Jan 22 2016 - Clouds

Matt gave a timely lesson on cloud formation and wind. We watched the principles in action today as we passed through a region of variable loud cover. Rainy tall clouds with a high flat bottom brought lots of wind. On the wrong side of a cloud and there was no wind. And everything in between.

We approached the ITCZ ("doldrums") through the night, for most of the ride we had about 12 knots of boat speed, pretty much always in the right direction, so good overall "velocity made good", or VMG. That's the speed the boat makes towards its intended destination despite variances in the track the boat may take to get there. The "schedule" report put us as the fastest boat with regard to VMG and we have made good gains on he boats ahead. I was pleased we were sailing under spinnaker and main sails since that meant the boat was relatively flat during my "mother watch". Spent the day making sure the sailors were well fed and watered. The homemade beef stew was well received. Watermelon for desert - my favourite. I wonder how long the fresh ingredients will last. We've eaten well on the boat so far without having to rely too much on canned beans etc. Hot!!!! I couldn't sleep at all last night, even though I was relieved of duty for the 6pm-10pm shift because of mother duties. I sat on deck in the evening for awhile soaking up the beautiful surroundings and listened to music through headphones. A deeply relaxing experience. Back on duty 2am. The nigh full moon shone like a spotlight on our port side, it's rippling beam riveted to our vessel's track through the water. On our starboard side, rain clouds - we liked that because it meant more wind in otherwise fairly light wind prevailing conditions. As it happened, mostly we skirted the edges, harnessing lovely wind to propel us through the fairly calm seas. Minor sail adjustments kept us attentive. The temperature was very comfortable. Then, the already unspeakably beautiful scene was joined by a "moonbow" - a rainbow caused by moonlight. It actually had bands of colour. And at times, it was a full arc. Apparently this is a rare thing to see. I'm so lucky!