Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 1- great sailing, uncertain weather

Time: 0000 Zulu Mon 9/10 (noon Fiji time 9/10)
Position: 19-deg 13-min S 176-deg 31-min W
Wind: ESE 8 Seas: SE 6-ft
Avg. Course: 256-deg T
Avg. Speed: 5.5-knots
Rig: 150% drifter, full mains'l
24-hr distance noon to noon: 132-nm

Up to the last moment, we weren't sure if the weather window was there, but Gulf Harbor Radio's David said the weather looked fine with just a weak trough. So up came the hook at just before 1000 and we were under sail again. Nice breezes with calm seas allowed an easy start to the trip. The anchor was stowed and we were jibing away from the Vavau Group following Chris' pre-made track. The first task was to avoid several fishing devices for which we had waypoints, and the next to avoid Late, a taller island than any in Vavau. It was a mellow transition from the islands out to sea and for once, neither of us has been sea sick allowing us both to fully enjoy fresh cucumber-dill sandwiches for lunch and large portions of Peanut Pumpkin Curry over rice for dinner.

The first 24-hrs we have been moving quickly, there must be a helpful current moving us among all of these uncharted reefs as we easily made one of our largest mileage days ever without even trying. We have uploaded a large database of waypoints that mark uncharted hazards into our GPS, so we can make sure to avoid. Tucker from Convivia also spot checked these hazards against a satellite photo overlay, so we feel confident in our chosen route. Still, the dark but gentle night was spent not straying far from the charted course. Morning weather downloads did not show the weather we were hoping for. The trough is deepening with more convection. Best case, we'll just see a lot of rain, though we hope to be able to get past it before it develops. To do this, we are actively trying to keep our speeds up. When hourly average speeds dropped below 5-knots, we brought down the 80% and raised the drifter. The forecasts we had did not show drifter weather, so we are anxious to download again to see how the forecast has changed. Keep sending us good weather juju.

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