Monthly Archives: May 2012
We weighed anchor at 10.00 the next morning and prepared to leave the reef with Forteleza (NZ) and Toucan (Irish). The engine has been acting up recently and just as we were motoring towards the entrance it started again. As you know I don’t do technical but Bill said the raw cooling water wasn’t getting through the engine properly, which means the engine could overheat. We turned back from the entrance while Bill manually fed water into the strainer to get the suction going on the water pump. After about half an hour of working on it, while I took the boat round in circles, he was happy for us to go back to the entrance and leave the reef.
We had 365 miles to go to Suva – a Biscay crossing roughly and rough was the right word because the wind was still blowing 20 – 25 kts outside the reef with 3 – 4 metre seas. Fortunately it was coming from behind us so it wasn’t too bad. We still had 3 reefs in the main and Bill controlled the speed by winching the Genoa in or out. The Hydrovane was having trouble steering when we surfed down the waves so we had the autohelm on as well. Bill also had to hand steer. We reached 9.3 kts once as we surfed down one of the waves and I was doing a very good impression of a meercat just popping up now and again to see if the seas were dropping. I kept Bill fed and watered.
Our position at 10.00 Sunday 6th May 2012
21 16.9 south
179 57.4 east
We covered 154 miles in the last 24 hours and we’ve got 211 miles to go.
Neither of us slept very much last night. Bill chose to sleep in the cockpit for a couple of hours while I kept watch because he didn’t want to go too far away from the wheel while the sea was still rough. I laid down on the saloon berth but it’s difficult sleeping with the boat lurching from wave to wave. By 2am the wind went round to the east, which made the motion a bit better, and Bill went below to try and get a bit more sleep. I’m still doing my net each morning and we have Forteleza just behind us and Toucan is to our starboard. Norsa were a hundred or so miles behind us and chose not to stop at Minerva so now they are a little way ahead of us but the wind has pushed them off course and they are still quite a way east of the rhumb line. We’ve crossed back over the meridian line and during the afternoon crossed 20 degree south, which means we are back in the tropics. When we left NZ we had 3 layers on but each day we are able to leave more of them off. It’s now starting to get warm enough to sail in shorts and t-shirts. During the day the wind dropped to F5 and the sea started to moderate. As much as I love New Zealand I’m really not doing this passage again.
Our position at 10.00 Monday 7th May 2012
19 04.1 south
178 57.6 east
151 miles covered in the last 24 hours, 60 miles to go
We had a better nights sleep and this morning we shook the 3rd reef out of the main and let out all of the genny. Later we shook out the other 2 reefs and were sailing really well in a nice F4 – why couldn’t the whole trip have been like this? At 11.30 I spotted land; oh no it’s the island of Ono!! The air temperature is 28C and the sea is 26.9C, oh yes!!
We continued sailing right up to the reef outside Suva before taking down the sails to pass through the entrance at 20.40 and then carefully making our way in the dark to the Royal Suva Yacht club to drop our anchor at 21.00. Norsa had arrived a couple of hours before us; Toucan came in about half an hour after us followed by Forteleza an hour later. All my little ducklings safely in.
Our position at 10.00 Wednesday 2nd May 2012
28 30.1 south
178 52.3 east
153 miles in 24 hours, 549 miles to go
The wind went round to the south and we were off. We got the engine off at 20.00 last night and have been sailing since. We spent the night rolling around in a moderate sea and everyone was tired on the net this morning. Today was my birthday and although Bill had very sweetly hidden a couple of little presents for me, it wasn’t much of a birthday. I even had to get up earlier than my usual watch time because Bill wasn’t feeling well. Never mind, we’ll save the celebrations for when we get in. Bad hair day!!
Our position at 10.00 Thursday 3rd May 2012
26 13.3 south
179 55.8 east
154 miles in 24 hours, 161 miles to Minerva reef
We’ve changed our destination to the north Minerva reef. These are 2 reefs in the middle of nowhere which are quite a popular stop off points on a passage from NZ. It will be nice to have a bit of a rest. The wind is now blowing F6 south easterlies – classic trade winds. We’ve got 2 reefs in the main and a scrap of genny out and still doing 6-7kts surfing down the waves. The swell has increased to 4metres which is quite alarming when you’re watching it from the cockpit. All the hatches are closed as we are getting rogue waves coming into the cockpit. In the midst of all this a little swift flew in, sat inside the cockpit cover, preened itself, pooped on the deck and flew off. The skipper was not impressed.
Our position at 14.00 Friday 4th May 2012
23 37.77 south
178 53.83 west
156 miles in 24 hours. Anchored in Minerva reef
We have crossed the 180 degree meridian line briefly to stop in Minerva reef. I’m not sure it will show up on google earth but it’s worth a look. It’s a circular reef about 3 miles across. There’s nothing here and sadly with the strong winds it’s too choppy to get in for a swim but it’s quite an experience being anchored literally in the middle of no where watching the surf explode onto the reef all around us. The wind is still blowing 25 – 35kts across the achorage but the sea is much calmer in here because the reef is breaking up the waves. The entrance was easy to see with the sun behind us. There are 3 other boats from our net who have also stopped but we don’t want to unpack our dinghies so we’ll just have a nice meal, a glass of wine and a good nights sleep, ready to go out into the ‘washing machine’ again tomorrow
Our position at 10.00 Monday 30th April 2012
31 49.8 south
177 11.8 east
133 miles in 24 hours, 807 miles to go
Our second day at sea was frustrating because we couldn’t get enough wind to sail and spent almost 24 hours motoring. After finishing the NICA net I plotted the positions of the other boats on the chart plotter and found we were all still quite close together and the others were also motoring. We had been warned we would have a day of motoring by Bob McDavitt, our weather router. The highlight of the day was that we caught a fish, this is a fairly rare occurrence on Camomile so we were really excited as Bill reeled it in. It was a small mackerel tuna, we even managed to catch a second but unfortunately it jumped off the hook as soon as we got it near enough to the boat to gaff it. During my evening watch the sea became so glassy I could see the reflection of the moon in it. At around 23.00 the wind piped up and I got Bill up so we could put the sails back up and start sailing again.
Our position at 10.00 Tuesday 1st May 2012
30 42.7 south
178 39.5 east
105 miles in 24 hours, 702 miles to go
We sailed over night but by the morning the wind was dropping again. We sailed slowly until midday when, with our boat speed down to 3kts, we put the engine on again. There are a couple of boats ahead that left the day before us but they haven’t got any wind either so we’ll just have to be patient. It was a frustrating day with only 105 miles covered in 24 hours but someone somewhere wished for more wind …..