Passage to the Marquesas: Days 19-21

Wednesday (Day 19) continued along the same lines… squalls just pretty blue all around. Was a lovely day despite the slow boat speeds. During the afternoon we experienced a wind shift which meant that we were now running south away from our rhumb line rather than parallel. We decided to slog on rather than gybe back and tried to correct as wind shifts again. With hindsight this proved to be the wrong decision as we got pulled back into the squalls area. By the evening we were about a degree above our final destination so we felt like we were not losing too much ground.
During the night it all went pear shaped again. The squalls came through thick and fast with 35 knot winds and torrential rain. The squalls were huge and there was no dodging them. The winds shifted constantly – up to 50 degrees at a time – and all we could do was keep correcting our course to continue running downwind very slowly so we didn’t feel the full force of the weather systems. Our track looked like a drunk headed home in a straight line from the pub and we had added miles to our journey…. Sigh….. Oh yes and, of course, with the weather came huge seas and that damn rolling motion again. We both found it difficult to sleep in these conditions so were increasingly sleep-deprived.
Thursday (Day 20) morning and the wind swung further north. This gave us a chance to beat back up towards our rhumb line to get away from the deadly swells bowling alley. So we put away the pole and pulled out the main and genoa. We took off rapidly and it felt great to be moving properly through the water again. Sadly not all of the miles were making way but hey at least we got rid of that rocking and rolling and Morphie had stopped creaking down below. So we were able, at last, to get some sleep. Sadly our 24 hour total was a dismal 106 miles…but considering what we had been doing running before the storms we can’t grumble too much.
Thursday afternoon we crossed our rhumb line and started running parallel again. Sadly the wind died…….and the going was painfully slow……at 2-3 knots only. But, again, still too far from our destination to motor yet so we just put up with it. Beautiful day though with a huge pod of dolphins running towards us like eager puppies showing off their jumping skills as they raced towards us to play in our wake.
Overnight we ended up wearing our foul weather gear because of the constant rain showers. Was a pretty miserable and wet night with a few course adjustments to cater for the wind shifts and holes left behind as they go through. Still little wind and very slow….
This morning, Friday (Day 21) and we remain running downwind towards our destination. Our 24 hour total was less than a hundred miles and there is no change in the wind strength forecast until Sunday night. So we will just have to continue going slowly until we can pick up speed again when / if the wind fills in. Very tedious and frustrating and not the beautiful blue skies fast downwind passage that we had hoped for. Never mind – we are well and Morpheus is keeping us safe. Morale goes up and down and has a link to the strength of the wind. Never thought I would get excited when I saw 3+ knots SOG!
We have just had another massive squall come through – which gave us a lift for about half an hour – but sucked all the air away. We can’t sit around bobbing in no wind so have reverted to motor sailing. We are conscious of fuel conservation so the minute we get enough wind to push us slowly forward we’ll turn it off. Fingers crossed that it is not too long away.
We really don’t have a clue when we will arrive now – we still have 615 miles to go – but will keep you posted.
Bye for now Jan