A miserable wet night
04 October 2021 | 18 37.463'S:173 06.679'E, At sea from Fiji to Brisbane
18 37.463 S
173 06.679 E
Weather; rainy, wind 5- 15 knots, waves 2.5 meters
Well that was a day and night to forget in a hurry. During the daytime we had a very rolly ride due to the continuing swell hitting us beam on whilst the wind played at guess where we are coming from next! As the day wore on it became obvious that the wind was going to be coming at us from our stern and it didn't matter which side we had the sails out on it would be coming from the wrong side to be able to make good use of. We struggled to keep sailing as much as we could, Gerry fiddled and tweaked the sails in order to keep us moving along but even he couldn't keep our speed above 4 knots so we resorted to using the mechanical wind for the best part of 15 hours. Whilst we only run the engine at low revs to preserve our fuel it gives us just enough momentum to be able to maintain our steerage and direction. When the wind did pick up the engine got turned off but it was only for short periods of time and then we were back to almost wallowing along so the engine went back on. A
s night approached so did the cloud cover and along with it came the rain and lightning. For the most part of the night we were motor sailing along in the pitch black, there was no moon or stars to light the way, the rain pelted down at all angles and despite having a full cockpit enclosure we had rain coming in and soaking all but one of the seats. I think we really need to apply another coat of waterproofing to the canvas. Anyway it was unpleasant and wet everywhere making it a bit cold and added to that we had lightening which is my least favourite thing, I guess it scares me having a very large metal stick poking skywards out of the middle of the boat Ð it might as well have a sign saying "hit me" on it! The good news is that it didn't and as dawn broke the lightening vanished. Running the engine overnight was all well and good but at one point it gave a small hiccough and change in tone which both Gerry and I noticed straight away, the engine went off and Gerry set abou
t changing the fuel filter whilst I tried to keep us steady and more or less on course Ð not an easy task when the wind had dropped away to nothing and we had no forward motion. It's a good job that he is well practised at changing the filters and it was only a few minutes before we could turn the engine back on and get ourselves back on track. The filter wasn't particularly dirty and there were no obvious bits of debris so we are scratching our heads as to what caused the hiccough in the first place. Other than that the night passed without further incident, we tried to get as much sleep as we could, not the easiest as we were still rolling around like a marble in a cardboard box, I think we both have some sleep catching up to do today again. We were in sight of one of the other boats that we started out with all night and have spoken to them this morning, they have decided that the weather has now changed enough for the passage south of New Caledonia to be a viable option
and they are heading that way. Gerry checked with predict wind and sure enough the model looks favourable for a southerly passage so we have altered our course as well and are now heading to the southern part New Caledonia, of course the weather could change again and make us look like idiots but we can only take a best guess as to how it will pan out so fingers crossed. Either way the wind is going to be very light and the swell is going to be dropping away to less than a meter for the next 2-3 days, I see a whole lot of motor sailing in our future!
With the slight change of course we have had to switch the main over to the other side and also the spinnaker pole, this was done straight after we had finished breakfast, it's never my favourite thing but doing it right on top of eating was the pits. We are currently sailing along with a full main and the Yankee poled out making 6.8 knots Ð not that that will last we think we will be lucky to average 5 knots as the wind and swell drops. We aren't doing anywhere near a decent trolling speed so the fishing gear has remained firmly tucked away and out of sight, beside which we have enough food prepared to see us through to Brisbane so we really don't need to catch anything extra, it would just be a waste. In the 24 hours we managed to cover 117NM, not a great total but it is that much closer to home so we can't complain.