ZEPHYR

16 September 2017 | 17 44.33'S:168 18.61'E, Vuda, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu
14 September 2017 | 17 45.44'S: 172 16.255'E, Vuda, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu
09 September 2017 | 17 46.275'S:177 11.271'E, Suva to Musket Cove, Fiji
04 September 2017 | 18 07.387'S:178 25.305'E, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
31 August 2017 | 16 23'S:178 16'W, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
30 August 2017 | 15 11'S:175 22'W, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
22 August 2017 | 13 49.73'S:171 45.79'W, Hawaii to Samoa
21 August 2017 | 12 57.81'S:171 28.8'W, Hawaii to Samoa
20 August 2017 | 09 23.35'S:170 16.44'W, Hawaii to Samoa
19 August 2017 | 06 16.17'S:169 04.09'W, Hawaii to Samoa
18 August 2017 | 04 55.16'S:168 31.20'W, Hawaii to Samoa
17 August 2017 | 00 00.00'N:166 56.22'W, Hawaii to Samoa
16 August 2017 | 00 42.85'N:166 42.57'W, Hawaii to Samoa
14 August 2017 | 05 49.48'N:163 49.48'W, Hawaii to Samoa
14 August 2017 | 06 47.10'N:163 22.49'W, Hawaii to Samoa
14 August 2017 | 06 47.10'N:163 22.49'W, Hawaii to Samoa
13 August 2017 | 09 18.05'N:162 21.66'W, Hawaii to Samoa
11 August 2017 | 12 13.74'N:161 25.04'W, Hawaii to Samoa
10 August 2017 | 15 53.08'N:160 01.13'W, Hawaii to Samoa
10 August 2017 | 17 00.90'N:159 28.85'W, Hawaii to Samoa

'Vanuatu' and what fantastic sailing conditions today!

16 September 2017 | 17 44.33'S:168 18.61'E, Vuda, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu
JD
It's Saturday midday and I am back on ... track...

Just as I took up my watch early this morning the moon came up late at 4am and to my surprise the sun, once again this amazing burning orange ball, came up at 6am and the angle difference between the two is no more than 70 degrees here when you look at the sun on the horizon and moon above.

The 3 Marias, also known as 'Orion', normally behind us, have moved up straight above now. The 3 Marias being 3 stars closely aligned which have been a marker for us since we left Honolulu.

Sea life has been very sporadic, some birds, maybe 7, and some, to Micky's dislike, trying to catch a free ride with us. And then, of course, more than enough flying fish.. and every time it's still funny to see them fly with their tails low and their heads high, fast and far. Here they are the size of my palm and so far the biggest ones I have seen; found one big one on the deck this afternoon.

Morale on board very good. Micky wants to get up the mast once again to check out the wind vane as it's still not functioning but will have to wait till we are anchored off. He still does the watches to perfection as well as the kitchen chores and would probably even do so if the boat were upside down. Unfortunately deprived of some sleep again because of ....me... having ticked off the boxes for 'sea sickness' and 'food poisoning' found it a 'must' to go for the 'stomach virus' !! Djeeeh don't know where and how I caught this 'particular friendly one' but could def. have done without. When at sea in that state you just want to get off the boat... one thing is for sure, it works much better than the lemon diet! Today doing much better and the sailing is just fantastic, like ... the seriously perfect conditions. Good wind, white horses everywhere, waves shorter than normal and more bumpy, blue blue ocean, very sunny, nice and hot and some nice woolly clouds in the sky. Cruising 260 degree, double reef, half jib and doing 7.5-8 kts. The nights however are def. cooler and then the deck is most of the time humid. Even Micky, since last night, has gone soft and taken to wearing some 'long' shorts..

We have just discovered land again and each time it is the same thrill. Another 22 nm to go and our curiosity is growing bigger by the mile to discover once again a new unknown land for us ahead. We will arrive in the capital city of Vanuatu.. Port Vila. The island seems long and lean, quite flat, very green with big trees and lots of green grassy patches, and from afar we see the white sandy beaches. We are passing by on the south side, the harbour is easterly wind safe on the west coast... exciting !

Flag ceremony on board has just gone up.. one for Vanuatu and one yellow one for quarantine... as we are arriving after office hours we will be quarantined till Monday morning and thus can't leave ship just yet..

On the Road Again

14 September 2017 | 17 45.44'S: 172 16.255'E, Vuda, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu
MStA
Over 6 days in Suva while we waited for a vital part for the generator we got to know the Fijian capital through wonderful introductions to Bradley Bower who served in the United Nations peacekeeping force, and Ken & Lyn McDonald, owners of the #1 restaurant in Suva, Governors Themed Museum.

We left early on Friday night with not a breath of wind and motored up to Musket Cove, a real yachties' paradise. It was great to spend some time on land - we slept on board in Suva - and we then headed for Denarau to check out the wind instruments. Denarau Marina is excellent with plenty of services, an efficient dock team and plenty of restaurants. We popped into Nadi and saw the market and the largest Hindu Temple in the Southern hemisphere.

We motored up to Vuda, to clear customs and then set sail for Port Vila in Vanuatu. It should be a 3-4 day passage and has started well with winds up to 25 knots and big swell which has enabled us to sail at 7.5/8 kts with just the jib. While a bit bumpy it is wonderful to be at sea again.

Last night we picked up a passenger who stayed (see photo) perched at the end of the boom for about 6 hours. While leaving the expected calling card he was a very pleasant companion during the night watches. It was extraordinary to see him with his head tucked in backwards, and yet completely able to balance in his sleep whatever the wind and waves did to try to dislodge him.

We expect to arrive in Port Vila on Saturday.

Golden Shellbackers !

09 September 2017 | 17 46.275'S:177 11.271'E, Suva to Musket Cove, Fiji
JD
17.30 and we have left Suva behind us. Sailing out through the narrow reef channel on mega alert and we turn to starboard direction Musket Cove, one of the top resorts in Fiji. A 110 nm, 18 hours sailing/motoring as the winds were not on the menu, and I must say am quite happy with that for once.

00.00 - 03.00am My second watch started off in the pitch dark and now with the big red moon rising, we can actually read a book without a light! The whole sea around us is lit up and I enjoy once again one of nature's wonders. To starboard I can hear the reef gushing, relaxing and alerting at the same time. The sails have just come up again and my new baked break, recipe generously given to us by Bill Gunn, Bistro Tatau in Apia, is still warm and smelling nicely. Not sure it will make the morning !

Suva.. not very interesting in itself but one gets attached to it in a strange way. People over friendly but one is more alert in the streets here. With the big cyclone 3 years ago many lost their homes and crime is high. A small capital with the bus station as central attraction point, buses in all colours as all the school children who all wear skirts. Straight skirts boys and girls, just below the knee, but many men do too...The vegetable market with unrecognizable fruits, 3 new shopping malls for the cruise liners and just a few streets makes up this capital, which is mostly a port. Most travel by bus, few cars around. With a minimum salary of 1.05 US$, compared to 15 in Australia or NZ, makes most young ones leave. A very nice museum to visit and we have met some lovely friends of friends. Charles Fisher, thank you ! Ken & Lyn Mcdonald made our stay a memorable one, and being invited guests to their 50/60th birthday party at their wonderful restaurant 'The Governors' we got introduced to real Fiji island life.

06.10 , so 10 minutes into my next watch, the ocean has turned into a lake, this magical orange ball just showed up and looks at its most intense... it actually showed up behind us to the right and the moon right ahead of us seemed to have just turned off. From now on the moon as the sun will stay to starboard side which is a big change.

Reading about shellbackers gave a wonderful surprise as to find out that we are actually 'Golden Shellbackers'... 'Another rare status is the Golden Shellback, a person who has crossed the Equator at the 180th meridian. The rarest Shellback status is that of the Emerald Shellback, or Royal Diamond Shellbeck, which is received after crossing the equator at the prime meridian 00*00 ( this being south on Togo) A next trip maybe ??

13.30 we anchored in Muskat... a true bounty island...what more can I say !

Arrival in Savu

04 September 2017 | 18 07.387'S:178 25.305'E, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
MStA
There are certain elements of sailing that you do not contemplate when you grew up thinking that round the Isle of Wight was an extended passage, and yesterday another came to us. Since we left UK last September we have persistently been on a Westerly Longitude and so it was with some surprise to wake up this morning to find the plotter confirming that we were now in the Easterly. Logic prevailed and we acknowledged that Zephyr had passed another milestone but brought with it the realisation that she still had half the world to cover before getting home.

Over the past 24 hours the winds have calmed down considerably, at moments reducing us to motoring, but as I sit and write this missive, we are back with a breeze and doing 7 kts on our way to Suva, the capital of Fiji. Zephyr's layout makes her magical to sail two-handed despite Janette's conflict with a dubious tin of sardines - regrettably purchased with a whole family as we succumbed to the bulk buying temptations on offer in Costco, Honolulu. Everything is so well laid out that reefing can be done single-handed while our fine stove produces morning pancakes!

Depending on the arrival of parts, we plan to move on to Vanuatu and/or New Caledonia later next week. So, for the moment there will be a go-slow on our news but we look forward to sharing some of the Fiji fun shortly. Thank you to all those who have kindly posted on the blog - it is heartening to know that we are being read. There are still spaces on the next legs if anyone would like to join us.

Pic shows us arriving in Savu soaked!

All about last night...

31 August 2017 | 16 23'S:178 16'W, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
JD
The moon is out projecting a prefect beam in front of us to follow and the waves are barking at the railing ! The air is warm and the noise of the waves impressive. Some are much higher than the railing and we can see them arrive from afar. Not scared but it's all quite violent and the noise of the woush under us is impressive at the least. Highest waves I have ever seen but feel perfectly safe on Zephyr. One wave while leaving port washed out the whole cockpit and we have been attached since.

The ensign is straight out and the easterly was blowing 32knts when we left and is now averaging 23-25 knts, speeds going from 9-10 to 13.6 ! ... In the past 48 hours we have sailed 380 nm which is 'quite' a lot!!

Now the winds have finally come down a bit and Fiji is about 12 hours away if we keep this windspeed. Exciting.. Fiji.. as a kid, I said I would sail the world.. and now am actually sailing to Fiji...Fijiiii next ahaha wahouuu !

Dinner two nights ago was not so easy to prepare, so while I was on watch, thought I would have some sardines & crackers....some time later it seemed the sardines had come to life again !!! and the food poisoning set in...oh boy, I thought I was done with the seasickness, but having a food poisoning on high wave is def not my idea of having a perfect 'trip'! So mostly have kept up my watches but Micky very generously gave in some hours for me to recover, rest seemed impossible...after so many nice ice-creams in Samoa not a big problem.

Samoa has been a beautiful place to visit, so clean, so green, so beautifully kept, plants everywhere kept immaculately and the grass is kept short, no 'eye' violence, no noises but smiles, where they actually sweep the grass, the dead are buried next to or in front of the houses, they have a meeting house, which is an open space, where all is discussed being problems or religion, or just a place out of the sun or rain to relax, no plastic flying around and wonderful coral reefs to snorkel off too; this island is a true paradise on earth where the people have made it a real Eden.

Now am doing much better and it's just so wonderful outside. The everlasting easterly and the lovely long rolling waves...and have discovered two new birds, one white one and one black one with a white chest and a long tail..otherwise nothing else around but the 360* blue blue south pacific.

Snap from chart-plotter shows Zephyr passing Zephyr Bank

Back on the Move

30 August 2017 | 15 11'S:175 22'W, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
MStA
After 6 days in idyllic Samoa, we have set sail again with Suva, the capital of Fiji, as our next destination. This time we are doing it two-handed - Janette and Micky - and the first 30 hours have been lively. With an Easterly wind gusting up to 30 knots, we set out with 2 reefs and shortened jib and have not adjusted since, as we bounce our way south westerly on what should be a 4 day passage.

Weather has been kind so far with limited rain but enough to keep us fresh. Forecast for tomorrow suggests that winds will die down to high teens - perfect sailing conditions for Zephyr. While there were plenty of supplies in Apia, and we are well stocked, the current conditions are not encouraging a gourmet feast!

Apart from our still non-operative genset and a cough and splutter from the main engine this afternoon (followed by a speedy return to normal service) everything seems to be working well - particularly the auto-pilot which has had to cope with some challenging waves.

Given that Zephyr was designed to be sailed two-handed, everything is remarkably easy to handle and we are comfortably positioned for the rest of the passage.

I see land!!!

22 August 2017 | 13 49.73'S:171 45.79'W, Hawaii to Samoa
JD
Must say, it's quite a feeling after 14 days at sea when all of a sudden from afar, one can see the silhouette of an island. Not much is said on board as we all live our moments towards the getting back on land.

SAMOA ! Like a cry from the gods...wouw...we did it...2200 nm and we really feel we have arrived at the other end of the world. Everything and everyone seems far farrrr away.

Samoa, at first sight, an amazing lush green island with its big eye-catching cathedral and colourful buses driving along the shoreline. As the harbour is so tiny, and fits no more than 20 boats with a draft of max 2 meters, we find ourselves at anchor at 11.30 am and we will effectively spend some more time 'afloat'.

Our watches have been set forward... we are lost as apparently our tomorrow of yesterday didn't exist... as we just jumped a day! From the 20th straight onto the 22nd!

The rest of the day was spent going from one authority to the other, customs, health, immigration, finally all done by 6pm. A quick dinner and all exhausted in bed and very happy to have a quiet horizontal sleep!

In the last stretch

21 August 2017 | 12 57.81'S:171 28.8'W, Hawaii to Samoa
MStA
When Zephyr flicks her tail, you need to be sure you are holding onto something because she can easily fling you across the boat if you are not paying attention. And that is what we have seen as a combination of swell, waves and a boat speed that has often exceeded 10kts has kept us all on our toes.

While rubbing some bruised part of my body, my admiration for the round the world race boat crews, who are averaging 30kts, went even higher as I tried to envisage the g-forces that they have to endure. Sunday ended up being a peaceful day, with limited squalls - although one was a real drencher over Lalo - and the daytime heat seriously oppressive.

We shook out the night's reef and coasted along for most of the day at around 7kt. Come the evening we reefed again in light of forecast thunderstorms, and this is coming to you as I enjoy my penultimate night watch before we arrive in Apia, Samoa tomorrow.

It has been a good passage and everyone on board has made a significant contribution to get us to the point of having just 100 miles to go. Zephyr is holding up well, bar the miscreant generator, and we hope to have lunch onshore if we can clear customs in time.

In 2000 miles we have not seen a single vessel (but the AIS did announce a cargo vessel in our vicinity); we have seen one set of dolphins, and a few birds have tried to land on the cross trees. Unlike the passage from LA to Hawaii, we have seen almost no debris, some spectacular sunsets and amazing views of the stars.

We are very fortunate to be able to enjoy such an extraordinary experience. Do hope that one or two of our readers will consider coming on the Fiji/ Vanuatu/ New Caledonia/ Sydney legs.

Knickers and all...

20 August 2017 | 09 23.35'S:170 16.44'W, Hawaii to Samoa
JD
Going to the head on a boat...

Having finally come to the point where one can do the 'big commission', one realizes it (always) happens when the waves are at their strongest...so you enter the head and Zephyr at least has a big one, one lowers ones shorts & knickers while balancing like it's the best circus act you will ever perform, then you cling onto the sink with your hands and with legs wide apart, as to not fall off the already not so tight toilet seat ... the 'relief' happens and what a joy! Waves getting better, where is the toilet paper ??!! ahh 'slightly' gone humid, you wipe and stand up and look at your artwork, but then ohhh djeeeh the waves and you def. want to keep all of that in the bowl, so with your shorts still below the knees and your knickers on the knees you start flushing furiously, ahhh another one of those waves and you spread out better, one hand against the hatch to push you down, wonderful it's all flushed away and then some algae shows up !!! making the head look dirty so you k eep on flushing with yessss your knickers still at knee height ! Hopefully the door will not swing open at this particular moment !! Please save me from that embarrassment !

Then finally, the moment arrives on pulling up your knickers and your shorts...Not so easy as hands are free now, the boat is wizzing at 9knts an hour, legs too wide spread to 'just' pull them up, so in free air and bounched around, you finally end up finishing the job...piuffff now out of there until it all starts all over in a couple of hours...

Coming out someone says... All ok dear ? ahahahaha I laugh, if only they would have seen me in there ... and... thank god that I am in the Pacific and no oilies needed !

Other 'grand' news of the day... - 1 day and 15 hours to go.. happy to see land but it's also so wonderful to be out here in our own little world - Micky's morning courtesy flag hosting has cost us lots of internal competition as to how to get it down without going up the mast, 9 hours later and we still haven't managed it..ahhhh yesss Lalo just did it with a loop in the halyard...well done !!! - another great bread is made on board, DS, thanks for the great recipe - Lalo's rice pudding, also homemade, has def got a much better taste today - we still have 2 reefs in and we are still flying at an average of 7.5 kts... we are really flying off these nice big waves ! How much bluer can blue be ? - Chris still no green flash and we miss you on board... - and .. .where is that submarine ?? :-)

Pea soup in the Pacific

19 August 2017 | 06 16.17'S:169 04.09'W, Hawaii to Samoa
GN
Today was one of those days in which you ask yourself "What am I doing here?" "Why am I doing this!?" Having your eyes stuck to the radar analysing the best way (or least bad) to avoid squalls is getting rather stressful. Since last night squalls seem to put themselves together to surround us. Although I must admit that watching the radar post-operative and ask yourself "Did I just go through all that without even get wet?" is fantastic. It's like the warm shower after a 25-knot sail in winter. This morning we decided to put in the second reef to go a bit more relaxed. That's not entirely true because sometimes you need that extra half knot to get away from a squall.

Around mid-day we had to engage our ASMO (Anti Squall Modus Operandi) after catching a moderate squall 12 nm away. We would wait 20 min to watch the radar again and understand which way the squall was moving. Late. In less than 15 minutes we had the dark grey cloud over us. Wind started to gust 20...25...28... 30... It started to rain (great, I needed a shower!) And that is when we decided to turn around and get away from there. You never know what you can find further in...

In today's picture you can see how beautiful is to finish avoiding a squall and see that you have a beautiful rainbow ahead... and more squalls...

Hoy fue uno de esos días en que te preguntas "¿Que estoy haciendo acá?" "¿Por que estoy haciendo esto?" Tener los ojos pegados al radar buscando el mejor camino (o el menos malo) para esquivar las tormentas ya pasa a ser un tanto estresante... Desde anoche que las Squalls parecen ponerse de acuerdo para rodearnos. Pero mirar el radar post-operativo y preguntarte "¿Yo pase por ahí? ¿Sin siquiera mojarme?" y sentir el alivio de que todo ya paso... es fantástico. Es como la ducha calentita después de un día de 25 nudos en invierno.

A la mañana decidimos poner el 2do rizo para andar un poco más tranquilos. Eso es relativamente cierto porque a veces precisas ese medio nudo mas para esquivar un Squall!

A eso del mediodía tuvimos que activar nuestro ASMO (Anti Squall Modus Operandi) porque detectamos en el radar una Squall a 12 millas. Esperaríamos 20 minutos para volver a ver el radar y entender para donde se movía. Tarde. En menos de 15 minutos teníamos la nube negra encima. El viento empezó a subir, 20..24...28...30... Empezó a diluviar con el viento ( genial, precisaba una ducha!). Ahí decidimos pegar la vuelta y escaparle al Squall. Nunca se sabe que hay adentro...

En la foto de hoy pueden ver lo hermoso que es terminar de esquivar una tormenta y ver que adelante tienes un arcoíris... y más tormentas...
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shipman 50
Hailing Port: Lymington
Home Page: www.yachtzephyr.com
Zephyr's Photos - Main
the boat
6 Photos
Created 22 August 2014