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To Australia - Tues/Wed 3/4 July '07

Well - we certainly got the wind we wanted - and more!!
Suddenly, at 0300 over Mon/Tuesday night, there were clouds & rain... and wind a-plenty at 19 knots ..and increasing! Seas increased also - so knocked sense into the log/speed impellor - which began registering!
Winds were from S to SSE, at 20-25 knots, but the apparent wind was just for'd of the beam so we were close-reaching almost due west with a S swell - very uncomfortable, especially as the seas increased to 3-4 metres and regularly flung us onto our 'ears'. Crests were generally smooth but occasionally we'd catch one just beginning to break - bad news!! Seas were regularly sweeping over the decks & testing our water-tightness - I've one or two places to check out, once we're in port!!
Initially, one reef seemed OK, but as wind increased, had to put 2nd reef in mains'l - & also in genoa. Of course, the good news is that we made excellent speed - generally 6.5-7 kn and from Tuesday afternoon there was a very definite fair current/tide helping us along - so we were making great progress towards Cairns!
Around sunset, the heavy grey overcast moved away to the north - and the rest of the night was almost clear, with a near-full moon rising a little later - lovely! OF course, the seas were still big, but the wind has been very gradually lessening a touch. By 1am, I was able to let out the 2nd reef & now (Wed afternoon) the wind is ESE/SE 15-20 kn so we are broad-reaching under full sail with 2m seas from SE.
Today is Nereida's 10th birthday - so I've been paying her some attention, as befits a birthday girl - cleaning up a bit after our pounding. We'll shortly have a birthday tea - or at least I shall! It's been a much pleasanter sailing day today, despite the occasional big wave - more like typical Tradewind conditions, except we're not running downwind enough for me to have to pole out the genoa - maybe later....
Last night, some boobies came by at sunset, obviously thinking of roosting in our rigging - but we were moving around too violently & they soon thought better of it! This morning, I sat in the companionway with the early sun on my back, eating a pamplemousse from Port Vila market, watching a graceful, tiny petrel skimming the waves so closely it kept touching the surface with its wing tips - life seemed pretty good at that moment!

At midday today, we had covered 151 n.ml.(by the GPS) over the 24 hr period & had 974 n.ml. to go to Cairns.

Written by : Mike

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