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Days 7 and 8 from Tahiti to Honolulu -wind finally increases and veers - we're sailing nicely!

Saturday 23rd June

Another motor-sailing day in 2 knots of NE wind, hot, bright sunshine and calm sea - which became glassy again this afternoon with a long, slow ENE swell... Sea temperature reached 36.9C at 2pm - body temperature is 37C!!

Gribs are indicating the wind will be mainly from the East & slowly increasing tomorrow onward, as we get closer to and cross over the Equator - will be nice to be sailing again, without the noise of the motor running.

Threw papaya skin overboard after breakfast this morning - and frigate bird appeared from nowhere! Long tail and beak and distinctive outline as it hung overhead later.

Found some more laundry to do which I'd overlooked - all dry by tonight!

Keeping an eye on big clump of cloud forming on ITCZ ahead - would rather avoid nasty squalls/downpours if possible! Those satellite pictures are so useful...

DMG 105 n.ml ; Honolulu: 1809 n.ml. away..... at 2pm

Just checked our fuel level and usage over the last 24hr to 11.45pm - roughly 35 litres, 10l less than yesterday - had reduced revs to 1200rpm last night .. approx1.5l/hr

Sunday 24th June ... and into Monday morning...

Had problem with sending report to website - but I've now heard all is OK there, so posting two days in one report now.

Just before first light, well before dawn, two bright stars are in the E, forming a line with the Pleiades above them - one is probably Venus and I wonder what the other is - another planet? Not Mercury, since that only appears low down within about half-an-hour of sunrise (or sunset), not well before.

Wind had veered to E from from y'day's ENE and slightly up, at 8kt - so with apparent wind not so dead ahead, I was able to unfurl a lot of genoa to good effect - our speed motor-sailing (at minimal revs: 1000rpm) went up nicely. When I tried cutting the engine for a bit, speed dropped dramatically to well under 3 kt, rather than over 5 kt- just needed that touch more apparent wind that motoring gives!

Morning saw lots of cloud around - but no dark grey rainclouds or squalls - and the cloud gradually dissipated over the day ... as the wind continued to veer very slowly and increase - until finally, by midday, we were able to kill the motor & sail well in 10kt of ESE wind - at last!! :-)) .... peace and quiet, in bright sunshine and just a small E swell... lovely!

One problem I came across was that the first reef line was badly chafed (almost cut in half) where it exited the boom from under a sheave at the gooseneck to be tied onto a shackle at the luff reef cringle... The reefed sail has clearly been holding the line forward from the sheave so it had been touching a sharp edge in the gooseneck boom end which, to my mind, should be far more smooth/rounded than it is... It's a single-line reefing line, unlike reefs 2&3. I must cut the line at that point & re-attach it - but still have the problem of what to do to avoid the chafe recurring...

As well as the usual daily contact with the Pacific Seafarers' Net, I've been chatting daily to the crew of 'Charisma' whom I met while in Papeete - they left some hours after me last Sunday and are headed to Seattle via Hawaii. 4 on board are skippper Chris, wife Alexis, 9-yr-old son Seth and Chris' brother, but they're two days behind me now, so it's possible we shan't meet up in Honolulu. They've been slower due to a gearbox problem meaning they've not wanted to use the motor much. (Just heard they've caught a mahi-mahi - tasty meals for today... BBQ tonight!!)

Downloading satellite cloud photos as I write this - showing small areea of cloud ahead, just S of Equator, and showing where the ITCZ convection is - not looking too bad just now, but we'll take another 3days or so to reach it - get to Equator maybe late Tuesday afternoon and then 2 more days to reach 4N & the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone - where winds converge and direction of winds changes from SE Trades to NE Trades) - often full of nasty, big, squall clouds with strong sudden wind & windshifts & heavy rain - so we'll be lucky if we have an easy passage through the region where it lies! (I still remember sailing S from the Canaries through the ITCZ in the Atlantic ... Had heavy rain & saw lightning bolts dropping into the sea not far from the boat - nasty! I don't expect that here since ITCZ is not too strong to the N of us at present)

Finally cooked ratatouille - before fresh aubergine etc go off in the heat. Added potato and had an enjoyable evening meal with plenty left for Monday's meal.

Have been in contact with Simrad UK by email about AIS display switching off with overheating....... Tip I got from Tim (who kindly responded to work emails over the weekend!) was to reduce screen illumination (backlighting heats screen a lot, even under normal room temps, and ambient temp now is ~32C in the cabin) - that seems to be working fine, at 40%, and I can still read it OK.

DMG Sat: 105 n.ml.; Sun: 120 n.ml. Distance to Honolulu on Sunday at 2pm: 1717 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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