Saturday, August 20, 2011

Enroute to Suwarrow - Day 4

As of 0800 local August 19
Miles today: 125 Total Miles Behind Us: 513
Miles to go: 96 (1 more day)
Wind ESE at 10 kt Large Southerly Swell
Sailing WNW at 5kt
Sail Config: Genoa poled to port, reefed main vanged to stbd, staysail sheeted in the middle

We motored all day yesterday in mostly glassy conditions until 1am. At our 'change of watch' time, the wind had come up to about 8-9 knots out of the ESE. Since we knew we'd arrive after dark tonight no matter what we did, there was no need to keep motoring once there was enough wind to move at all under sail.

So we set the sails in our nice stable 'Dead Down Wind' configuration, and were surprised to be moving along at nearly 4 knots. We had a nice quiet sail the rest of the night.

Now we are going too fast. Our current ETA at the current speed (10am) of 5.5 knots is about 2am tonight, and the wind is forecast to build to the 15 knot range, so we will probably go even faster. The problem with slowing down is twofold... First, we have been bitten before by slowing down, then have the weather change. Second, to slow down you have to reduce sail, and reducing sail in seas means that you roll more. So we'll keep on at a reasonable speed, and plan to tuck up behind Suwarrow whenever we get there, and heave-to or sail slowly back and forth until daylight. (Dodging our 2 other friends who will also arrive after dark).

We do want to get in as early as possible tomorrow (Saturday), because the winds are building, and the sooner we get in and get settled, the better. The forecast for Sunday is for winds over 20 knots from the SE. Hopefully there will be plenty of room in the anchorage for us to tuck up into a protected spot for the higher winds. The boat count at Suwarrow is now about 12-15 boats, and our little group's arrival will add 5 more. And the normal anchorage is a little exposed to strong SE-ly winds. If the normal anchorage is too crowded, we understand we can get permission from the Rangers to move to a place a short distance away called 'Seven Islands', which is well protected from the SE.

Still having a pleasant sail in mild, sunny conditions. Looking forward to our arrival in Suwarrow!
Sherry & Dave
On our way from French Polynesia toward Tonga

At 8/19/2011 9:28 PM (utc) our position was 13°29.00'S 161°45.98'W

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