Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On Passage to Lukunor

March 9-11, 2014 265 miles from Ant to Lukunor

After waiting nearly a week at Ant Atoll for the right weather, I can happily say we picked a good weather window!!

Though the weather did do a bit of a double-fake. We had originally planned to leave on Saturday afternoon, but that morning's forecast showed light winds on Saturday, but picking up to about 10 knots overnight and 11-12 on Sunday. So we stayed one more day and had a great snorkel in the pass at Ant Atoll (where, it seems, the current is ALWAYS flowing out).

But at sunset on Saturday, we were kicking ourselves for not going, as the wind seemed very nice. Overnight, however, the wind died again and we awoke to glassy conditions in the anchorage. I got an updated forecast and the forecast was modified a bit--so the wind forecast for Sunday was only about 10 knots and not picking up a little til Monday. Typical. 10 knots going dead downwind in a heavily-laden cruising boat is barely enough. Heck, we're going anyway.

So us and Westward II motored out the pass about 8am. Fortunately, we got a little wind after we got outside the atoll. It looked like really nice wind, in fact. However, that didn't last very long. 2 hrs later we were motoring. Since we'd not gone out the night before, we needed to make at least 4 knots to get in just before sunset in 2 days.

We took advantage of the motoring to finally make some water. There was so much rain in Pohnpei we hadn't yet re-commissioned our watermaker. So while motoring, we made about 80 gallons of nice pure RO water... mmmm... Until we couldn't hold another drop.

We also had more autopilot issues. Dave had done quite a bit of messing with the autopilot while in Ant, and it had seemed to be working. But motor unit that he'd just repaired went goofy again, with the same symptoms as before...it would turn left but not right. So he swapped in another spare, and had the same thing happen... hmmm... maybe it isn't the motor part of the autopilit? So then he swapped in a spare "control head"--and FINALLY--our autopilot is working like it should be (it has been very "wandery" for the last year or so). We have now used this for about 48 hours straight and all is well.

So, about 5pm, the wind came up enough (and we spent an hour changing our pole from starboard to port), we finally turned the engine off. We sailed all night with just the genoa at 3-4 knots, with wind about 150-160 relative at 5 knots apparent.

In the morning, (with much groaning of the crew), we again changed our sail to put out the Code Zero. This is a big light air sail on a small roller-furler... somewhat like an asymetrical, but which can be roller-furled and left in place. We had never tried this big sail on a pole--thought our pole was too short for this big sail. But this turned out to be a wonderful combination--and our speed picked up by almost a knot.

So for the last 36 hours we've been quietly coasting along, almost dead downwind, at around 5 knots. It's really pleasant sailing, with no threatening clouds, and beautiful moonlit nights.

We had been sweating making Lukunor (aka Leukinoch) by sunset today, but with the extra speed, no problems.

Westward II had their big asymetrical up the whole time, and are about 20 miles ahead of us.

We've been talking to 3 other boats on the SSB all underway during this nice weather window. Challenger and Kokomo are going from Pohnpei directly to Puluwat (north and further west than us), and La Gitana is coming up from the equator (he came up from the Solomons about a month ago) also toward Puluwat.
At 03/10/2014 11:35 PM (utc) our position was 05°38.23'N 154°16.55'E

1 comment:

  1. That five knot sail in the moon light brought memories and goosebumps. Oh to be out there again on those beautiful high seas. Nothing like it.
    Bill and Soon at home