Frustration in the Pacific
20 October 2015
It has been a couple of days of trying times at sea. The night before last we nursed the boat along at 3-5 knots all night. Yesterday morning on a light NE'ly we nursed the genaker all day again at 3-5 knots and all up managed to clock only 112 miles. What has happened to the SE trades that would have us boiling along at 8 plus knots and covering close to 200 miles a day!
The consoling factor was that Goran landed a very nice Mahi Mahi that went down well over two dinners washed down with a pretty reasonable French chardonnay.
We eventually gave away the genaker late yesterday afternoon as the wind died completely and so it was the iron sail all night. This morning, with a course to steer of 235T with over 900 miles to go, we found ourselves facing a SW wind. For the uninitiated this means we have to sail twice the distance to reach Auckland i.e. 1800 miles, and at 4-5 knots Goran will miss his flight back to Sweden as well as his first board meeting of the month and the quick trip to Porto Heli in Greece to lift his own boat out of the water for the winter! The good news though was that we did have 7-8 knots of breeze so we started out on a port tack, close hauled, and found we were close to heading somewhere not far south of Fiji and although the expectation was for the wind to clock left and thus lift us back onto course it just wasn't happening. We tried a starboard tack for a few hours but the prospect of hitting Antartica and leaving NZ a few hundred miles to starboard was unappealing so eventually we tacked back onto port and headed west, again well off course. By 2300 hrs tonight (Tuesday night NZ time) the wind had clocked from the SSW to SE and we followed the wind around as it clocked left until we got back onto course but still in light winds and still only sailing in the 5-6 knot range.
The forecast remains with light winds for the next couple of days and then on Friday we are expecting a strong northerly followed by a strong SW on Saturday. We need to get well west to take advantage of the SW however at our current speed this is unlikely to be achieved so we potentially face a long beat for the final 200 or 300 miles into Auckland. Bit like playing chess really.
Tonight is probably the best night we have had since leaving Bora Bora with moonlight flooding the ocean, no clouds and all the constellations in full view. I think this is second prize.
Otherwise all well on board, easy to sleep in the light conditions until the cockpit meeting at 1700 hrs each day for a rum.