Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wind on the beam

We had an uneventful sail through the volcanic Ha'apai group last night. I'd been shown an old Admiralty chart which describes an island off the Ha'apai as varying in height from 50m underwater to 20m above water. Fortunately no sub-terrain volcanic action last night.

The sailing has been great so far, with 20 knots of wind on the beam making the motion much less rolly than our long downwind passages. In a confused moment after waking up today, I thought we must be at anchor such was the gentle rocking motion (Ellen disputes this). We've been making good progress as well, with a respectable 154 nautical mile daily run. However it's a while since we've been on passage and we're taking our time to adapt again. Ellen decided to try to make this passage Scopoderm patch-free, which has turned out to be a mistake. A patch is now in place and she's feeling better, hopefully she'll feel able to write an entry tomorrow.

We're 163 miles from Minerva reef and the weather is looking fairly benign so there doesn't seem much to gain in stopping. However we're still sailing in the straight-forward trade-wind belt. The winds will become less consistent in direction and force once we make it south of 25S, where the weather becomes increasingly influenced by the high and low pressure systems tracking their way from Australia to New Zealand. The trick seems to be to time our arrival in New Zealand to avoid head-winds from the leading edge of a high or trailing edge of a low, however we're still too far out to fine-tune our course.

The radar detector is beeping at us tonight, but no sign of the ship responsible. Last night it was volcanic island, tonight it's ships, it's getting colder, but no need for an iceberg watch yet.

Position @ 01:00 (29/10 UTC+13): S21° 37' W176° 58'
Distance to Minerva reef: 163 nmiles
Daily run: 154 nmiles

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