Passage to Fiji – part 2

NOTE: Just found out that we are having technical issues with automatic posting to our blog and Facebook page. Paul is on the case to resolve as we speak but apologies if you are all getting fed up seeing the same posts multiple times!
Thursday 30 May (continued)

The afternoon was beautiful – flat seas, blue skies, the sun was out and we could even discard a layer of clothing. Sadly it wasn’t to last for long. The seas started to build early evening making it lumpy again and the wind picked up steadily throughout the night. The moon never showed up either through the dense cloud cover. Thankfully the engine high temperature alarm did not recur so we made good speed motor sailing northwards.

Friday 31 May

It rained, it drizzled, it was freezing cold and the wind continued to be on the nose so we cracked off to 60 degrees and continued sailing to the north west. During the night it was not pleasant in terms of wet and cold but the wind was manageable at around 23 knots plus higher gusts although we were being cautious and were sailing on main and staysail alone. The benefit of this sail configuration is that the staysail is self tacking so if the wind shifts suddenly (as predicted) then the sail just tacks across on its own.

This morning we were continuing to make good progress and were looking at the weather patterns to decide our next course strategy. We appear, currently, to be just on the upper fringes of the next low pressure area sweeping across New Zealand.

Still drizzling, cold and grey at lunchtime so nothing to report other than we have overtaken our friends on Serenity of Swanwick much to their disappointment and disbelief. The funny thing is that we haven’t actually clapped eyes on them yet! In the afternoon the wind had settled at around 18 knots and, at 60 degrees to the wind, we were enjoying a nice sail (albeit a bit bumpy) under full genoa and reefed main. The staysail is sadly now out of action as the furling line parted from the drum – an easy fix, but I prefer Richard not to go on the bow with tools to take things apart when at sea as the opportunity for bits to disappear over the side is very strong LOL. We can do without it……

By the evening the conditions were sublime. Flat seas, wind coming from the right direction at around 12-15 knots, no rain squalls and we were moving along beautifully. We could even plot a course to directly follow our rhumb line and that is a rare happy moment.

Saturday 1 June

The same conditions made for a comfortable sleep and overnight watches. And, happy days, it continues this morning. We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves right now.

And, of course, within 30 minutes of writing that everything went manic. I was on watch on my own – the wind went behind us, so I furled the main, eased the genoa, ready to run on that alone. Then the wind died….then it changed back and filled in. So out came the main, hardened up on the genoa, and just got her sailing nicely again. Huge rainbow and fast approaching squall with white out conditions….quickly reefed down and took cover. It came through quickly so I let out the sails again. Then the wind died.

I rested up and Richard took over. And it happened all over again…. Our speed really suffered through all this activity dropping to 3 knots at one point. Things appear to have settled once again so we are back on a reach doing 5 knots. Fingers crossed it stays consistent for a while. At the minute we are running the generator to top up the new battery bank.

Bye for now Jan