Well, our first 24 hours of sailing found us ahead of Noa - some achievement as they left before us and she's a fast boat, so we were quite elated about that. Today, however is a different story. They are further south than us and experiencing different weather. It seems they had good winds yesterday and last night and are now 30 miles ahead of us! Very annoying! Revision 2 are headed to Apia also, and are at the front of our little group. The competition is fun, but more than that, I like the feeling that friends are also out there. It's hard to describe what it's like when you've been on a long passage with other boats and, thanks to the radio net, you share the adventure and challenge. Then, depending who makes the best time, either you are watching out for them to make landfall, or they are waiting in the anchorage for you to arrive (preferably with a cold beer in their hand and a big laundrette in the background!) It's a unique and wonderful feeling and somehow all the trials and tribulations of the passage seem worth it. Not too many trials so far on this passage though. We had a couple of squalls yesterday and last night, but nothing major. The sea is pretty big and powerful today which always makes for more interesting viewing. I deigned to do some hand-steering this afternoon in an effort to make up some distance (the wind-vane yaws considerably) and I really enjoyed surfing down the waves. I sometimes feel the boat must surely get swamped by some of the bigger crests, but she always comes out on top.
We tuned into the net yesterday to find that disaster had struck our friends on Ragtime. They were making landfall in Tonga and were pushed onto the reef by a strong current. They spent 5 exhausting hours in the night attempting to pull the boat from the coral with the help of their dinghy and 4 anchors. Amazingly, they managed to do it, and both Will and Alyssa are ok, and Ragtime is still floating so things could be worse. We know how terrifying it must have been for them after our experience in Raroia which sounded like peanuts compared to their trauma! What I remember most from Raroia was being so grateful to Will and Alyssa for realising how dire our situation was and taking the time to talk us through our options on the net that fateful morning. We were counting down the minutes to net time, just desperate to talk to someone sensible who would reassure us and offer some objective advice, and they did. I wish we could have helped them on Friday.
We finished the fish tonight and I have seriously had enough of tuna for a while (possibly a lifetime!) Oh for a chicken breast or bacon sandwich! We know of a cruiser who put his fishing line out the other day and hooked a whale! Needless to say he lost the line!
We are currently sailing smoothly at 5-6 knots. We have the wind behind us and are 'wing on wing' ie American speak for 'goosewinging!'
Position @ 2145 local time (GMT-10): S11deg29 W164deg25
Miles to go: 450