Day 12 from Tahiti to Honolulu - 162 miles DMG in good, sunny, sailing condition

Thursday 28th June 2012

Strong Equatorial Current flow varied between E and SE up to midday when it turned to ENE.

Lovely sunny sailing conditions this morning - 90% cloud but it was broken and light.. Making over 7knots SOG. From satpics, axis of TCZ has moved slightly to 7-8N - so 1-2 days away, but we're clearly into the cloud around it and have been since yesterday. Hopefully, we'll miss the really strong convection the ITCZ is noted for... fingers crossed... by Saturday, we'll know for sure!

Munching one of the last Gala apples from Tasmania as I downloaded weatherfaxes, satpics and emails just before midday ... Have been busy trying to organize things while in Hawaii - Kirk, VE0KRP, on 'Silk Purse', already in Ala Wai Boat Hbr, has been very helpful - Hawaii Y.C. have agreed to let me stay wih them for the few days I'm on Oahu, despite a major Fishing Tournament taking place and filling berths.

Still good sunshine - no squalls in sight so far...

Around sunset, small group of dolphins came and played around 'Nereida" and earlier, along with dolphins, there were lots of birds - clearly a shoal of fish nearby!

We'd just changed course to 320T to head directly for Hawaii - prompted partly by arriving at 5N and partly by seeing clump of convection dead ahead when I downloaded satpics showing position of clouds in ITCZ - would be nice to avoid strong stuff if possible! Spent a time poling out the genoa, being on a very broad reach. By nightfall, speed was still down around 5kt or less, not helped by wind down to 13 kt and ENE-flowing Equatorial current - would have shaken out 2nd reef if it weren't for mass of grey cloud ahead and darkness coming on ... Decided 5 kt was fine and 6 kt could wait for tomorrow!

On seeing later satpic, it was clear that my plan to avoid convection by heading on 320 T wasn't going to work (it would have kept us in convection for twice as long!) - so changed to 'Plan B' - head due N again - so as to get through the ITCZ's clouds and nasty weather as soon as possible - there was also possibly a thinning of the cloud to the N. Had to take genoa off the pole and back over to port - but left the pole out, it being night-time...

Just before midnight, the wind increased & we heeled over ... went on deck ... raincloud .... surprise, surprise...!! De-powered the mains'l and thought about reducing the stays'l ... but the squall was a small one and passed quickly all was well. ... I sheeted in the mains'l again so we picked up speed. I imagine there'll be a few more of those over tonight and tomorrow...

DMG: 162 .. wow! Honlulu: 1296

Written by : Mike

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