Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Passage report. Suwarrow to Nuie

10th August 2016
Current Position 17.59 South, 167.59 West
Distance traveled 404 NM
Distance to go 129 NM
Current speed: 4.4 knots
Current wind speed: 7.5 knots
Heading 220t
Wind direction 120 degrees S East
Seas long period 2.5mt swell
Full genoa, full main

After delaying our departure from Suwarrow by one day because of predicted light winds we unraveled our anchor rode from around the coral bombies, which took about 1/2 an hour and waved goodbye to Harry and Pae, the rangers of Suwarrow and headed out of the pass. The time was coming up to 4pm and we raised all the sails to get some speed and stability in the slightly confused seas. The passage to Nuie, the Rock of Polynesia, is 533 NM. Predicted winds were 15-20 from the SE. Even though we have done many night passages I always hate the first night of a passage as I have to get used to the changed sleep pattern of watches and the rolling action of the boat. The seas were confused and we rolled from side to side madly. The winds became lighter and as a consequence the sails started to flap and at this point I noticed that the foot of our mainsail is looking worse for wear with the fabric delaminating so I decided to furl half the sail. This of course slowed us down. The next two days were uncomfortable with a seas state that did not reflect the winds. We rocked and rolled 30 degrees from one side to the other. A series of evening squalls hit us making us put on our wet weather gear and reef the sails and then unfurl them once the squall had passed. Its tiring doing this through the night in a rocking boat. Eventually the seas started to flatten out but the winds kept dying and shifting to the NE making a very slow downwind sail. Last night the winds died to less than 5 knots so we motored for 4 hours until they picked up to 8 knots and we raised the sails for a superb night sailing under the 1/2 moon and clear sky and flat seas. We were heading 20 degrees off the rhumb line to keep some apparent wind in the sails and therefore some speed - 4-5 knots in an 8 knot wind. At one point during my night watch two whales came alongside, approx 100ft off the side of the boat and escorted us for half an hour, the sounds of their exhaling sounding so close. We are hoping for the winds to pick up a bit so we can try and make landfall tomorrow but we are 22 miles off course and with winds still around 7 knots but its been a very pleasant sail today.

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1 comment:

  1. Hope the wind picks up a bit for a good sail in. Have fun on the dinghy crane in Nuie, it takes some getting used to but still a challenge in big swells ! Say Hi to Keith at the Yacht club for us, Rich & Geri