Day 1 - Tonga to Fiji
21 August 2016 | 18 12'S:176 23'W, On Passage
Date & Time: 0845, Aug 22, Fiji Time Position: 18 12S, 176 23W Course: 270
Days at sea completed: 1
Distance sailed in the last 24 hours (nm): 134 Distance sailed total (nm): 134 Distance to go (nm): 273
Wind Speed & Direction (knots): ESE 16-20 Waves (ft): SE 6
We are one day into our short 3 day passage from Tonga to Fiji. After a few hours of motoring to start, the wind has been building as predicted. We have covered about 130 miles, 1/3 of the distance so far. It's blowing almost directly from behind at 16-20 knots. It is predicted to build a bit more, but hopefully to nothing over 25 knots. The swell is about 6' and almost from the beam. It also should build over the next day to about 8' before settling down after we get into the reefs around Fiji.
The motion is a bit rolly-polly because we are deliberately sailing much slower than Speakeasy wants to go. If we were to let her run, she would want to sail at about 7-8 knots in these conditions. It would be more comfortable, but we would arrive late Tuesday night. If we do that, we have to pay high customs overtime charges. So, we are trying to keep the speed under 6 knots, and will slow down more as we get closer.
I was hoping to pass through the reefs of the Lau Group in the daytime, but that is not going to be possible as I can't slow down enough without taking down all of the sails. Right now we are sailing at about 6 knots with just the triple reef main, which means that we will pass the 40 mile section of reefs Tuesday (my Tuesday, Canada's Monday) starting somewhere around 3am. Our route keeps us at least 4 miles from the closest reef so I expect that the charts are at least that accurate! It seems to be the case from my research.
All is working well on the boat and the crew are happy and well fed. We are a little sleep deprived, but that is normal for the first day of a passage as our systems adapt to the sleeping schedule. Just to make things extra fun, we will be reversing the sleeping schedule tonight. Normally I am in the sack from 1am - 6am. But, that's when we will be passing the reefs. I want to be up and navigating for that so I will sleep earlier, and Dee will get to sleep during the night.
By the time I send you another update tomorrow morning, we should be past the reefs and on the home stretch to Savusavu, Fiji.
Picture: The picture is from Weather4d the app that we use for reviewing grib files which show us our wind, waves, rain, etc. along our course. The blue dot on the red boat is our current position. The zig-zag in the course ahead of us is our route through the Lau Group of islands and reefs. The graph at the top of the screen is our predicted wind along our route for the next couple of days.