Thursday, September 06, 2007

Friday 31st August

At Sea

20 24.024 S
165 19.440 W (at Midnight)

As the night wore on the wind never recovered and we wallowed along doing low speeds and causing the sails to flop around. In the end it got so bad that at 01.00hrs we furled the jib away and turned the engine on – just to 1500 revs which increased our speed to 5.5knots. We motor sailed for the rest of the night and by dawn the winds were still light and the swell was almost non existent. Our forward head had decided to fill with sea water very time we heeled over so the prime job of the day was to change out all the seals on the toilet pump – definitely a boy job! As the weather was so light Gerry did the awful job in next to no time and we have a fully operational forward head again. Everyone managed to have a shower today as we were upright enough in the water not to fall over every time the boat lurched. After breakfast we threw the fishing line in the water – well it keeps us amused if nothing else! Gerry pulled a grib chart off the satelite which showed that the winds were increasing to 15 – 20 knots, gradually we saw 12 – 15 knots and poled out the jib and turned the engine off again. The afternoon proved to be good sailing with us doing an average speed of 6 knots, the sun shone all afternoon, the swell remained small and the sailing was reasonably comfortable – it was time for us to make a decision as to whether to go to Niue or straight through to Tonga from where Abigail had to catch her home bound flight. After much discussion we decided to head straight to Tonga – it meant being at sea for a couple of extra days now and making sure we get to Tonga with plenty of time to spare rather than getting in to Niue and then having to make a frantic dash to Tonga if the weather held out for us. Having made the decision we altered our way point and began to head straight for Tonga; as the afternoon turned to early evening the wind began to increase and when it began to reach 18 knots we took the pole off of the jib and reefed it in a bit. The sun set was quite spectacular (no green flash though) and the sky turned all sorts of dark brooding colours. By 18.00hrs the wind was reaching 21 knots and Gerry went out on deck to put the second reef in the main sail. Of course the swell increased at the same time so we were now hurtling along and being thrown around a good deal. The night watches began roughly with none of us able to sleep very well; the sky was cloudy and the stars were few and far between, the moon only managed an occasional appearance through the cloud cover and then it began to rain – a memorable night all round!



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