Sailing to Palmerston (Port tack please)
26 September 2008 | South Pacific
We had a nice sail last night. Our pace with a reef in the main has lined us up for a morning arrival tomorrow at Palmerston atoll. My final jury rig on our traveler car seems to be holding well.
We have port and starboard control lines on the boom just in case. Fortunately, as far as emergency duty goes, the control lines have been idle. They did calm the boom in the boisterous seas that cropped up this morning (I may use this trick even when the traveler is working again). There are no hard points up on the bimini so the control lines run to deck cleats. This causes them to chafe on the hard top unless the traveler is hard over. We have duct tape protecting the gel coat and chafe gear (fire hose) on the dynema lines.
After a lovely night with only a little pounding, the seas moved more to the beam and got up. It has been a rolly ride today with a good 2.5 meter swell and perfect 15 knot winds from 110 off to port. We sailed tody with reef one in to stay slow so we don't arrive at night.
Weather is always a prime interest when on passage. We are pulling spots for every two degrees of longitude on our track for detailed local forecast information (wind speed/dir, wave height/dir/period, & pressure every 3 hours). We grab a three day GRIB of the general area to see macro weather trends. We also pull the wether report for the area from Honolulu to get the weatherman's take on the computer models. Add to this Buoy Weather data from Frank on Independent Freedom (also sailing to Palmerston) and the Anzac net check ins and you have a pretty good picture of what is going on.
We are particularly sensitive to wind direction and strength with our traveler car immobilized. If the wind stays south of east (as predicted until 8AM tomorrow) we can sail to Palmerston. The wind is predicted to move into the north quadrant shortly after 8AM. If we are caught out in this it will complicate our sail plan. We also don't want any gales with duct tape holding out traveler bearings in.
Once in Palmerston the weather complications continue. The wind is going north and then NW because a low is passing to the south. If it is light and the seas are moderate the Palmerston mooring field may be ok. If wind or seas are strong we'll have to leave Palmerston that evening, or early morning, at the latest. We're hoping to get to spend at least a couple days in Palmerston.
It is looking like a New Zealand rigger can get out traveler parts to Niue in a week. Niue is a two night hop from Palmerston and with luck we'll be able to sail it.
We'll be eating well tonight regardless as we just pulled in a perfect little tuna.
96 nm to Palmerston