Will There Be Wind??

Will there be wind?

As I write this it is mid afternoon on Wednesday and we are sailing along at nearly 8kts on a broad reach.  Yes, sailing

I am particularly impressed as we spent much of the morning trying to figure out, really figure out, just how far we can motor and exactly how much fuel the three built in tanks hold as the wind was impossibly light and expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

The “brochure” for the boat says that we carry 150, or 50 gallons in each of our three tanks, but when you are talking about a design where only three boats were built, it’s hard to say exactly what’s what about anything.   In the past I have described working on Pandora as a sort of “scavenger hunt” to find out what wire does what and exactly how to fix anything.

After considering the weather predictions of no wind for much of the trip I felt compelled to check, once again, my assumptions for how many hours we could motor.

We had to begin motoring again as of about 02:00 today and after listening to the motor drone on and on for hours and speaking with folks on other boats, I found my anxiety about running out of fuel to be on the rise.

So, George and I decided, actually I decided, that we’d take measurements of the three tanks and try to calculate the volume in cubic inches, feet and ultimately gallons.  Of course, I didn’t know how many cubic inches a gallon of fuel is but did some rough calculations using a gallon engine oil container.  Then we took measurements of the tank that was the closest to being square, the one under the floorboards in the galley.  I had been told that the tank was 50 gallons but as near as I can tell, it’s more like 40.  Bummer about that.  After thinking about that for a while longer, Cliff remembered that on our trip back from the BVIs a few years ago, we had run that tank dry, so I looked in my log to see how much fuel it took to fill the tank up again when I got home.  Magic, 40 gallons.  Ok, so now I know that what is perhaps my largest tank is about 40 gallons, or at least has 40 gallons of usable fuel.

We then took measurements of the other two tanks, the ones under the settees port and starboard and after a number of rough calculations of these really oddly shaped tanks, we estimated that each of them holds something like 35 gallon which suggests that between the three tanks we might have more like 110 gallons, not the 150 that I had assumed.  However, in the past I have always assumed that some amount of fuel remained in the tanks when they were “dry”, so my “”new number isn’t all that much different.

Anyway, we spent a lot of time on this and came out a belief that, unless the wind were to pick up, that we’d be in pretty tough shape by the time we reached the more predictable trade winds.

It is human nature, well at least my nature, to assume that whatever is going on at that exact moment will continue.  If there is good wind, of course, it’s going to continue to be good.  Motoring?  Well, you get the idea.  Ask Brenda, she will back this up.  What a great day!  Tomorrow will be great too.  What a terrible day…

So, the motoring continued until about 13:00 and then the wind picked up to near 18kts and we are now moving along really nicely on a broad reach at around 7 to 8 knots.   Who knew?

Will the wind go away again?  For sure.  Will it come back?  Well, ask me later when the wind is light…

I guess all this leaves me with the questions of if our voyage will end before the fuel is gone.  I guess we’ll be the first to know.  All I know for now is that for every hour we sail we will burn less fuel and that’s good.

Right now, we are sailing so I guess it’s going to be OK.   Well, at least I’ll feel that way until the wind dies.

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