Monday, June 17, 2013

Back to Kwajalein

We finally left Bikini on June 5. The wind wasn't perfect for a sail back to Kwaj, but it was as good as it was going to get. The wind had shifted towards the north another 5 degrees and dropped a few knots (065 deg at about 17 knots). We waited an extra day to let the seas go down some, but it wasn't enough. And if we waited any longer, we'd find the wind strengthening again.

We left Enyu, the southern island at Bikini, about 2pm, in company with Challenger. We had hoped to be able to make the course for Roi Namur at the NE end of Kwajalein atoll. But when we got out there and saw the huge seas, we opted for the easier course--to go west around the NW tip of Kwaj, and down "the back side". This allowed us to sail on a close reach rather than hard on the wind, and was a much more comfortable course.

The first afternoon and evening was pretty nasty. We were close-hauled in fairly high winds (18-22kts across the deck) and big seas, so the leeward deck was aslosh with water pretty much all the time. We had a double-reefed mainsail, the staysail, and a tiny bit of genoa out--trying to find a speed that didn't pound into the seas too much.

Our closed chock on the leeward side, which is sealed into the deck with caulking, sprang a leak and was draining salt water into our dish cupboard. This has always been a leaky spot for us, and we have a bowl strategically placed in that cupboard to catch drips. But this cereal bowl wasn't cutting it in these conditions. I noticed water dribbling out of the cupboard underneath the sink and investigated. The area under the sink was aslosh too. So we put a big tupperware box under the leak in the cupboard, and checked it and under the sink every 30 minutes, bailing if necessary. And of course, picture this with the boat heeled 15-20 degrees and getting tossed around in the big waves. And of course, it was while I was trying to cook dinner also... Not fun.

But, on the other hand, we were happy it wasn't happening on the other tack, as that closed chock drains into a bunch of electronics (our nav station, etc).

By dawn the next morning, the wind had moderated some, and we eased out a bit more sail. We could make 6.5 knots comfortably, and were going to round the NW tip of Kwaj before sunset. Most of the afternoon we were only seeing 15-18 knots across the deck.

Once we rounded the corner, we needed to harden up (sail closer to the wind) to stay close in sailing down the in the lee of Kwajalein. We had a fairly pleasant dinner, sailing on the level, no seas, and making our course. But through the 2nd night, the wind dropped and shifted back east, until about 4am, Dave gave up sailing and started the engine.

We motored in through South Pass about 8am, and were at anchor off the island/town of Ebeye, next to our friends on Westward II by mid-day on Friday, June 7.
Sherry & Dave
In the Marshall Islands for the summer.

At 06/14/2013 10:18 PM (utc) our position was 09°20.17'N 167°30.35'E

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