Monday, 3 June 2013

the nitty gritty

Written by Rick

The Tuamotus don't want to play with us. We were racing along at 7 knots, concerned that we would arrive in the dark. We reduced sail, by taking down the main, slowing our progress to match the dawn and slack tide. It was all going well, until the wind piped up and clocked around to the south. We spent the night beating into high winds and heavy seas, unable to stand to our course.

Dawn found us almost 15 nautical miles off course and another 15 miles short of our destination. 5 miles from shore, we chose to tack, but conditions had us slogging north-east, away from our destination. The combined distance to tack to the Makemo pass was growing, instead of shrinking.

We decided to furl the foresail and try to motor the 10 mile bee-line to the entrance. Conditions made it impossible to hold a course, and we were only able to make about 1 1/2 knots, most of which was in the wrong direction.

Next, we rehoisted the main, and for the first time set it with a 3rd reef. This made steering a little more effective, but we were still going too slow. So, we are back to beating. We are heading north-east, while our destination is to the south. We are both very frustrated. Just before 11:00am, we tacked, hoping to run down to the pass, but wind and waves are against us. We will need to tack a couple more time, before we get in range of the pass. We doubt we will arrive at the pass in time for the next slack tide. We will have to decide if we stand off for the night, or choose another atoll and spend the next couple of days running down to it.

Position: 16* 27.658' S 143* 35.937' W
Distance: 87 nm
Heading: 187* T
Speed: 3.6 knots

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