Over the past 24 hours, Sans Souci has run 210 nm, from Hualtulco Mexico, to Acapulco. That’s not at all bad given the weather conditions. Through the run, the boat has had 12 foot swell, with heavy rain, and frequent squalls. The wind has generally been behind them, which helps. Not helping though, is that they started yesterday running into a 3 knot southbound current. To avoid the current they have moved further offshore, where the current appears to be under one knot.
The problem with running too far offshore is that it puts them closer to the bad weather. Hurricane Marie is far enough offshore that it isn’t a factor other than the swell it is producing. Closer, is the Tropical Storm now known as Norbert.
The only problem the boat had to report was that the shaft seals are letting in too much water. The shaft seals (also known as the stuffing box) are where the propellor shafts pass through the hull. The seal can be adjusted, and on Sans Souci, there seems to be two possible settings: Too Tight, and Too Loose. In one case, there is an excess of heat, and in the other, an excess leakage of water. It’s probably just a matter of tinkering with it until we get it right, but my current plan is to switch to dripless shaft seals when the boat gets north.
A decision had to be made this morning on whether or stop in Acapulco and let the storms pass, or keep motoring on. Following is what the weather router had to say:
| To: Captain Jeff Sanson & Ken Williams- M/Y SANS SOUCI |
1240Z 05 OCT 2008
TD/15E was upgraded to Tropical Storm Norbert this morning. There are still no tropical storm or Hurricane Watches or warnings in effect for the coast of Mexico. At 0900Z TS Norbert was located near 14.2N 101.4W and its present motion is west 06kt. Gale force winds extend outward approx 30nm from the center.
The forecast philosophy remains unchanged. Norbert should continue along a W-WNW course the next 24-48hrs while slowly gaining strength. There is an opportunity for Norbert to go through a period of rapid/deep intensification during the next 24hrs which could bring it to Hurricane strength by late tonight or early Mon/06th. However this intensification won’t impact the track in the short term.
The high pressure ridging to the north will gradually weaken during Tue-Wed. As this occurs, Norbert has the potential to turn more NW-ward. Some of the models indicate Norbert will tend to turn more northward and impact the southern Baja peninsula on Thur/09. That is not out of the rhelm of possibility at this time, but that is 5 days from now and Hurricane forecast tracks/intensities have been know for “significant” errors beyond 3 days.
Overall, our forecast from last evening remains valid.
For the next 3 days along the coast of Mexico to 20N/lat, expect;
Sun/05: ENE-ESE 15-20kt, upto 25kts at times possible. Bands of convection associated with Norbert should see some moderate to briefly heavy thunderstorms to the Mexican coast between Acapulco and Barra de Navidad. The heaviest activity should remain well offshore, but a few isolated heavy cells could impact the coastal waters and produce winds gusts of 30-35kts. Waves 3-5ft, briefly upto 6-7ft in/near thunderstorms. The strongest sustained winds (20-25kts) will tend to occur during the morning through the early aftn hours. Winds closer to 15kts are expected toward Sun/sunset and through the overnight hours. This should also result in lower seas of 3-5ft during the overnight even though the wind direction should veer to a more ESE-SE direction. Swells tending SE-S 5-7ft.
This is the kind of weather I would not travel in, but Jeff says the boat is doing fine, and their primary concern was figuring out how to listen to the Seahawks game. They had just finished making popcorn and were getting ready to settle down and relax, while continuing north to Barra Navidad, where they should arrive very early on Tuesday morning.