Date: Sept. 3, 2016, 4 a.m. Position: 15 15.84 S, 89 40.88 E

We ended up getting a few light squalls on Kelsey’s watch last night, which cleared most of the salt crystals off the decks. Other than a few slimy flying fish in the scuppers, the decks are clean. The winds backed more easterly, and I rigged the downwind pole at sunrise. We spent the morning and afternoon flying wing-on-wing on a beautiful downwind run under sunny skies in 16-20 knots of good wind.

We’re sailing down south of the rhumb line in order to line up an easterly approach to Rodrigues. This will give us more flexibility in our sailing angle on the 2nd half of the passage, and give us a better chance of wind aft of the beam the whole way. It’s sort of like the larger version of the route we sailed from Christmas Island to Cocos Keeling. When the highs push through they throw up a wall of stronger S-SE winds for a few days before the isobars level off in an E-W line. Better to be sailing a course of 270 True through these winds. The passage distance is so great that we’ll be sailing through at least two of these “walls”. We left Cocos right after the first one leveled off. I’m sure to be boring people with weather-geek talk…but sailing has by necessity turned us into amateur meteorologists. It’s all-important to understand exactly what is going on in order to make the best (safest) choices at sea.

We’re really moving along at a steady clip–three 154 mile days in a row now. We’re back to a broad reach now, sliding down the waves at 7.5 knots. Taz was a bundle of energy today. We had some good fun kicking his bouncy ball around the cabin, assisted by the motion of the boat. He’s perfected his aim into his miniature potty, and he’s also interested in sitting on the real head now too. He gets upset when we diaper him up, so we’ve let him go naked. No pee on the floor today! He’s very proud of himself and clucks his tongue in satisfaction.

1/4 of the passage passed behind us today when the GPS mileage-to-go rolled back to 1500. We also crossed the 90E longitude, putting us a full 1/4 of the way around the world just from Fiji. It also means that Taz has sailed well over 1/4 of the distance around on board Privateer, not including his Pacific Ocean crossing inside the womb.

Tonight we are sailing over the “90E ridge”, a wall of massive underwater mountains that stretch for thousands of miles from Thailand to Antarctica. The summits rise to within 5,000 feet below us. The swells seemed a bit stacked up on the windward side of the ridge, no doubt due to the effects of the ocean currents flowing over the chain of summits.

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