The Saga of Ursa Minor

03 March 2010 | Wellington, NZ
14 February 2010 | Fiordland National Park
24 January 2010 | Whakapapa, Tongariro World Heritage Area
18 January 2010 | Coromandel Town, NZ
05 January 2010 | Cape Reinga, NZ
30 December 2009
25 December 2009
24 December 2009 | Mangawhai Heads Campsite, NZ
19 December 2009 | Auckland, New Zealand
09 December 2009 | Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
29 November 2009 | Robinson Crusoe Resort, Fiji
28 November 2009
14 November 2009 | Suva
06 November 2009 | Dere Bay, Koro
01 November 2009 | Viani Bay, Vanua Levu
30 October 2009 | Fawn Harbor, Vanua Levu
15 October 2009 | Palmlea Lodge, Vanua Levu
14 October 2009 | Savusavu, Vanua Levu
08 October 2009 | Savusavu, Vanua Levu
04 October 2009 | Nananu-i-Ra

Passage from Bora Bora to Suwarrow

12 October 2007
Passage from Bora Bora to Suwarrow, Sept. 12-17, 2007, in which we had rolly, uncomfortable seas ,strong gusts, two accidental jibes, a little spill, and no traffic at all.

On Wednesday September 12, after using up the last of our wi-fi minutes with Ioranet, doing last minute checks for email and weather, and lots of last minute stowing of items that scatter themselves around the boat so quickly while we're safely at anchor, we picked up our anchor at 10:30 a.m. and headed for the pass out of Bora Bora to begin the 675 miles to Suwarrow Atoll. Just after exiting the pass, we saw our friends on Zazoo just arriving. Sadly, we wouldn't have any time to visit with them, but it was very nice to see them again, however briefly, and to know that all was well with them. The last we'd seen them was in Fakarava in the Tuamotus, when they had been talking of going back to the Marquesas for the cyclone season. (It was Ben who free dove 50+ feet to free our anchor in Fakarava so we could leave.) They had since decided to continue on to New Zealand, where Ben can safely leave the boat while he looks for work as a professional diver in Singapore for a bit to boost the cruising kitty. Once we passed them, we did not see another boat until we arrived at Suwarrow 5 days later!

This may have been our most uncomfortable passage yet, but nothing the boat (and its intrepid crew) couldn't handle easily. After a very easy first day, the winds and seas increased, with one day mid-passage of nasty squally skies, gusts to 30 and 40 knots, and building boxy seas. The last few days the winds came down, but the seas stayed up, making for very rolly motion as we slewed through the mountainous peaks of the sea. Occasionally the seas would cascade over the cockpit coaming, dousing anyone sitting there. Amazingly, the huge following seas behind us would almost always just slide under the boat, only once or twice sending a stream of water in under our "back door" to briefly wet the cockpit floor. Of course, every time the sea slid under the stern, the aft end of the boat rose and slewed from side to side, occasionally throwing something or someone out of place. I had one nasty slide - the cushion I was sitting on suddenly slid to the floor with me on it, causing severe pain in my shoulder, elbow and various other spots. I remember sitting there, stunned, wondering if I'd broken anything. In a few minutes I moved everything and realized nothing was broken. Bryan was very helpful, rushing to get me ice packs for my shoulder and elbow, and some aspirin. It was sore for a few days, but the ice seemed to help a lot and I was cranking winches again the next day.

Lizzie, our windvane, steered beautifully in the beginning, but as the seas became more confused we had two accidental jibes of the mainsail the second night out. On one, the preventer worked nicely and prevented the boom from crashing to the other side as the wind passed across our stern. On the second, the preventer pulled right off the cleat and the boom went banging to the other side, fortunately without any apparent damage but a jolt to our nerves. The entire passage we had the wind almost directly behind us, which meant having either the main or the genoa all the way out (with the seas and winds we were reluctant to use our sickly whisker pole so couldn't sail with both sails unless we altered course to a broad reach). Sailing dead downwind with just the main all the way out made it easy for a big sea to momentarily knock the wind out of the sail, sending the boom from one side to the other unless held firmly in place with the preventer, a line from the end of the boom to the rail which prevents the boom from swinging. If we sailed downwind with just the genoa, unpoled, it would pull nicely for a bit, then collapse as the seas rolled the boat and knocked the wind out of the sail. This worked OK occasionally during daylight hours, giving us slightly better speed than the main alone, but was intolerable in the dark when the noise of the collapses and jerks made sleeping difficult. As a result, we did most of the passage under mainsail alone, with 1-3 reefs in it depending on the wind, averaging 5-7 knots most of the way.

After the accidental jibes, we used the electric auto pilot for steering, not trusting Lizzie with the big seas. This uses a lot of power, and our continuing low voltage problems meant we had to run the engine a bit more than usual to stay topped up. When the auto pilot is on, the single sideband radio starts acting up. This radio is our link to other boats through various "nets" that we check in with daily on passage and for receiving weather information. So every time one of us got on the radio for a net, the other would have to hand steer. Fortunately, having the sat phone gives us good back up for obtaining weather info and email when the radio decides to be uncooperative. One day when Bryan turned the radio on while the auto pilot was steering, the radio wouldn't transmit again for 24 hours, then mysteriously started working again.

We had surprisingly little rain, given that nasty clouds often filled the horizon in all directions. We were both feeling a bit bummed and bored toward the end of the passage, tired of the big boxy seas coming from all directions tossing us around, so it's good we didn't have a lot of rain to make things worse. The winds were lighter the last few days, occasionally under 10 knots, so we motor sailed the last night to insure getting to Suwarrow by mid-day on Monday. We first saw land about 10 a.m., and were in through the pass and anchored by 12:30, with 4 other yachts as neighbors.
Comments
Vessel Name: Ursa Minor
Vessel Make/Model: Saga 43
Hailing Port: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Crew: Captains Bryan Lane (callsign NP2NH) and Judy Knape
About:
Bryan and Judy met while working charter in the Virgin Islands. Judy had been chartering for many years, both as captain and chef, and had also served a stint as Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Charteryacht League. [...]
Extra: Now in the western Pacific for over two years with no immediate plans to leave!
Ursa Minor's Photos - (Main)
No Photos
Created 5 September 2010
No Photos
Created 5 September 2010
No Photos
Created 5 September 2010
No Photos
Created 5 September 2010
7 Photos
Created 14 February 2010
28 Photos
Created 29 November 2009
20 Photos
Created 21 June 2009
22 Photos
Created 21 June 2009
20 Photos
Created 9 June 2009
8 Photos
Created 15 May 2009
8 Photos
Created 14 May 2009
12 Photos
Created 14 May 2009
18 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
18 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
21 Photos
Created 9 April 2009
40 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 9 April 2009
27 Photos
Created 9 April 2009
6 Photos
Created 9 April 2009
12 Photos
Created 9 April 2009
24 Photos
Created 1 July 2008
handicrafts Majuro Marshall Islands wut baskets flowers kimij
24 Photos
Created 1 July 2008
Aur atoll cruising sailors
13 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 3 June 2008
46 Photos
Created 12 May 2008
43 Photos
Created 12 May 2008
12 Photos
Created 11 May 2008
8 Photos
Created 11 May 2008
10 Photos
Created 11 March 2008
32 Photos
Created 5 March 2008
5 Photos
Created 5 March 2008
Funafuti, Tuvalu
13 Photos
Created 5 March 2008
Wallis
18 Photos
Created 24 February 2008
cruising American Samoa Pago Pago
23 Photos
Created 21 February 2008
18 Photos
Created 12 October 2007
17 Photos
Created 12 October 2007
13 Photos
Created 12 October 2007
5 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
24 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
22 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
54 Photos
Created 10 September 2007
8 Photos
Created 30 August 2007
15 Photos
Created 30 August 2007
15 Photos
Created 30 August 2007
25 Photos
Created 30 August 2007
16 Photos
Created 4 July 2007
34 Photos
Created 27 June 2007
7 Photos
Created 27 June 2007
35 Photos
Created 14 May 2007
30 Photos
Created 14 May 2007
7 Photos
Created 9 May 2007
34 Photos
Created 9 May 2007
19 Photos
Created 9 May 2007
28 Photos
Created 9 May 2007
16 Photos
Created 8 May 2007
6 Photos
Created 8 May 2007
30 Photos
Created 8 May 2007
12 Photos
Created 8 May 2007

Ursa Minor's Crew

Who: Captains Bryan Lane (callsign NP2NH) and Judy Knape
Port: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands