FPB 78-1: Greetings From the 4th Parallel (And a Birthday at Sea)


Greetings from FPB 78-1 Cochise, where we have now crossed into the fourth parallel. The big news is that after 4000 nautical miles with the wind dead on the nose it has started to free a bit, having backed to the SE ever so slightly. Now, if the knot of west-flowing current would just go away.

We have caught a second big wahoo, this yielding 35 pounds of filets, and we’ve been eating fresh fish for most meals. Fuel burn is on target in spite of the current, and it is looking like twelve days will see us in Panama.


Although we are near the equator, water and air temperature are quite moderate. The ventilation system combined with our heavy insulation package have mostly eliminated the need to run the air conditioning. During the day the solar array covers the power needs. Both are saving us considerable fuel. It is a real buzz to see 110-130 amps flowing into the batteries while the alternators sit idly by.

We’ve seen one ship since leaving on this mostly empty stretch of ocean. And the three of us are enjoying being at sea with Cochise.


We are always looking for a reason to party, and in this case it was Steve Parsons’ birthday. Aside from our cousin Lisa’s apricot coffee cake, Steve P. received several very cool presents.

Having written above about current, we were hit with an increase in adversity, with speed over ground dropping to nine knots. After confirming that this was for real, we decided to alter course towards the northeast to get ourselves closer to the ITCZ, where we shall find relief.

Weather is immediately cooler. Water temperature is down to 78 F and air is down to the point that we are no longer using air conditioning at all.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 1, 2016)

6 Responses to “FPB 78-1: Greetings From the 4th Parallel (And a Birthday at Sea)”

  1. Gene Says:

    Are you able to easily disengage the big alternators while underway in daylight hours and depend 100% on the solar panels? If so, what does that do for fuel burn?

    Happy Birthday Steve =)

  2. steve dashew Says:

    Hi Gene,
    The alternators have switches on their field coils, by which they are easily turned off. They are worth between a half and three quarters of a gallon of diesel per hour depending on load when they are switched off.

  3. Peter Says:

    Belated happy birthday Steve P.

  4. James Masters Says:

    Happy Bday to you, Steve-P — Thank you for the blessing you are to Steve+Linda — your being there makes all the difference in the world for them. And this guy you haven’t yet-met, is very grateful to you for that.

  5. Pam Wall Says:

    All such great descriptions, than you Skip, and Happy Birthday, Steve, and look forward to catching your lines in Florida. Pam

  6. Glen Peters Says:

    ok happy birthday Steve, I was going to drop by for a surprise visit —— but ——–
    Hope you enjoyed the cake.