ende

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Apr
26

Becalmed

People usually ask us if we’re scared of storms, but our main worry when setting out on a passage is usually that there won’t be enough wind. ‘Being becalmed’ sounds serene and in the Med we had indeed such days when the boat was just sitting on a perfectly flat sea. That’s like being at anchor, you can do whatever jobs are on the list, have a swim in between and enjoy life.
An ocean is hardly ever calm. Even if you’re sitting without a huff of a breeze there’s always wind blowing somewhere that sends waves over large distances. This morning we ran completely out of breeze after a night of flogging sails going downwind in a light breeze. We let the boat drift, rocking and rolling with the stern splashing into the waves and whenever we were turned sideways to the waves we’d roll abominably. We tried to make the best of it, dipped into the Pacific from the swimming ladder and took the cat out on deck for a little stroll.

On the weather forecast the convergence zone looked very slim, we counted on running out of wind for a few hours in between Northwesterlies and Southeasterlies, but the squally zone with rain, turning winds and windsucker clouds goes on and on. Whenever there’s a little breeze we adjust the sails and think we’re finally off again, but after half an hour it starts raining again and the wind dies down. By now we know that we won’t make it to Nengonengo before dark tomorrow, so we’re no longer in hurry. We’ll try to get there Saturday morning (150 nm to go).

Once we’ve reached the atoll we hope that it’ll be calm enough to anchor on the outer reef, get the dinghy into the water and check out an uncharted pass on the NW side that looks doable on satellite pictures. We’ll take a portable depthsounder, GPS and snorkelgear. If it’s deep enough, we’ll try to get Pitufa into the lagoon and then we still have half a day to find a nice anchorage before a strong mara’amu (Southeasterly wind) is predicted to set in and last for a week.

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