Friday, May 20, 2011

Enroute to the Tuamotus - Day 20 - LAND HO!

Miles today: 111 Miles Behind Us: 2,376
Miles to go: 12
Wind ENE at 8 kt Seas 1'
Sailing S at 1kt - Triple-reefed Main, Half Staysail

We continued to have excellent weather--winds light but sailable. We averaged a pretty respectable 4.6 knots today, considering the wind never got over 10 knots.

We saw our first land in 20 days at about 4:45pm--just the tops of the palm trees at 7 miles. But as expected, without heroic efforts (ie motoring a lot over the last 24 hours), we couldn't make it to Manihi in enough daylight to run the unfamiliar pass and get safely anchored inside the coral-studded lagoon. So we have opted to just hang out over night and go in around 8am in the morning.

At about sunset, we arrived at our holding point--12 miles NE of our waypoint on the NW corner of Manihi, and set the boat up to "Heave To". This is a maneuver that, when correctly done, sets the boat up at a comfortable attitude to the waves and wind, without actually sailing. And minimizes drift to leeward. We have actually never done this before on Soggy Paws. But it is taught in the ASA Sailing classes, so I have actually done it once or twice in another boat.

According to information we got from another CSY owner, we should be able to heave to easily with a reefed main and the staysail. So Dave triple-reefed the main and we set the staysail up, and tried to heave to in the normal fashion--with the staysail backed to windward, the helm hard over, and the main somewhere in the middle. Well, with 5-8 kts of wind, our big boat with all its windage, and such tiny tiny sails, it didn't work very well. There's not enough force on the sails or motion through the water for the rudder to keep the nose pointed ~60 degrees to the wind, like it is supposed to. We essentially were 'laying ahull'. Not unpleasant, but not the desired maneuver. The solution would be (we think) to put a little more sail area up, but that's too much trouble, according to my chief reefer.

The second problem, besides the too-small main, is that we have a little over a half a knot of current pushing us west. So if we just drift, heave to, or lay ahull, we will end up 6-8 miles downwind of where we are--not really where we want to be.

So we decided to stick with the minimal sail theme, but actually sail along as close-hauled as we can hold it, which somewhat counter-acts the current. The compass says we are currently sailing on a course of about 110 degrees (ESE), but the GPS says we are actually a making a track of about 185 degrees (S) at just under 1 knot. The large difference between where we're pointed and where we're actually going is mostly because of the current.

The GPS says we'll arrive at our waypoint at about 9am. So sometime around sunrise, we'll put up some more sail and try to be outside the pass at about 7:30am. High tide is supposed to be about 7:30, and the slack is about an hour after that. We don't have to wait for full slack to go in. We can manage with a knot or two of current, as long as there's enough daylight to pick out the coral heads. The channel is well marked and we have plenty of waypoints from our friends who have preceeded us.

Can't wait to finally get the anchor down!!
Sherry & Dave

At 5/20/2011 6:59 AM (utc) our position was 14°15.57'S 146°01.88'W

1 comment:

  1. You are almost there. We have SO enjoyed riding along. Once you get in and get settled, I would love to hear how you have been able to post each day - your communications.

    Sabrina & Tom
    s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC
    East Coast - still working toward casting off