Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Minerva to Fiji Day 3: Slow and steady ... light air sailing

Bula!

We have entered Fijian waters, and now have the Koro Sea to cross. Our temperatures have climbed almost overnight to the high 20's/low 30's, and we are drinking lots of fluids to try to acclimatize our temperate selves back to the tropics!

Our wind has been pretty steady for the last 24 hours - sometimes ahead of and sometimes behind the beam, which means that we have gotten some more practice manipulating our genoa with our spinnaker pole. When the wind is ahead (forward) of the beam, we sail the genoa on the same side as the mainsail. When it moves aft of the beam, we furl the sail, lead a new sheet through the end of the pole, and then unfurl it on the upwind side. Many cruisers use this setup for days on end; we have finally joined that club. We had a bit of a chuckle looking at the tracks on our chartplotter from last year, when manipulating the pole was just "one thing too many" and we had to jibe the boat back and forth where now we are just running before the wind. Nice to see a visual demonstration of our progress in skills and confidence!

Our younger generation of crew have been instrumental in these evolutions. This afternoon, Benjamin was taking up my lap, so Johnathan and Miriam did the cockpit jobs, while Max was on the foredeck with the genoa sheet when we poled it out. Johnathan furled the (downwind) genoa with the winch while Miriam eased the sheet. Max led the new active sheet aft from its storage point on the bow (it's not long enough to reach from one side all the way around to the other - we will eventually replace it with a longer line, and this foredeck step will be unnecessary). Finally, Johnathan eased out the line he had just winched in, and Max hauled on the new sheet to bring the genoa out on the upwind side.

Our wind has been in the vicinity of 8-14 kts, which is just right for slow and steady downwind sailing. The sea-state is almost (but not quite) non-existent, and we have been seeing boat speeds anywhere from 3 kts to 7 kts. Other than the usual "running downwind" rolliness, the boat has been pretty comfortable.

Victoria and Johnathan are continuing with their "keep Benjamin from using the iPad" blitz. We have seen more play with stuffies and puzzles in the last two days than we have seen in months. They actually got mad at me at dinner time when I didn't "make" Benjamin come to the cockpit (in a noisy state) and I "caved in" and let him watch a video on the iPod instead so we could have a peaceful dinner. Funny to be already getting parenting advice from my children (maddeningly, they are usually right!) When they are not engaging Benjamin, they can be found reading books, baking (today it was Victoria making bread) and (of course) melting their own brain cells with the iPad!

We are hoping to arrive in Savusavu in another day or so (Tuesday morning).

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2016-05-23 9:30 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 18°02.23'S 179°58.97'W
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At 2016-05-23 4:54 PM (utc) SV Fluenta's position was 16°46.62'S 179°19.69'E

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