We left Santo this morning at 7:15 bound for Noumea, New Caledonia. The
weather was mostly cloudy with about 8k of wind from the ESE. There were 3
other boats which left at the same time, 2 bound for New Cal also and one
going straight to NZ. The first few hours were pleasant with 10-15 from
the ESE. We were making 6-6.5k over ground on a course of 160M. Crossing
the channel between Santo (really Malo Island which hangs off the South
side of Santo) and Malekula we had 20-25k, but still from the East or ESE.
When we got in the lee of Malekula the wind died to about 5k and we motor
sailed till we were back in the wind.
At this point the wind started to build and clock to the SE. By noon we
had 15-20k from the SE and we were reefed down and making less then 5k. By
1pm Jonah was barfing and we were all pretty miserable. At this point we
decided to implement Plan B. We had discussed this at length over the
preceding days so we were primed already. Next stop, Australia. The thing
is, Getting to Noumea would have taken 4 days instead of the 3 it would
have in favorable conditions, and we were only going to stop there for a
week or two anyway. Then there was the slog to NZ ahead of us, as we had
planned. The passage to NZ is always a difficult one as you must cross
from the Tropics into the Temperate regions South of 30S.
Australia, on the other hand, is downwind and Bundaberg, the most
convenient port of entry, is at 24S, just barely out of the tropics.
Passages to Australia are usually easy and with the wind. So, we turned to
Starboard and took up a course of 243M (254True) to the first waypoint
just North of the Chesterfield Reefs, about halfway to Bundaberg.
It is now 10pm and we have 20-30k from the SE and rough seas of 6-10ft. It
is a wet ride, but nothing like the upwind slog we were attempting
earlier. We are making good time with our speed between 6 and 8k, mostly
in the 7.2-7.5k range. Our total remaining distance to go till Bundaberg
is app. 985nm which we hope to cover in about 6 or 7 days. That would put
is in Australia on the 18th or 19th, just a day before Jonah's