Passage to Nuie – part 2

Wednesday morning (6 September) we were sailing nicely on a beam reach and were enjoying ourselves despite the occasional rogue wave knocking us about a bit.
During the afternoon the wind went further behind the beam so we furled the main away and continued running downwind under the genoa only. We made great progress and were eating up the miles. It remained squally so we got wet now and again but we didn’t mind. By 18.00 we were able to calculate our 24 hour progress and were delighted with the almost 140 miles covered. But this news turned our passage plan on its head when we looked at the remaining mileage and realised that running into this weather trough was going to cause us to rethink our strategy.
We had calculated the passage to Nuie for the forecasted light airs and a slow boat speed of just under five knots which would have meant we arrived early morning into Nuie on Friday. The new calculations gave us an arrival late evening or overnight on Thursday if we maintained the pace. We reworked the numbers but realised that a Thursday afternoon arrival was not possible so we have to slow down to get there on Friday morning. Damn! Was having so much fun……
So Wednesday night and into Thursday we continued to run downwind on a reefed down genoa trying to keep our speed below five knots. It was a pretty cold and wet night and we were both a bit frustrated to be going so slowly but needs must.
Thursday morning and it remained grey, cold and miserable. We ate a hearty breakfast and were pleased when, around 11.00, the sky cleared and the sun came out. The sea, however, was a bit more confused and we were being thrown around a bit. Certainly challenging conditions in the galley!
By 15.00 it appeared the trough had moved away as we were back to light airs, running downwind, across beautiful blue seas….and even the swell had reduced. Yay!
Overnight the conditions remained benign…and at about 3 am this morning, Friday, we sighted lights from Nuie. We are now running along the west coast very slowly waiting for the sun to come up so we can head in towards the mooring field at Alofi, the main town.
Bye for now Jan