the thin wool clothing for the first time since some time in the Atlantic for the night sailing. Taco Lunch and freeze dried something for dinner today.