A mechanical bull, scheming for arrival, lovely sailing weather
23 June 2019 | En route to Savusavu, Fiji, from N. Minerva Reef
Hello! We've been having a good passage from N Minerva. Time has a funny way of running all together, when we're on passage, and it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't sent an update since we left. Sorry about that!
We expected strong winds and 2 meter high, beam-on seas when we left the pass at Minerva. In actuality, the wind had eased a bit and the seas were only about 1.5m and just aft of the beam....so better than expected. But oh! was it bumpy! In addition to those 1.5m swells, choppy waves from two or three other directions also vied for attention, which made the ride like one of those mechanical bulls you see in cowboy bars. Oy. Moving around required hanging on with both hands like being on monkey bars.
The entire fleet at N Minerva Reef - all 9 boats - emptied out on Friday the 21st. Some left in the morning, others in the afternoon. Some were heading to Fiji, others to Tonga. SCOOTS, Rewa, and Gone With the Wind all left at about 4 pm, having calculated that our boats would need about 2.5 days to cover the distance to arrive on Monday morning. And so we three partners in crime exited the pass within a few minutes of each other. GWTW, a 52-foot catamaran, and Rewa, a 65-foot monohull, eventually passed us during the first night out.
We - as well as the crew of Cetacea - having been keeping in touch on the China Net each morning and evening, as well as sporadically throughout the day and night over the VHF radio.
Our goal is to reach Savusavu early on Monday morning, June 24. To do this, we'll need to modulate SCOOTS' speed, an interesting exercise over 2.5 days and more than 400 miles. To this end, we've put one reef, or two reefs, in the mainsail; taken the reefs out; run the motor; adjusted the sails, repeated as needed. It's certainly been an interactive trip!
After the first bumpy night, the sea conditions moderated, the ride became more comfortable, and the sailing has been stupendous! The weather has been fantastic - the wind - though backing from the East to the NE, which made the sail a close reach rather than the hoped-for beam reach, was a pretty consistent 12-15 knots; and there was not a squall in sight! The days have been sunny and the nights starry. I got to see my buddy Scorpio again, with his sharp stinger and red heart. Eric saw a bright, blazing meteor. So it's been good.
This morning, the rising sun illuminated the southernmost Fijian islands along our path - Totoya and Manuku. Land ho! We've long since passed them by, as we sail north into the Koro Sea. Savusavu, the town where we'll clear in with Customs, is about another 100 miles distant. As of right now, it looks like we'll arrive at the entrance to Savusavu Bay at about 7 am.
Dave and his crew on Rewa are several miles to the east of us; Cetacea is within eyeshot, also to our east. Liam and Annie on Gone With the Wind, changed their plans and have diverted to the west side of Fiji, to Port Denarau, to clear in there instead. Tomorrow evening we, the crews of Rewa and Cetacea and Where II, and whomever would like to join us, will raise a Fiji Bitter or Fiji Gold or Fiji Vonu to celebrate our arrival in Savusavu.
Where we are right now: 18 20.58'S, 179 46.37'E
**Remember, you can follow our daily progress at Yachts in Transit www.yit.co.nz, where I post our position and details every day.