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Where are the trade winds?

For 2 years Ruth II has been prepared for her Round the World voyage, all consumables counted and reordered so that we wouldn't find ourselves wanting anything. One passage, we believed, would have very little wind at all; something that you can't stow in the bilge. The 3000 miles from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas are described as a slow and steady 10-15 from the East.

Our weather routing suggested that we push down to a latitude of 10 degrees south to find the trade winds.. Well, 2 days of motoring, 2 days of ghosting upwind, sling shotting around the bottom of a low pressure, and 2 days or crashing deep into the Southern Ocean was followed by a week of a squally 25knot broad reach!

We were regretting the UV damage we had needlessly put our secret weapon through, until today. All of a sudden a cloud slightly whispier than the rest passed over head and the breeze turned off. A big wind shift to Eastward and we were struggling to get the boat moving anywhere West of South....

Time for the Trade Wind Sail!

After a quick crew briefing and a go pro set on the back deck, we turned the engine on for the first time in a week, doused the sails, quickly dipped the pole to change from the Genoa sheets to the Trade Wind sheets and readied ourselves in the cockpit. Up until now we have only practiced deploying this top down, symmetrical headsail in 7knots and flat water, it all happens slow and controlled I reassured the crew. As the Velcro between the clews peeled apart, an instantaneous thud was felt through our hands and feet, quicker than we realised it happening, we accelerated Westwards once again.

You may not be able to store wind in the bilges, but you can be prepared.



  1. At last the trades ! TW sail
    Looks great - nice blog James .


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