The Cost Of Wind

Miles traveled day 10: 107
Miles traveled day 11: 128
Miles traveled day 12: 121
Miles traveled total: 1,345
Miles to Majuro: 529

The notion of sailing around the world by harnessing the power of the wind for free has such a romantic ring to it. Sitting in port reading all those glossy cruising magazines always makes it sound so easy. But in the end, as we all know, there’s no free lunch and there is no free wind. After I scoffed at the forecast earlier in the week it did prove me wrong and the wind did pipe up to 20 knots and higher. Then we were reminded of the difference between the calm flat seas of a light wind passage and the boisterous lumpy seas of a big wind passage. The unfortunate fact is that the increase in speed is not linear to the increase in wind velocity, as the boat has to pound through the rough seas generated by the big winds.

The biggest benefits are fewer nights on passage with an earlier arrival in port, and not having to listen to the sails slat back and forth. The drawbacks include bruised limbs from banging into doors and walls and cupboards in the big wind and seas. The meals definitely aren’t as good when we’re pounding, but gourmet eating isn’t a requirement for getting the boat from one port to another (ok, I would never call what we eat onboard as gourmet anyway). As a last resort I’ve still got 3 packets of meat sauce in the freezer and lots of stuffed pasta that Dream Time offloaded in Vava’u because it would get confiscated by the New Zealand authorities anyway.

As for the fleet headed south now, Hello World wrote today that most have left Minerva Reef to sail the last leg to New Zealand. There were about 30 boats in Minerva, which basically is just a hole in the ocean 3.5 miles wide with no visible land but a good sandy bottom. The high that had shut down the wind between there and New Zealand is being pushed away and there is going to be a pretty good breeze for the next few days.

Our forecast is to have a little lighter winds for the remainder of our passage, but not as light as early on. Hopefully the seas will flatten soon and the ride will smooth out. We’re hoping for a Wednesday landfall (atollfall) in Majuro. For now we’re happy to pay the price of comfort versus speed to get some good wind and be done with this passage.

The boat is here.