[Oops, it appears I managed to post the last half of Liz's last letter several times. The joys of trying to do blogs remotely with the Iridium Mail app. I will fix the blog when we re-enter the world of Internet. Here is the next in the series of Liz's letters home]
Date: 22 Nov 2017 07:02:41 -0000
This is a quick update after my last epistle - partly because there is not much more to say, and partly because it is no fun to sit at the chart table at the moment!
After several leisurely days of sailing/motoring eastwards from New Caledonia, the winds filled in yesterday afternoon pretty much on schedule at the 'point in the ocean' to which we had been heading. We celebrated with a 'right turn party' as we hoisted the sails for the first time in the new direction and our chartplotter waypoint was in the Bay of Islands. It seemed appropriate that our snacks were a combination of stale-ish treats from earlier in the voyage and new treats from New Caledonia. The next milestone will be half-way down the long leg (or about 300 nm to go).
The last 24 hours on this leg have been boisterous once again (thus the short email). Winds have not been too bad (+/- 12 kts) and we have actually had pretty much full sails to keep our forward motion in the building waves, but Fluenta's motion has increased significantly. You heard about FISH TV in my last email; today we have been watching "WAVE TV": the only entertainment is watching the bow disappear into the waves and listening to the sound of the water sloshing by on the side decks. (Our other choice is "AIS TV" but we have only had one contact so far since Saturday, so it is a quiet channel at the moment.)
We expect the wind to build tonight, and are standing by to hoist our staysail, but so far, we are seeing pretty steady 12 kts. Our southerly track is frustrating to watch: the same current that slowed our eastward progress continues to push us west at >1 kt, so we are over 30 nm to the right of our desired track after a only day on this course. Our weather guru (Met Bob) has indicated that this current should reduce and we should run into a southerly current soon which will help our progress in the right direction; we can also anticipate lighter winds at the end if we still need to correct our course. We expect to spend the rest of the week sailing as close to the wind as we can (close hauled to close reaching); I spent all of last evening 'hand steering' with our autopilot remote, changing course a few degrees each way with the wind shifts, as 'wind hold' was oversteering (thus slowing the boat, and overworking the autopilot, with wide rudder movements), but thankfully, Max
was able to adjust the settings during his watch, and we have been holding 45 deg all day with minimal inputs.
UPDATE: The winds built just before supper, so we were able to hoist the staysail in the daylight (crew: Max on the foredeck, Victoria on the halyard, myself on the helm and the sheet, and Johnathan downstairs on Benjamin duty - it was a smoothly-tuned family affair!)
On the suspicion that I might feel even less like sitting at the chart table later tonight, I will send this off now :)
Love to all,