2. Hawaii to New Caledonia — Crossing the Equator

Aug 1, 2009 to Aug 6, 2009:

To frame our evolving weather situation for this stage of the passage, here is Rick’s wx update received via Sailmail Sunday, July 26, 2009 3:18 AM

Hi Steve:

You are making great progress! There was an article about Adagio’s voyages in Latitude 38 daily electronic newsletter today. Very interesting. You have sailed a lot of miles.

Weather Summary:

1. As of 26 Jul 00Z

2. High pressure ridge dominates your weather until south of 10N. Winds continue to be ENEerly direction in the 20kt range.

3. On Jul 27th, direction backs to NEerly 20kts then abates to 15kts by Jul 28/2100Z. Approaching 10N, winds abate further to 10-13kts

4. ITCZ: Is active with deep convection, embedded thunderstorms and squalls between 160W to 170W. Downdraft winds in squalls have been measured by satellite to 40-50kts recently. Last record in the area between 165W to 170W and south of 10N indicated Eerly winds in rain at 20-25kts. The southern boundary of the ITCZ is near 02 30N where the winds veer to SEerly.

5. Route: You may want to avoid the area of deep convection between 160W to 170. Therefore suggest adjust to AP1 10N 175W. Then AP2 to 04N 175W. Crossing ITCZ may offer less chance of encountering the severest of squalls and thunderstorms. I realize this may put the apparent wind angle near 180deg. Therefore, suggest adjusting course as necessary for safe ride.

6. Forecast (to adjusted AP1 and AP2)

Date/Time UTC Wind kts Sig Wv ft

26Jul0600-28Jul1200 NE 18-23 5-7

28Jul1200-29Jul1800 NE 12-18 4-6

29Jul1800-31Jul1200 NE-SE 2-12 2-4

7. Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy with isolated rainshowers to 10N. South of 10N, mostly cloudy with increased chances of squalls and thunderstorms.

We crossed the Equator today, August 1st, roughly the halfway point in our passage to New Caledonia. The equatorial weather doesn’t favor our original routing via Apia, Western Samoa. So we have elected for ‘Plan B’ which is Hawaii direct to New Caledonia.

Our course to avoid the ITCZ took us too far to the west for Apia to be a sensible stopover. We made it through the ITCZ with no dramas, having to motor for only one day. Now we are in the SE trade winds, and enjoying a brisk sail across benign seas beneath starry skies. It does not get better than this. Below are samples from our ship’s log for the second week of our voyaging.

August 1, 2009

0004 We are half way through our Gatorade instant mix powder which we turn into “Jungle Juice” over ice cubes. I made a banana cake yesterday and it is slowly disappearing. We estimate 10 days remaining to New Caledonia. We have plenty of food, but the fresh produce is running low. We’ll cross the Equator at about midnight tomorrow. We have one Pollywog aboard (George). The radar is clear; only a few wispy clouds in the sky which is filled with moonlight. We are looking forward to the full moon in a few days. Weather forecast is for more of the same wind and seas south of the Equator.

0352 Beautiful night quarter moon shining across the sea, wind and speed steady, sea down.

0618 Set reacher with 1st reef main – picked up 2.5kn at least and decreased AWS by 1 kn.

0853 Set full main. Headed a bit to around 96mag. Dorothy thinks yesterday’s rough seas may be due to the Equatorial counter current.

0916 Making good speed in moderate conditions.

1405 Boat spd between 8-10 kts under full main and reacher. Steve and Leo replaced the failed port water transfer pump (which also serves as an instant backup to our primary dual pressure water pumps).

1740 Changed B&G damping to 30 seconds on boat speed and TWS.

1952 Quiet period as we approach the Equator. Today is also our daughter’s birthday!

2207 We just crossed the Equator – George inducted to order of Shellbacks by King Neptune accompanied by a bottle of Charles Heidsieck champagne — which George & Penelope hand-carried halfway around the planet for this occasion.

2352 Wind wandering and the sea is flat and velvet with the moon shining.

August 2, 2009

0135 Course to steer (CTS) 216 degrees, leaving Winslow Reef to port. Steering AWA 60 deg watching actual course closely. Reacher trimmed about as tight as possible.

0617 We continue to make 9 kn over the bottom in 12 kn TWS. All night long ADAGIO has glided across benign seas, maintaining her course under an exceptionally brilliant stary sky. It does not get better than this!

August 2, 2009

0849 Glorious morning, sun shining, already over 80 deg F, seas calm, ADAGIO rushing along.
1030 Wind backing.

1147 Success to the fisherman: 7 lb Yellow Fin Tuna landed after repaired line had been set for less than 20 minutes.

1402 Reacher sheet leads reset to give clearance from deck.

1644 This is some of the most beautiful sailing ever, under full main and reacher, surrounded by puffy cumulus clouds. We lunched on tuna sashimi in a soy and ginger dipping sauce. We’ll poach the remainder of the fish in soy and mirin with sesame seeds and green onions for dinner. I put up our IKEA triangular awning over the cockpit for shade. It made a big difference on this hot afternoon.

2012 Twenty or more dolphins came swimming and leaping towards us from astern, and played in our bows for a while. Pacific White-sided dolphins we think.

August 3, 2009

0202 Moon almost full, ahead. Weather forecast for our course includes two Convergence Zones and two troughs. Seas are up a little so the ride is slightly bumpy. Otherwise, nothing has changed except for the veering wind. We turned the boat down to 120 AWA so that Leo could go forward to the machinery space and make the connection while Dorothy started the genset in the shop. Will check the genset every 30 minutes, while the batteries are charging. They started off at 59 percent at 0200 hours. This is the procedure that we follow to allow us to continue to use the genset in spite of a problem with it. Radar is clear. Sky is clear. Leo showed me that we are 16 nm above our course to the next waypoint, but not to worry at this time. We’ll make more easting in the morning.

0343 True wind speed has decreased and brought the boat speed down, but only temporarily.

0821 We furled the reacher and set the jib, and altered course to windward by 15 degrees. This will enable us to make back the easting that we had lost during the night as the wind veered. We have traded boat speed for distance. A beautiful morning, fair weather cumulus clouds all around, blue sky up above, seas are down. 356 nm to our waypoint near Funafuti.

0924 We are about 1,506 nm to Noumea, New Caledonia.

1158 Calm conditions; full main and jib. Making ground back to the rhumb line (near 20 miles).

1612 A ship appeared on the horizon bearing 250 deg and slow moving. Must be a fishing boat. He was on a parallel course and we passed him easily. Not visible on AIS. A few showers around us. Scattered cumulus. Jib and full main.

2227 Rolicking along under full main and jib. The radar is clear. Sitting out in the cockpit enjoying the show. Another beautiful evening, even better than yesterday, with the almost full moon lighting up the puffy small cumulus clouds and sparkling on the water.

August 4, 2009

0415 Before we switched to jib we were averaging a course of 212 deg. I sketched the 212 course back from Funafuti to estimate where we switch back to reacher at AWA 60.
0837 We furled the jib and unfurled the reacher, set the pilot to 70 AWA, and increased boat speed by two knots. A beautiful morning with blue skies and fair weather cumulus ahead and to port. A few showers astern but they should cross our wake. We are now to port of our rhumb line and headed straight for our waypoint, distant 212 nm, 22 hours sailing time estimated.

0955 Stbd reacher turning block post failed – missed Leo, hit Dorothy very hard in right arm above elbow – very big bruise, but no bone or tissue damage. Should have had a Dyneema safety rigged on that turning block.

1110 Steering direct for Aneityum waypoint. Reacher set again.
1404 Wind backed 20 deg and then veered back. Sailed at 70 deg to the wind for 30 minutes.

2053 Reeled in large Spanish mackerel who sadly got off the line as we were landing him and swam away.
2155 Enjoyed a quiet watch in the cockpit watching the stars with George.

August 5, 2009

0003 Ship sighted on radar at 9nm and on AIS bearing 166 deg, range 6, CPA 5nm in 10 minutes. Speed 10kn. Visual with binoculars at 5nm was intermittent in waves.
0036 Wind up to 15.5 knots; AWA down to 90 deg; still really slamming into waves.
0146 Wind lighter, up to 90 deg AWA. Rain squalls following us about 20nm aft of port quarter.
0405 Tuvalu to starboard. Tokelau to port. Samoa is 550 nm to the SE. Fiji is 180 nm to the south. Havannah Pass at New Caledonia is 1,155 nm to the SW. True wind speed is light at 10 kts. Sloppy seas so sails are flopping around. A few small squalls 6 nm astern. Almost full moon peeking through the clouds; comfortable air temperature. At this slow speed we will arrive at Havannah Pass on August 13. There is a small island 86 nm ahead called Nukulaelae.

0434 The little squalls have caught up with us from astern bringing increased wind speed and boat speed. TWD has backed 20 deg. I came down 10 deg. to 100 AWA.

0455 Wind backed to 33 deg TWA, now is veering. Rain — good, we needed a wash down. Radar shows a series of small cells following us. TWS backup to 20kts. Boat speed backup to 9 kts.

0504 Heavy rain. TWD now backed to 33 deg. TWS up to 22 knots, and now down to 16 kts. Boat speed up to 10 kts, now down to 8 kts. Squall is passing.

0511 TWD at 17 deg. Wind has backed a lot, so we are headed off to the SE. I hope it veers to its original direction.
0516 Squall has passed. Wind has died. Rain ended. TWD is still backing. Wind staying in the NNE.

1534 Pilot AWA to 70 to leave the island Nukulaelae to stbd. It is 18 nm ahead of us.

August 6, 2009

1800 Ships time changed to NZ time +1 day and 2 hours

2150 It is a beautiful evening with full moon and stars, clear skies, gentle breeze, and pleasant sail under full main and jib. We are winding our way through seamounts and atolls of the island group of Tuvalu.

Does it get even better!? You will have to read on….

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