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Aug
31

Weather forecasts

Each time we set out on a nice looking weather window it turns out that the wind is blowing much harder than predicted and also more easterly. Pitufa’s stomping bravely into the 20 and more knots of wind and lumpy seas, but we are pushed too far south so we have to make a few extra miles and a countercurrent of about 1 knot doesn’t… Continue reading »

Aug
31

Goodbye Palmerston

We set out from Palmerston this morning into squally weather with strong winds and lumpy seas, caught a tuna within the first hour and did some extreme-fish-filetting (maybe a new discipline for the olympics?) We all got slightly seasick, so it seems it’s not the sailing that makes us seasick, but the breaks in between. Now I understand the motivation for these non-stop-round-the-world events.

Aug
29

Lazy Sunday

We’ve just come back home from a Sunday with our host family (church, lunch, hanging out), checked the weather forecast and it looks like we’ll have a Northeasterly window from Tuesday to Thursday which should take us down to Rarotonga where we can have our next break while waiting for Southeastlerlies for our final leg up to French Polynesia. Christian’s actually feeling better, so just… Continue reading »

Aug
27

Palmerston – an interesting little community

We are still at Palmerston atoll (Cook Islands), which unfortunately has no pass into the lagoon, but the islanders have put out 9 moorings to the west of the outer reef. The first two days we had southerly winds, which made the open anchorage very rough, but as soon as the wind turned to the Southeast the seas calmed down, even though it’s still blowing… Continue reading »

Aug
24

Stopover in the Cook Islands

On our way east, the Cook Islands lie conveniently outspread to break up the long passage into small hops.

Aug
23

Palmerston

We were racing all day long yesterday averaging 6 knots, but we still didn’t get to Palmerston before midnight. Fortunately a boat we know from the Marquesas and the radio net gave us the exact coordinates of the mooring here, so we managed to pick up a buoy in the dark.

Aug
22

Pleasant sailing

Surprisingly enough the dreaded journey eastwards turns out to be more pleasant than the passage in the ‘right’ direction two months ago. Instead of the sickening rolling motion that we were used to downwind, Pitufa is now ploughing along in fortunately light winds (15 knots from the SSE) doing steadily 60 degrees on the wind. We’re not heeling too much and the boat seems calmer… Continue reading »

Aug
21

Good start

We set out at noon again, going through the pass with 20 knots of wind against current was quite exciting–fortunately we had all hatches closed tightly and we hadn’t lost our sea legs thanks to the bouncy anchorages… We had a humpback whale jumping next to Pitufa right after the pass, caught a big yellowfin tuna half an hour later — looks like it’s going… Continue reading »

Aug
20

Grib files

Looking for weather windows is an annoying pastime. Especially at times like now with a trough moving through (we have squally weather here now) the forecast models change every few hours. Today we have already requested 3 grib files via SSB radio, each time they look different and none of them is in accordance with what’s actually happening outside at the moment… We then start… Continue reading »

Aug
19

Break at Beveridge Reef

Early this morning we reached Beveridge Reef with the last dying breeze. Just in front of the pass two whales surfaced just next to the boat, spouted a few times and disappeared again with a last wave of the gigantic tail fin. We have used this welcome break in the passage to wash some things that got salty underway, air out towels and clothes, go… Continue reading »

Aug
18

Slow sailing

The wind has finally shifted to the north, but we were pushed too far south already to reach Beveridge Reef before dusk, so we’ve slowed down to get there tomorrow morning. Entering an uncharted submerged atoll at night didn’t seem very tempting, despite the fact that we have our old GPS tracks to follow.

Aug
17

Retracing our steps

We left Niue at noon today and are sailing in SSE-SE direction. Hopefully the wind will shift further N soon to allow us more easting.

Aug
13

Back in Niue

Yesterday it was blowing hard from the Southeast again, we set the windvane to ‘go-as-hard-as-you-can’ and Wayne Vaney sailed Pitufa straight towards Niue. When we contemplated the evening grib, we found that he was probably right: there’s a phase with easterly winds coming up–no good beating into that. Instead we decided to take a break in Niue and wait for the next clocking of the… Continue reading »

Aug
12

Tonga’s health services

Tonga’s a developing country, but the hospital is surprisingly well equipped, the staff friendly, services are free for locals and very cheap for non-residents, but they don’t have enough doctors (a few GPs, one ear-nose-throat specialist, a pediatrician, a radiologist, one surgeon who has to play specialist for everything else and two part-time surgeons) and therefore the waiting halls are full–we spent 30 hours in… Continue reading »

Aug
11

We are sailing in the wrong direction!

Hundreds of boats sail across the Pacific towards the west each year riding the easterly trades, but only a handful sails eastwards–at least in the trade wind belt. Tough boats from New Zealand who want to sail to French Poly take a ride on the westerlies way down south in the ‘roaring fourties’ and ‘screaming fifties’–their names speak for themselves… When I checked in on… Continue reading »

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