Fiji to NZ - Day 4
30 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
Nov. 30 Another beautiful day! We're still motoring, as the wind has dropped to be of no use to us for propulsion.
Since we started using Backup Bender as our autopilot, I've been having to hand steer during the time that Eric attempts to send and receive our messages, and download our weather forecasts, over the SSB radio. This is because Backup Bender is more sensitive to the frequencies we use for these purposes, causing him to steer all over the place while we're transmitting. I liken it to tickling him under the armpits, while he's trying to drive.
We took regular Bender out of duty after he began driving with twitchy movements, a day or so ago. It's good to have two complete autopilots. Other than his sensitivity to our radio transmissions, Backup Bender has been doing a great job.
What all this means is that if I wanted a chance to have fresh forecasts in the morning (I did), I'd have to hand steer immediately after coming off my 4-7am watch, rather than doing what I really wanted to do, which was to take a snooze. The propagation in the morning has been so awful, that it's taken more than an hour to get the forecasts, if they come in at all.
After two days of this, I decided that I could live without fresh forecasts in the morning, and just use the evening forecast instead, since we're both up and fully-snoozed at that time of day. (Forecasts are updated four times daily, but propagation is best in the morning and evening.) We started that schedule today, and I like it already: propagation is better in the evening, so I don't have to steer as long, and I don't miss my nap.
We had a couple of fly-bys today: a masked booby and a red-tailed tropicbird each did some laps of SCOOTS, checking us out. I was particularly pleased to see the tropicbird. They're one of my favorite sea birds, and I only see one or two of them as I travel between NZ and Fiji; never once I get to the tropics.
Conditions were light enough today that we were able to play cards in the cockpit this afternoon. Five games of Spite & Malice. I won four of them, giving me bragging rights as �"Queen of the Universe.�"
We took the mainsail down this morning in preparation for the north winds that are predicted to pick up today and tonight, so that we could run with two headsails. Sure enough, the wind began to fill in from the north in the afternoon. It was almost immediately too strong for our Code 0 sail, so Eric rigged up our jib and staysail, wing on wing, which allowed us to give Y the M a rest, while the wind blows SCOOTS south.
Noon position: 24* 20.05'S, 177* 30.52'E
Miles gone at noon: 415 Miles to go: 649