Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enroute to Suwarrow - Day 1

We had an easy exit from the pass at Mopelia. Conditions in the pass were better than we'd seen it since we'd been there. The current was still ripping out at 3-3.5 knots, but there was no incoming swell, so it was flat calm. We flew through the pass at close to 8 knots, with no incident.

After a "Man Overboard Drill" to retrieve Dave's hat (outside the pass, in the calm waters) we had the sails set and on our way by about 9:45am.

It was a beautiful day, with about 15-16 knots of wind, well south of east. Of the 5 boats that set out around the same time (Soggy Paws, Dreamaway, Loose Pointer, Blue Moon, and Night Fly), all set out on port tack to take advantage of the southerly direction of the wind. The forecast is for the wind to back to the NE eventually, so staying a little south of the rhumb line will enable us to gybe to starboard tack when the wind goes NE.

We didn't bother fishing--too many other distractions, and Dave doesn't like cleaning fish underway. So we fish when coming into an atoll, but not on leaving. Though from our diving, the fishing near the pass should be fantastic. We saw Wahoo, Tuna, Jacks, and big Snapper on our dives.

We set up in our Dead Down Wind (DDW) configuration, with the Genoa poled to port, the Main vanged to starboard, and the Staysail sheeted in tight to starboard (to stop the rolling). In 15 knots of wind, this is a very stable and reasonably fast configuration for us. In the last few downwind hops, we have tried other configurations and none has worked as well. (Genoa alone on a pole, genoa and reefed main, etc). With this configuration, we have about 45 degrees of directional latitude, so we could accommodate the slow wind shift without a lot of sail handling.

We sailed like this all through the day and until our 1am watch change, when the wind had backed around to a more easterly direction, and we threw the main over to sail on a starboard tack broad reach, in a WNW direction. Unfortunately, the wind had eased during the night and we're slopping around a bit, but it's not too bad. Our speed is down to about 4.5 knots.

Current ETA Suwarrow is mid-day Saturday. 457 Miles to go.
At 8/16/2011 5:42 PM (utc) our position was 16°14.19'S 155°50.92'W

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