Passage to the Marquesas: Day 3-6

Monday afternoon we worked hard to cross the rhumb line motoring into the sizeable waves and it took a lot of time, effort and fuel….which gave us a bit of a wobble….. We talked, and thought about it, and realised that we were being daft and had to remind ourselves we’re in a marathon not a sprint! And we need to adapt to the weather better. If the wind comes from the wrong direction – deal with it.
So, in a more relaxed frame of mind, once we were five miles south of the rhumb line we found the wind and ceased the fight. We hoisted the sails and took off beating into the wind which was exhilarating and lumpy….and we continued to run slightly south but at least we were moving generally in the right direction again.
We were surrounded by rain clouds and lightning by the time we had dinner and we were bashing into the weather hard with winds now up to 20 knots. Thankfully the storms passed behind us and the wind started to moderate and backed off…so we eased the sails to reflect that we were now reaching. Ironically, though the decision to motor across the rhumb line was made for the wrong reasons, the strategy did actually work!
By midnight the wind was on a broad reach and sticking around the 10-15 knot range….although the seas were quite large. But we were making good way and running parallel with our rhumb line.
By Tuesday morning (Day 4) the wind had continued to clock and we were on a downwind run under poled out genoa only. Come 9am we had covered another 124 miles despite our setbacks the day before.
There was no sunrise again due to 100% cloud cover but the clouds did eventually break to give us a short-lived sight of the sun at around noon. Then the clouds filled in again and the batteries started to decline so we motor sailed for a while, using low revs to conserve fuel. The wind picked up and we had squalls all around – with a massive system to our starboard side – and the wind got up to 22 knots so we reefed down.
By midnight the wind had returned to the south east and moderated down to 10 knots again so we shook the reefs out and amended our course trying to run parallel with the rhumb line. We continue to average more than 5 knots boat speed per hour so going well. The boat movement remains annoying with the constant rolling from side to side and the odd rogue wave making life onboard a little tough – particularly sleeping and cooking.
By 6am on Wednesday (Day 5) the wind remained in the 8-12 knot range and we continued to run south of the rhumb line by about 12 miles which, in the scheme of things, isn’t too bad. The clouds are heavy again and the seas are grey too – and then by 7am the heavens opened and we had a very heavy downpour which continued most of the morning. By 9am we had covered another 137 miles – our best 24 hours to date.
The rain continued and the sea was blackish and neither of us were particularly happy. I didn’t go to bed as normal because I wanted to try another radio net – Richard hand steered and we shut everything down that could cause interference – but still no luck. I did check the radio and listened to a 24 hour broadcast channel and that was working – so not sure what is going on.
Richard was having so much fun hand steering he decided to give Colin (our autopilot) a rest and continued. When I resurfaced after a couple of hours kip the sun was out and the skies and sea were blue….and we both had smiles on our faces. Isn’t it a lovely day? But the movement is the same – the wind is the same – the direction is the same – in fact everything is the same other than the sun! Think we must both have been suffering from sun deficit LOL.
After dinner we enjoyed a reasonable sunset, the first in a while, the night was cloud free and we even saw stars. For the first time it was possible to differentiate between the sky and the horizon despite the lack of any moon. So it all felt that much better.
By 6am this morning (Thursday Day 6) the skies are heavy again and it remained particularly dark so we think we may be getting close to a different time zone. We are now in an area noted for dodgy weather – we are trying to skirt the top of the zone rather than plough through the middle – hopefully this strategy will pay off too.
At 9am we had covered another 131 miles. The sun came up, eventually, and the wind picked up too. Morphie was getting pounded running downwind with the pole up so we put away the pole, pulled out a reefed main and reefed gib, and steered closer to the wind. The seas are large (3m/10ft) and we are still rolling but not as madly as before.
Detox continues with no alcohol and lots of vegetables before they turn bad….. We are also taking rehydration powders every few days as the water we are drinking – from the water maker – is, in many ways, too pure. Dehydration is the main worry so we are doing this as a preventative measure to ensure good health.
We are both feeling tired but happy. Morphie is loving her time at sea although she’s not so keen on the kamikaze squid and flying fish that jump on her to die each night LOL.
Bye for now Jan