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The Slog Begins

September 29, 2011

Day 2
Noon Position
GPS: 14.28.03S by 151.10.66W
Sextant: 14.30S by 151.14W (One morning and one noon sun sight–amazed I got that close given seastate.) Course: 17 degrees true
Wind: 17 – 20 from ENE
Sea: 3 – 8 mixed swell
Bar: 1015
Temp: 75 degrees

Jimmy Cornell, who writes a book describing over a thousand ocean crossing routes, says of the passage from Tahiti to Hawaii, “it is fast and pleasant at almost any time of year.”

God bless and keep him. And please make him right.

We exited the Bora Bora pass buoys at exactly noon yesterday and set a course of 20 degrees true. Winds were immediately in winds of 20 knots from the east with a touch of south in them that allowed us to take the low island of Tupai to windward. Most of the night we climbed with only a double reefed jib and double reefed main. It was a wet night. The toe rail at the bow is leaking badly (this is what defines a toe rail) as is the companion way hatch when we take a comber over the top (we have no dodger). I had to wrap the gps and vhf radio in plastic even though they are two feet back of the hatch. Any time I went on deck I get soaked.

Winds have eased a bit today but are more north of east so that we are truly close hauled but are still slipping from our rum line course. One reef in both the jib and main. No mizzen. I am of two minds about keeping Murre so close on the wind. Though we are not pounding in that classic San Francisco Bay sense, it’s a fairly up and down ride that put me off my dinner and, so far, my breakfast.

Route Planning: Bora Bora to Hilo is 2500 miles. Hawaii is essentially due north, but wind patterns do not allow a due north course. Above the equator winds prevail from the northeast in the eastern mid pacific, and if I don’t want to be close hauled the entire passage, Murre and I need to make some solid easting before we get there. Typically winds in the south pacific are east or southeasterly, so a yacht out of Tahiti will usually set a way point at roughly 5N and 145W and look to take the northeasterlies from there to Hawaii on the beam. So the course to Hawaii isn’t a straight line but more of a gentle boomerang. Unfortunately, winds between Tahiti, at 16S, and about 10S can often have a northerly component, as we are learning, requiring that a captain not attempt easting on the first leg or that he settle in for a bit of a bash. At moment we have chosen the latter.

Luckily, the islands of Hawaii spread themselves east/west over almost six hundred miles of ocean. Our goal is Hilo, on the most windward, most easterly island, but if we miss, there are many other options.


One Comment
  1. Dan Lee permalink
    September 30, 2011 4:27 pm

    I have no idea what half of that meant but good luck Randall! Look forwarding to hearing from you on the other side!

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