Many factors to consider

‘Sailing where the wind takes us’ sounds romantic, but in the end chosing an atoll relies on many factors: we have to reach it tacking through neighbouring atolls so the wind must play along, atolls have only tiny openings that are greatly affected by tidal currents and a yacht must never try to enter with wind against current (resulting in high, standing waves) and thirdly arrival must be in daylight with good visibilty to reach an anchorage through bommie-strewn waters.

Yesterday we were bashing along against 25 knots of winds, heeling so badly that it was barely possible to walk inside the boat while Pitufa jumped over 2 to 3 m waves–but we were making great speed on a good course. Today the breeze is lighter and we’re much more comfy, but we won’t be able to reach our planned destination Toau (uninhabited atoll, cruiser friends are already there) as it is too far to the east. Ahe was another option, but we won’t make it in daylight tomorrow. So in the end we have decided to try Apataki, which we should be able to reach in 2 or 3 tacks and arrive on an outgoing tide (the pass faces west, the wind’s from the east, so wind and current in one direction) with plenty of time to cross the lagoon in daylight. At least that’s the theory–we’ll see ;-)

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