Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hanging out in Opua

Hello All,
I'm sorry its been so long since I last wrote. I have been busy trying to get stuff done on the boat before I leave to go back home on the 14th of December. Folks keep coming in from Tonga and Fiji that I have met in the past so I have been busy visiting also. Tomorrow I am tieing the boat to a floating pier by the marina where I will leave it for a few months. The fees are pretty reasonable and I want it tied to a dock rather than a mooring while I am gone.
Now for the exciting news, Myself and my 2 crew are invited to join Curious to sail down to Auckland where Steve will leave his boat for a few months. He plans on taking 3 days to get down there anchoring in bays along the way. We should be down there by Friday so I will spend the weekend there then catch a bus back up here to Opua till I have to leave for home. I am setting the boat up with some good solar panels and fixing a few things before I leave for home. It should be a lot of fun to sail on a boat that can do 10 knots. I will be taking lots of pictures of the trip so I will share them with you when I can.
That's all for now, so i will talk to you soon.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Hello All,
We are tied up in Opua Marina safe and sound. We got checked in with customs this morning with out any hassle at all. They were very friendly and did it very quickly. We are now in Opua Marina just relaxing and trying to keep the ground from moving. There is a Thanksgiving dinner tonight at the yacht club so we are getting ready for that. I will write more of the last day of the passage later on and fill you in on other events.
Until then I will talk to you soon


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

33 42.43 S 175 32.85 E

Hello All,
We have been on the rumb line to Opua since we turned the boat around last night. The wind was a little to south at first so I was helping the boat out by running the engine. Right now we are 147 miles out and under sail only. Feels good to have the boat sailing again. We got passed by another boat on passage today. They left Fiji the same time we did. I don't know them but I said hello on the VHF. I have been hearing them on the net in the morning and saw they were close to our position. If we wouldn't have had to tack yesterday we could have beat them in. Oh well it was nice to see someone else out here.
All is well on board so I will talk to you tomorrow.


Monday, November 22, 2010

31 38.66 S 176 58.37 E

Hello All,
Today was very stressful for me. I got up to the bow pounding in seas. The south wind that was light earlier turned to 25 knots right on the nose. We bucked into seas doing maybe 2 knots then it started to go easterly. I got the sails up and made a coarse for Opua. I realized with in a few hours there was not enough east in the wind and we were going off coarse and were going to miss the Island. We had to tack the boat, meaning I had to go the opposite direction so I didn't lose and hard gained ground. We had to buy some time to let the wind fill in from the east. We were on this tack for 12 hours and at 0000 tonight, this morning, we turned the boat around. The coarse is holding good and I will hold my breath that it stays that way. We are hard on the wind so the boat is healed way over and we are pounding into seas, but we are making 5 knots so all is good for now. I have the engine running just above an idle just to give the boat some steerage.
We are 252 miles from Opua and and am not even going to take a guess as to when we will get there.
I am a much happier man at this moment than I was a few hours ago. The feeling of moving away from your goal is gut wrenching but it is a sailboat and that tactic is done every day but I still don't like it. I guess I need to think of it as a means to an end.
All of that being said, everyone is doing good and they haven't thrown me off the boat yet because of my bitching and moaning lol.
That's all for now and I will talk to you soon.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

29 42.06 S 176 41.74 E

Hello All,
Well the wonderful sailing days ended at 0200 last night. The wind came down and I had to start the engine. We have been running under engine ever since. There was a short time today that we got to motor sail but it didn't last long. With the light winds my yankee jib was flapping a lot and before I could get it down it developed another rip in it. I am still paying for my mistake in Samoa. The sail took a lot of wear when it fell over the side months ago. The wind turned to the south west tonight but it is very light and the seas are calm. We are 300 miles out of Opua and we are all looking forward to getting there. We are suppose to have some wind out of the south east tomorrow so we hope to sail in the last few hundred miles.
Jon caught a Tuna today so we had a nice fish dinner. It was not very big but was enough to feed us all.
Well I am tired so I will go to bed. I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

25 48.28 S 177 00.24 E

Hello All,
We are still making good time heading down. We made 125 miles today and we have 415 miles to go. I have been watching the weather and the wind was suppose to start coming out of the north, which will be behind us. While I am writing you that prediction is coming to pass. I had to take down the yankee and the staysail tonight because they were getting wind starved by the mainsail. We are still making ok time with just the yankee only.
I have been keeping in contact on the SSB radio with a guy stationed in Fiji. He has a morning air time at 0800. He gives the local weather and keeps track of boats on Hello passage and tells them what weather they will be looking at as they go. I have been talking to him every morning and giving him our position and coarse. He has been telling me we are going to be getting a south west wind when we get closer to the Island which is also what I have been seeing. A southwest wind will be right on our nose so it won't be pretty, but it will then turn southeast I hope lol. That is days away and anything can happen. We had a good breakfast this morning and a good dinner tonight. The seas are so flat it makes it very easy to prepare a good meal. I figure we better eat good now because who knows what will happen tomorrow.
Everyone has been digging out there hats and jackets the last few days, why I don't know, it's still 70 degrees lol. Truth be known I dug mine out to.
That's all I know for now. I will talk to you soon.


Friday, November 19, 2010

24 41.94 S 7 16.38 E

Hello All,
We had another good day of sailing. This morning I got the yankee jib back up to pick up the pace a little. The wind was 10 to 15 knots so it was perfect for the big jib. We averaged 6 knots all day until this evening when the wind lightened up again. We are still doing 5 knots with a 10 knot wind. There basically is no swell so the boat is moving right along with very little wind. For the first time in months we are seeing a completely cloudless sky with an almost full moon. The day and this evening have been such a treat. It is days like this you are glad you own a sailboat.
The air temperature has been slowing falling. We had a high of 80 degrees today and a low as of tonight of 71 degrees. I forgot what this feels like.
We are half way to Opua right now and we are just hoping the weather holds out. The weather reports don't show anything bad so far so we will just see what happens in the next few days.
Well that is all for now and I will write again to you soon.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

24 29.13 S 177 26.84 E

Hello All,
We had a great day of sailing after the 20 plus knots of wind last night. The sun came out and the wind came down to 15 knots so I put the yankee jib back up but still left one reef in the main. We were doing 6.5 knots all day long and this evening in self defense I put the working jib back up just in case the wind decided to come up tonight. We are doing 5.5 knots at the moment and it looks like it will stay steady all night.
I didn't beat my old record for miles traveled in 24 hours today but it was close, only missed it by 2 miles. I stand corrected after checking my log, Tobias and I did 140 miles in one day between Marquesas and Tuamotus, so we did 138 today. Not bad for a crossing that is suppose to be beating to weather. The wind is still coming out of the east with an easterly swell so it is a very comfortable ride. I hope it keeps up for the next 5 days, if it does we will have a crossing for the books for sure. I turned to the Island today so we are on the rum line at 180 degrees magnetic.
All is well on board and every one is very happy with the performance of the boat.
It is mostly overcast tonight but it is not raining so that's a good thing. We are 663 miles out of Opua and counting down, Ye Haw!!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

22 37.73 S 177 33.79 E

Hello All,
We have been under sail only since yesterday morning. The wind kicked up to 25 so I was forced to take down the yankee jib and replace it with the the smaller working jib and I put a double reef in the main. All of that being done we are still making 6 knots. We hope to beat my Pacific crossing record of 138 miles in a 24 hour period today. The seas picked up to 6 feet and the wind is still coming out of the east with a little north in it so we are on a close reach. I am taking the boat slightly east of the rum line to Opua because there is suppose to be better wind on this side and it will give us a better angle of sail when the wind turns more south east which should be in the next 24 hours.
All is well on board and we are getting sleep and are well fed.
That's all I have for now so I will talk to you soon.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

20 05.96 S 176 37.46 E

Hello All,
We have had a mixed bag of weather here. All has been good just not enough wind. We had to motor sail most of the day off and on which isn't to bad, I just have it above an idle to get the speed we need. The sea is flat as I am writing this and the wind picked up to 13 to 15 knots out of the east. The last 2 hours has been steller sailing. Slightly pointed into the wind, a little heal of the boat, flat seas and 6.5 knots over the ground. This is some of the best sailing I have done in months. It feels so good to have a sailboat in these conditions. There is an old saying, "It doesn't get better than this" As I am writing this a rain squall decided to pay us a visit. Just when I was having so much fun lol.
All is well here and I hope we keep getting decent weather.
We made 110 miles yesterday and I hope to make at least that today.
930 miles to go to Opua, New Zealand.


Monday, November 15, 2010

18 46.62S 176 56.31E

Hello All,
We got cleared out of Fiji at 1330 yesterday and departed for New Zealand. There was a very big low that was in the area so it has been pouring down rain. The good thing is that we have north winds at 15 to 20 knots at the moment so the swell and wind are pushing us right where we need to go. The seas have been about 4 feet and the wind is at our stern so I am only running the yankee jib. We are making an average of 5 knots so we are pleased as punch. All is well on board and outside of being a little wet we are happy. It looks like this weather will keep up for the next few days, then after that it is suppose to go more northeast which is still good for us.
I will keep you updated and let you know how everything is going.
That's all for now.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

leaving Fiji

We will be checking out in the morning in Lautoka with Customs. We will take the boat the 7 miles north and anchor by the city wharf. I will deal with the officials and I will send the crew to get some privations. It looks like there is a good weather window to make the 1100 mile crossing to New Zealand. There are at least 6 boats doing the same thing so Customs will be busy in the morning. We hope to have a good crossing but after the trade winds run out it will be anyones guess as to what to expect. This will be the longest crossing I have made since leaving the states so we are excited to get underway and get it behind us.
Fiji has been very good to us and I may return next season, we will see. For now I will be thinking about this trip and I hope its a good one.
I will be giving you updates along the way and let you know how its going. For now I will let you go and will talk to you all soon.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Still at Vuda Point Marina

Hello All,
We have decided to stay here at the marina till we leave. I have been talking to cruisers and locals about anchoring in Lautoka and they told me that the Sugar Cane factory is in season to burn the slash right now and the boats get covered in ash from the chimneys so we are hanging out here till we have to leave to New Zealand. We are looking at a weather window for Monday now and I hope that works out. We are ready to get underway and get the crossing behind us. I have been talking to several other boats that want to leave about the same time so we will have company, a least the slower ones anyway. Curious left this morning so I hope all goes well for Steve and the new crew. We are waiting for a more east wind as my boat dosent go to weather all that well.
I have been doing some maintenance on the boat and just looking around at any little thing that could cause a problem. I have been seeing boats come in that I have met in the past and stopped and said hello and just see where they have been and where they are going. All of us are looking at the weather so I hope with all of the knowledge and experience of the other boats we can make this a good crossing.
Thats all I have been doing so I will get back to it and I will talk to you soon


Monday, November 8, 2010

Last days at Vuda Point

Hello All.
I know it has been days since I have written. We are still here at the marina, I have been fixing things on the boat getting it ready to go. I climbed to the top of the mast yesterday and inspected all of my rigging, everything looked fine. It has been very hot here so progress has been a little slow. We plan to leave the marina tomorrow and take the boat up to Lautoka and anchor by the commercial wharf for a few days. That is where we will check out of the country also. We have no weather window for at least 5 days to head south so we are just hanging out waiting.
Trish on Curious headed home to England and Steve had 2 mates fly in to help him with the crossing to New Zealand.They will be departing about when we plan to.
I took on a new crew member for the crossing, Her name is Kaisa, she is originally from Finland but has been living in New Zealand the last few years. She came to Fiji to crew on a boat but the trip was riddled with problems so the boat returned back to Fiji. She moved onto the boat yesterday so we have been visiting. It will make the crossing easier having 3 people for watches.
Well it is getting to hot to type so I will get going.
Thats all for now so I will talk to you soon.


Friday, November 5, 2010

We splashed the boat and went to the Capital.

hello All,
We got the boat put back in the water yesterday. Everything went off without a hitch and the paint job we did on the the bottom looks great. It is not the right color , it is black but I was told it is awesome paint for the tropics. I put the green stripe back on above the bottom paint and am pretty pleased with the outcome.
This morning at 0500 Jon set up a rent a car from one of the locals and we headed down to Suva, the capital to look around. On the way in Nadi we picked up the cast away crew of Steve and Trish on Curious and made our way down to Suva. They went down there after leaving the boat to stay at a back packer resort. Toby and Nicole pitched in for the car and we had an awesome time there just walking around and hanging out.
They will be touring around for another month here before flying to New Zealand and we hope to see them there before they return home to the UK. They were so lucky to run into Curious in the Yasawa Islands. They both had a great time and they are wonderful people and I hope we meet again soon.
The next few days I will be fixing little things on the boat so I will keep pretty close to home.
I may be bringing a 3rd member on the boat for the crossing to New Zealand. A Finnish gal asked me the other day if we needed crew and after talking for a bit I think I will do it. I will email my decision tonight.
Ok thats all for now. I will talk to you soon.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

High and Dry

Hello All,
I got the boat out of the water yesterday with out any trouble. Jon and I started cleaning and sanding right away and will get at least one coat of paint on today. It is not an exciting job but it has to be done. The last few days I have been visiting boats I havent seen in months. I met a Danish boat in the Tuamotus with a crew of 10. They just arrived here the other day and had a wonderful visit with them 2 nights ago. We traveled different routes since Tahiti so it was fun to hear of the places they visited. Curious also came in 2 days ago so we are having a family reunion of sorts. The couple that Steve and Trish picked up 2 weeks ago on Waya Island will be leaving tomorrow so we are going to have a going away party for them. They will be going to Suva for a mouth to explore and we were talking to them about splitting the cost of a rent a car and take them there so we can see Suva also.
We will see, the bottom takes priority and then fun.
Thats all for now , i will talk to you soon.