May 21st (Eastern Hemisphere – but not for long!), 2011
Conditions: Bumpy!… 28 deg 57 min South 179 deg 43 min East Wind: 23-30 knots ESE: We\’re in the trade winds now, re-enforced by the South Pacific Convergence Zone fronts to our north. Swell: ESE, 2.5 – 3 meters Temp: 66 degrees F – 18.9 degrees C Water Temp: 69 degrees F – 20.5 degrees C 2 Reefs and staysail Speed: 7.6 knots Heading: 25 deg True 290 nm to North Minerva 725 nm to Savusavu (we\’re just under 1/2 way)
\”Night Moves\”……Bob Seger
Dear F&F, Well, we had a nice sail today in calm conditions until noon. I saw a squall crossing the southerly wind from the east. This is often the harbinger of a general change in the wind pattern. Kate was making lunch and I told her we needed to reef before the squall got here which was happening fast. She said, \”two minutes\”. I said, \”We don\’t have two minutes\”. She came up on deck and took the wheel while I went forward to reef the main. JUST IN TIME! 30 knots blasted us and it would have been ugly with the full mainsail. We waited awhile to see if indeed this was the \”new wind\”, actually the trade winds and indeed it was.
We later put the staysail up and have been in a beam sea ever since. It\’s not the most comfortable sea to have, straight from the side, but that\’s what we expected as we got further north. We\’ve been in 23-30 knots ever since screaming over the wave tops.
So tonight, we moved into the aura of the tropics even though technically that won\’t happen till we\’re just north of the Minerva Reefs. We\’re heading to North Minerva on the assumption that we\’ll be able to make a stop there, but conditions will dictate that. We will also cross the International Date line before morning and go into the Western Hemisphere albeit briefly. The Minerva\’s are in the Western Hemisphere, but Fiji is back on the East side of the dateline. Even if we don\’t stop at the Minerva\’s, we\’re gaining easting in the easterly wind to allow us to fall off the wind to a more comfortable angle later in the sail.
Here on night watch, we\’ve got to watch our \”Night Moves\”. In these conditions, we hope our preparation has minimized outside, foredeck exposure as it\’s really lumpy out here tonight. The seas will build to 3 with occasional 4 meter sets soon per the weather charts.
Kate\’s still pounding away at the \”Day Skipper\” course, I\’m listening to the IPOD and reading. The bilge pump is still easily keeping up with our tiny leak. I\’ll have to fix it in Fiji which will require a quick haul out….oh joy!…:)
Raoul Island is 70 miles directly east of us and we\’ll change navigation software chips tomorrow as the Minerva\’s are on our South Pacific Chart. Raoul and the Kermedecs are on our New Zealand chip and we\’ll be by them in the morning so we won\’t have to worry about going \”bump in the night\”…..
Three other boats are making this journey that we hear on the Pac Sea Net radio group at 0300 UTC. They all left ahead of us and have reported the same conditions we have now.
\”Hey, wasn\’t the world supposed to end today?\” \”No, that happened a couple of months ago. Yeah, I remember…..\”
KIT, Scott and Kate, bumping along, conversing and listening to song