Thursday, June 08, 2006

Freshening winds

The days of not touching the sails for days on end appear to be over. The wind has veered from the E to the SE and strengthened. We're back on a broad-reach with the pole stowed up the mast once again. After some experimentation we're sailing with double-reefed main and nearly full genoa. The wind has freshened to around 20-25 knots gusting to 30 knots and with this configuration we're happily sailing along at around 7 knots. With less genoa we appear to pitch more; the current motion is surprisingly smooth; writing this down-below it barely feels like we're sailing above 4 knots. Kika can be quite deceptive in this respect - earlier this evening we were chatting on the SSB when we noticed the speed edging up to 7.5, 8 then 8.5. There was little change down-below, but when we escaped from the SSB and poked our heads out of the companionway, we couldn't believe the contrast. Down below was the familiar snug world of the cabin, outside the full-fury of the ocean seemed to have been unleashed. It was only a passing squall, for which we quickly reduced sail, but it would have almost gone unnoticed had we remained down below.

We had some fun earlier today trying to retrieve the towing generator. This and our solar panel have been supplying us with all the energy we need; we haven't touched the engine since we left. The towing generator pivots from the stern into the water and normally has a line attached which is used to retrieve it. We use the tow generator for around four hours each day to ensure the batteries are recharged. The shackle fixing the line to the generator had fallen off and with the retrieval line mocking us as it streamed out from the stern, it looked as though we might end up towing the generator all the way to Fatu Hiva. However after some thought, and ruling out going for a swim, we ended up hanging over the stern-rail, I manoeuvred a rope on the end of the broom, lashed to another pole between the generator shaft and the vane support while Ellen hung off the other side with the boat hook trying to catch the loop. Eventually we had the two ends of the rope back on board and a loop around the generator. It worked! We quickly brought the generator out of the water and reattached it to the push-pit. With other such minor accomplishments, sail changes, reading, cooking and eating, the days pass surprisingly rapidly.

As predicted there's been a change in order of the boats in our little group. Zefferin have overtaken Revision II and are now hot on our tail. They are around 100 nm NE of us and closing, but we're hoping that if this stronger wind continues we'll be able to give them a decent race to the Marquesas.
Position @ 19:25 UTC S06° 00' W110° 46'
Daily distance run: 141 nm
Distance to go: 1677 nm
Cumulative distance: 1173 nm
Engine hours: 0
Wind: SE 15-20 knots
Weather: Moderate/rough sea, 10% cloud cover, 1011 millibars

No comments: