Aitutaki to Niue day 1
04 September 2008 | enroute, Pacific
Aitutaki to Niue Thursday 11am We stayed in Aitutaki for longer than we wanted to due to a slow moving BFH (Big Fat High) sitting to our southwest (1040+hpa). It blew 30 to 40 knots for days along with rain and cold. Forecast wave heights of 18-28 feet just outside of the harbor. It was the first time we had stayed longer than we had wanted to. Well after climbing the highest hill 3 times and eating in the same restaurants even though they were good, well you get the picture. So yesterday Wednesday September 3rd after being there for 10 days we decided to leave even though conditions had still not settled down. This because I saw a trough forming east of Niue that was forecast to become a pretty deep low right in our path by Sunday. The next opportunity to leave would have been in another 10 days. So that explains why we are out here in this weather, we left at 11:15am with a little sun shining, by the time afternoon arrived we were out of the lee of the island with 3 reefs in the main a scrap of jib poled out the other side surfing down the waves at up to 20 knots. Shortly after night fall we rolled up the jib completely and spent the night under main alone. We were still surfing some of the larger waves as the wind built to a steady 30 knots gusting to 36 knots with rain every so often. Any more wind and I would have removed all sail. The problem with large waves and wind is your average mile per day number is not fantastic as you are keeping the average speed down to keep the surfing under control. Give me 18 knots and smoother seas and I will have a much higher average speed. This morning finds us under rain but the wind has dropped to 20-25 knots so we have the jib out again. We left with three other boats, "Upps" our German friends had to change course to Palmerston Island to try and find some calm water to repair their self steering gear. "Excalibur" a Australian boat is doing well about 50 miles behind us and "Enswann" a French boat who does not have a radio is somewhere behind them. Mono-hulls do not like to sail directly downwind as there is no sideways pressure on the sails to keep them from rolling. Looking back at them rolling almost gunnel to gunnel in the big waves does not give me any urge to trade boats! "Orca 3" is waiting for us in Niue and "Malachi" is leaving Niue for Tonga today as they have to pick up friends there on the 7th. 188 miles in the last 24 hours 382 to go.