Saturday, July 30, 2016

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Passage from Maupiti, French Polynesia, to Suwarrow, Cook Islands

29th July 2016
Current Position 13.19 South, 162.20 West
Distance traveled 632 NM
Distance to go 39 NM
Current speed: 6.5knots
Current wind speed: 17 knots
Heading 284t
Wind direction 85 degrees East
Seas 2.5 - 3mts SE
Full poled out genoa
1 reef in the prevented main

As the light started to fade yesterday evening the winds shifted from the SE to the east so we had to make a decision whether to stay on our current sail configuration and head off to the south of the rhumb line too our destination or jybe and head slightly to the north of the rhumb line. We decided that we would stick with what we had as the wind shift might be temporary in which case we would have to jybe again under darkness, which normally is straightforward but as we have the spinnaker poling out on the genoa it means going forward on the bow in these deep swells and is something we try and avoid. As the evening progressed a series of squalls passed over us bring with them heavy rain and increased winds with one reaching 35 knots. When these squalls pass the wind shifts more to the NE, taking us more off course and we had to shorten the sail, both of which are frustrating as we are trying to reach Suwarrow before dark on the 29th and we need to stay on course and keep our speed up otherwise we will have to heave to for over 12 hours. So as every squall passed we set more sail to keep our speed up. The sun sank over the horizon and darkness came along with more squalls. More frustrating was the continued wind shift so we made the decision to jybe. Just as we set about doing the jybe, with both of us on the foredeck a squall hit us with heavy rain and strong wind, typical. We decided to stow the spinnaker pole and run under genoa alone until the squalls stopped as its much easier to shorten sail. We continued through the rest of the night furling and unfurling the head sail to keep up speed as the squalls continued and little to no sleep was had. Morning came and the squalls disappeared so we reset the spinnaker pole and unfurled the main to get as much speed as possible. Given our southing over night we managed to set a nice rhumb line course for Suwarrow showing an arrival time of 3pm local time IF the winds hold.

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