800 nm in 6 days

We’ve had a swift passage: 800 nautical miles/1480 km in just 6 days. Pitufa is a heavy boat with a relatively short waterline, so she’s best in strong winds, the 20 to 25 knots (37-46 km/h) we’ve had this week were ideal for a downwind passage. Of course strong winds also mean bumpy seas, which makes the life for the human and feline crew a bit uncomfortable. Leeloo got seasick on the first day, but recovered quickly and when we caught a big fish on the third day (a mahi-mahi/dorade big enough to feed all 3 of us for a week) she was already bold enough to climb up to the cockpit despite the rolling boat and shout for her share as soon as she smelled the fish blood on deck.

On downwind passages we have the genoa (foresail) poled out to keep the sail stable and to gain sail area, but when the wind shifts and sometimes comes from the starboard and then again the portside of the stern the foresail must be adjusted accordingly and it used to be a tedious procedure to roll up the sail, rigg the pole on the other side and let the sail out again–especially at night in rough conditions working on deck is splashy, annoying and risky. On this passage we rigged the two poles we carry on both sides of the mast, so sail changes were much quicker and easier.

Last night the wind died down, so we have to motor the last miles to Beveridge reef. Of course it’s annoying to have the Yanmar droning, but on the other hand it’s ideal to reach Beveridge Reef in calm conditions. Many boats on the way to Niue plan to stop there, but most have to abandon the plan, because of rough weather.

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