Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 10- The final push?

Time: 2200 Zulu (noon Hawaii time)
Position: 11-deg 45-min S 162-deg 18-min W
Wind: ESE12 Seas: NE 4-ft, S 8-ft
Avg. Course: 199-deg T
Avg. Speed: 3.9-knots
Rig: 80% and triple reefed mains'l
24-hr distance noon to noon: 93.3-nm
Distance to Suwarrow: 100-nm

The first half of Day 10 brought consistent winds from the E at 9-knots, and very few clouds, in general very nice trade wind sailing conditions. There was a gorgeous near full moon rise just as the sun was setting. We were finally close enough to be in striking distance of our destination, so we again started planning for landfall. From our GRIB forecast we knew that winds should continue to increase over the next few days. As per normal, calculations and more calculations ensued. At sunset we were 150-nm away from Suwarrow, too far to make it to the entrance the next day (today) during daylight hours. The next option, and our current goal is to reach Suwarrow's entrance the following morning, July 4th at the 0845 (Hawaii time) slack tide.

Instead of ending up just off the island right after sunset on the 3rd and heaving to for 12-hrs to await the sunrise, we decided to slow down early in hopes we can time our arrival with only a few hours spent in the dark close to land. This decided, in the quick receding dusk of last evening, we dropped the 80% and replaced it with our storm jib and brought our mains'l down to triple reef in preparation for the forecast increase in winds over night and into the morning. Of course we soon realized in the current barely 10-knots of wind, our full storm rig was not enough to keep us moving our goal of 3-knots on average throughout the night. So, we raised the main back up to the 1st reef and saw the hoped for speeds. After midnight, winds shifted more southerly and filled in to 12-knots. In the morning, we recalculated and decided perfect timing would be 5-knots on average for the day, putting us just off Suwarrow around dawn on the 4th. With the conditions for the day building only to 15-knots of wind, that required putting the 80% back up and pulling the main down to triple reef. As of our noon point, we are on track to make the entrance by sunrise, but we'll just have to see how day 11 treats us. There's always the back up low tide on the 4th at 1346 if we don't quite make the miles in time. We are both ready for a few nights at anchor and are excited to experience this special "cruisers paradise".

[Aside: There is some confusion on the spelling of Suwarrow- different publications spell it different ways. However, Chris came across what seems like a plausible explanation in his readings last night. Apparently the atoll was named after the ship (a Russian vessel, Suvarov) that brought the first European to the atoll. Years later, the name was changed to reflect how Polynesians would pronounce the word (i.e. v sound = w), Suwarrow. Shawn kind of melded both to how it sounds and has been consistent with Suvarrov. Hopefully we will learn more details once we get there.]

1 comment:

  1. Just a few more hours . . . . hope all goes well.

    Happy 4th!