April 30

At 6am this morning we began preparations to get underway. By 6:45 we were steaming out of the anchorage and stowing last minute loose items. The wind was 0k from nowhere and the sun was already baking! It is a very beautiful day and the cloud cover is less then 20% with excellent visibility.

I immediately noticed that the engine control panel was wigging out again - that is the needles were fluttering and eventually the thing just stopped working. I did not realize until a few minutes later that this meant the voltage regulators were getting no power (the voltage regulators get power from the ignition switch so they turn on automatically when the engine is started). This meant no battery charging. To complicate matters, our generator - Ole Reliable - stopped putting out power yesterday. Oh the engine runs fine, the generator hums away beautifully, but no power is coming out! Well, make that about 3 volts. I think this means the field winding has lost its magnetism or the capacitor has lost its magnetism, I read about in the manual a while back and it describes how to fix it by flashing a 12v charge across the capacitor.

Back to the main engine and the non-charging alternators - turns out I just jiggled the key and power was restored to the ignition and engine panels. Viola, we are charging once again. I need to do something about that switch, it is certainly the cause of the problem. I have a spare which I got in Mexico and I will swap it in tomorrow.

Meanwhile, around 8:30am the wind came up and we hoisted the main and unrolled the genoa. We are still running the engine to charge batteries so I left it in gear - we are therefore motor sailing in 11k wind from the North (which is not where I would have expected it) and making 7.8k over ground. We are on a heading of 290M and are about 46nm from Motu Mokoe, the easternmost point of the island of Ua Pou. Our destination today is Baie d'Hakahau on Ua Pou. We expect to arrive at Hakahau at about 4pm. Our (new) friends Chris and Marcus are a few miles North of us also heading for Hakahau and we are in VHF contact.

At 10am we shut down the engine and were sailing in about 12k wind from the North making 6.5k over ground on a course of 294M. But by 11:30am the wind had died to about 8-9k and we were only making 5.5k. Since we want to avoid an arrival in darkness we are now motor sailing again in about 10k wind from the North. We are making 7.3k over ground and at noon we are approximately 27nm from Ua Pou.

It is now 02:45 local (00:15UT) and we are about 6.5nm from the island, about 10nm from the bay we are heading for. We motor sailed much of the way since noon but are now sailing in 11k making 6.5k over ground. The seas are very very calm and the water is blue and clear. The skies are also clear with only about 10% cloud cover. We expect to arrive at Hakahau at about 3:45pm local time and clear. The skies are also clear with only about 10% cloud cover. We expect to arrive at Hakahau at about 3:45pm local time.