Tuesday 24 September 2013

At sea – Port Sandwich to Port Vila

For a day at the beach it was perfect – sunny, warm, gentle breeze, lovely.  Hard to believe the day was in the same season as yesterday, given the wild conditions just 24 hours ago.

However, for a yacht trying to head south the conditions were/are frustrating at best. Our 4:30am start from Port Sandwich in south east Malekula, was
greeted with a southwester, then later it blew from the south, then almost nothing, then finally at 5:00pm a southeaster, then again, virtually nothing.  Wouldn’t be such a problem if we had lots of fuel and could just turn on the motor, but as mentioned yesterday, we’re a bit light-on in that department. Not quite running on fumes, but probably down to the last 50 litres or so.

We’ve had the engine ticking away in the background for some hours now, at low revs, but just enough to keep us doing around 4-5 knots into a lumpy confused sea left over from yesterday’s blow.  Then, after winding in the jib because there was no wind to catch, a southeaster finally came through causing much excitement and enabling us to turn off the engine and still maintain 6 knots under sail alone.

Then 15 minutes ago, around 11:00pm, the wind died away again, with our speed sitting at around 1.5 knots – I’ve resisted the urge to turn the motor back on in the hope the wind will return sometime soon – a test of both patience and faith.

On the plus side, the sky is full of stars, the moon has just risen above the horizon and the sea is now blissfully calm.

In other news, Cathy made two lovely twisted savoury herb rolls today along with the usual loaf.  And for dinner,  fish was very much on the menu again – this time curried, with quite a bit now in the freezer for the future.

As you may have guessed, we decided to travel through the night in order to arrive at Port Vila tomorrow morning.  David and Sally are currently on watch – I think we hit 2 knots a short while ago (still very little wind and I haven’t turned the motor back on), with Matt and Cathy in their bunks – oh, I hear some action, they’re getting ready for their 12:00-3:00am watch.

Good news, I just heard the sheets tighten and we took on a slight lean to starboard – the wind may be on the return – we’ve even crept up to 2.5 knots

Smooth seas, fair breeze and where for art thou wind
Rob Latimer


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