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 the radio net for boats on passage this morning, I had to repeat our course twice, until the moderator finally believed me and added ‘oh, you’re going in the wrong direction’.

We didn’t take this decision lightly, but Pitufa sails well to windward and we’ve done it before when going from Tahiti to the Gambier and from Tahiti to the Marquesas. We set out yesterday in full foul-weather gear into a southerly wind of 20 knots in pouring rain and only about 18 degrees Celsius at the end of a trough that brought nasty weather, but we wanted to get a headstart going with this system. We got seasick like never before with this rough start–poor Leeloo was the only one to throw up though (3 times, to make up for the rest of the crew), but at least we made 120 nm on the first day. Today it’s much more pleasant, sunny and light winds (Leeloo’s already munching cat food again), but while the grib files insist that we have 15 knots from the south, we get 10 knots from the east-southeast instead–and are driven way to far north. Well, Wayne Vaney the windvane is set on a windangle of 50 degrees and we’ll see where he’ll take us. The Cook Islands are spread out f
rom north to south, so we’re bound to manage to get to one of them.

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