Wrong Way

Miles traveled Day 20: 121
Miles traveled to date: 2,656
Miles to Hiva Oa: 515

OK, last night severely tested my patience. We had the spinnaker out on the pole and sure enough, just after dark the wind changed direction. So instead of plodding along at 4-5 knots towards the Marquesas we were heading northwest towards Japan. The winds were light enough we had to keep the spinnaker up. That meant to change direction we had to sock the chute, take down the pole, jibe the main, put the pole back up on the other side, move the chute around to the other side and redeploy it. There are three lines that hold the pole in place, plus the three lines for the spinnaker. In broad daylight it’s easy enough to get them tangled around each other and the lifelines, in the dark it would have been virtually impossible to get it right on the first try.

So on my 11:00 to 2:00 watch the distance to destination decreased by exactly 2 miles. This morning I woke Rob at first light and we got everything turned around and we headed southwest again.

Last night on the HF radio I talked to Don Anderson, who is an ex-cruiser in California that does weather forecasting for the yachties. He spends all his day building forecasts and reporting on the Mexican nets and advising people making long range passages. He told me that the northeasterly winds in the Marquesas and our lack of wind was due to a huge low pressure system over Tahiti and it would stick around for a while. He also said no one knew why the southeast trades hadn’t filled in this year. Just our luck, I guess. But he also said we should expect 10-15 for the rest of our trip.

And this morning the wind has picked back up to 12-17. We’ve still got the spinnaker up and 17 is about as much wind as we want to carry it in, but we’re making 6-7 knots in just the direction we want to go. So we’ll hope it doesn’t build any more today and we can live with this. As for what we’ll do tonight before dark, that’ll depend on what the winds are then, and hopefully it’s not another night of sailing towards Japan.


Yohelah is here