Monday, November 12, 2012

Chasing squalls!

It is Day 3 and we are wishing for a little bit of that wind from Day 1. Yesterday was beautiful with the 10-15 ESE, blue skies and sunshine, but just after supper we were shaking the second reef out of the mainsail as wind speed dropped to less than 10 Knots. After midnight, we were being thrown around by 2m swells from south and east and the sails were slatting in less than 5 knots from the east. Neither the windvane nor the tiller pilot were able to hold the SW course to Minerva Reef, so we turned south and then southeast to keep going. Other boats close to us reported that they had either taken the sails down and or switched on the motor at around the same time.

This morning we were excited to see a line of squalls south of us. Wow!Wind! We deliberately changed our course to get some of that wind. And maybe we could get a boat wash at the same time! As we approached the biggest and blackest patch we put a second reef in the main. "Hurrah, we are up to 6 knots plus again!", we sang over the radio net. That elation was short lived. Another hour later we were shaking out the reef again. These squalls seem to be light and static, hardly moving at all, but we are still chasing them to keep moving, even if it is in the wrong direction and at only 4 Knots.

According to the weather sources we will be in zero to light winds for the next two days. This means we may stop at Minerva Reef for a day if we get there in a day or two. But nothing is for certain. At times like this I wish I were on a fast boat like Segue, a large Canadian catamaran which set off later than us from Vava'u but anticipate being in Opua by Friday. They made 224 miles in 24 hours on Day 1!

Our position this morning at 0745 was 21 59 S 176 51 W. We ran 131 miles in 24 hours but probably only 100 in the right direction.

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