2009 Holiday Newsletter

Looking south from Cloudy Bay Tasmania — Click image for the full size photo
Cloudy Bay, looking towards West Cloudy Head — Click image for the full size photo

Dorothy and Steve are back in summery New Zealand — five and one-half years and two Pacific crossings since we last sailed out of the Bay of Islands on June 7, 2004 — bound for Tahiti, Hawaii and Alaska. We are kicking up our heels to be sharing anchorages again with dear Bay of Islands friends like Jane and Shelly on MAGIC DRAGON and David and Susan on IMAGINE. So many more friends to catch up with — we’ve just anchored in Pomare Bay in front of our former home on Te Wahapu, hoping to visit with Jeremy and Diana Pope and Matt and Carol Harvey before we shift over to Opua to collect the Weindorf family for our 2009 Christmas adventure. So, what have we been up to this year?

We celebrated the 2008 holiday season with our daughter, Kim, son-in-law, Alan, and wonderful grandchildren, David (age 12) and Sarah (age 9). In January we flew to Hobart, Tasmania for their Summer Festival, many visits with friends, the Australia Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, the Australian TROPFEST film festival, the Folk Music Festival, Ten Days on the Island, and more.

March found us back in California for more fun with Kim and her family, including a long weekend in Yosemite National Park and lots of bicycling. ADAGIO needed a new bottom job, and the best place to haul her out for new bottom paint was a boat yard located in the Napa Valley. We enjoyed views of the surrounding vineyards from ADAGIO as she was perched high above the marine railway. We enjoyed some, but too few sails around San Francisco Bay — certainly one of the finest sailing venues on planet Earth.

By the end of June ADAGIO was provisioned and ready to sail for Hawaii. Fellow OCC sailor Shaun Peck (Victoria, BC) joined us on the Hawaii passage, so ADAGIO sailed once again under the Golden Gate Bridge on June 30, with our daughter and grandchildren watching us on the Exploratorium webcam.

On July 12, we arrived in Oahu, Hawaii, after a comfortable and fun passage. Shaun immediately joined a committee of volunteers in Honolulu to help out with the finish of the 2009 Transpac Race.

On July 16, ADAGIO’s population increased again when we were joined by Leo Foley, commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania (Hobart, Tasmania), and fellow OCC sailors Penelope and George Curtis (Oxfordshire, UK). On July 23rd we found the passage weather we wanted to depart for New Caledonia. August 15th, after 23 days at sea, we arrived in New Caledonia. We seem to have partied all the way, with such good company aboard, making for short watches, assistance sailing the boat and help in the galley. We enjoyed showing our crew our favorite places in New Caledonia, even visiting our friends Cleo and Albert in the isle of Pines.

We enjoyed cruising New Caledonia through August, then in September we circumnavigated New Caledonia’s “big island”, Grande-Terre. We believe that the best way to see this country is by boat. The coastal areas are very beautiful, and the coastal towns are quite varied, as is the scenery.

On October 10, our Australian friends, Ian and Andrew, arrived to join us for the New Zealand passage. We had time to take them sailing, to practice “pulling the strings.” They were an enormous help with the pre-passage preparations, including repairs of a few bits we broke between San Francisco and Newcal. While we waited patiently for NZ passage weather we spent as much time as we could enjoying the beautiful Isle of Pines, including visits with our local friends, and with new cruising friends aboard other boats lucky enough to make it to Ile des Pins.

Halloween, October 31, we sailed out of New Caledonia, and arrived in New Zealand on November 6. Head seas were bumpy for the first couple of days, but comfortable after that. We had a week to show Ian and Andrew around the Bay of Islands, before they returned to Australia. Bay of Islands marine businesses entertained cruisers as they arrived from numerous islands in the South Pacific. We met cruisers from many different countries, and spent social hours getting to know them.

As you can tell, we are just a “box of fluffy ducks” being back in enZed, where ADAGIO was launched 9 years ago. We have begun exploring the islands of Urpukapuka, Moturua, Roberton, and the Te Pahi Islands, finding good beaches, coves, caves, hiking trails and fishing spots to show to our grandchildren when they arrive on December 23 for a 10-day visit.

Stay well and let us know how you are and where you are — and let us know if you have changed your email address!

Best wishes, Big hugs, and Best of Luck in the New Year

Dorothy and Steve

S/V ADAGIO, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Steve and Dorothy at the Pa site lookout atop Roberton Island, Bay of Islands

Ile des Pins to Noumea: Baie des Citrons

We had a fun sail from Kuto back to Noumea. Downwind under jib and reacher to start, whale watching boats, one Humpback fin flapping (BIG pectoral fin), lastly skilled kite-boarders at Anse Vata.

We’ve done the 70-odd nm trip between Noumea and Isle des Pins so many times we’ve lost count. But some days are very special — when we get wind going the way we want to go AND sunshine.

Sorry we didn’t get any pics of the Humpback whales. We were focused on whether we were going to commit to sailing into the reef pass on the SE of Ile Ouen into Port Koube for the night’s anchorage. We decided that was not prudent as the winds continued to build. So we enjoyed a very fine daysail all the way to Noumea.

4. Hawaii to New Caledonia — Landfall

Aug 1, 2009 to Aug 15, 2009: landfall New Caledonia 0511 August 15th.

We lost our sailing breeze for the rest of the passage south of Tuvalu on August 7th. From here to New Caledonia we will be mostly motor-sailing on one engine, with intermittent teasers of 10 to 14kn wind speed where we set full main and reacher. The light conditions gave us time for more reading, more successful fishing and some very fine sunrises and sunsets.

On August 13 – 15 we logged the slowest passage speeds we’ve experienced so far (ranging from 2.5 to 3.3kn over the bottom). We are motor-sailing very slowly to delay our arrival in Havannah Pass to avoid the tide rips. As it turned out we needn’t have worried, but when the Pilot bold-faces their warnings to mariners we favor the cautious option.

August 8, 2009

1650 Set jib + full main. Can’t steer with pilot set to apparent wind angle because too unstable.

1849 #2 mainsail batten came loose 2-feet due to flogging in jerky sea light air. Dorothy restitched with help from Leo and George. Leo removed old stitching – the batten had pushed out above the velcro, so the stitching was not adequate to keep batten trapped by velcro. Also velcro is old and is not holding the batten in the way it should.

2137 Mainsail furled completely. Motoring only, no sail.

August 9, 2009

0100 Leo and I removed the main halyard from the sail because it was banging against the mast. Swell is still moving the boat around, making work a little tedious. Otherwise a pretty moon, puffy clouds, and only distant small squalls on the radar. A peaceful night, waiting for the trade winds to return. We seem to have a 1 kt favorable current.

0544 Set full main + jib. Moved Balmoral waypoint to leave it to port so we can sail free at AWA 48 deg.. Can take reef either side. Squalls at 20nm off port quarter.

0846 Freed sheets 20 degrees, to allow more W course. 143 nm in past 24 hrs, slowest day so far due to slow motoring in no wind.

1021 Furled the jib and set the reacher. ADAGIO is flying along now across bumpy seas. At this speed we will be at Havannah Pass on August 12. Breeze for sailing and for cooling the air temperature aboard. 718 nm to Havannah Pass. Now that the engines are off we will resume turning the genset on and off by one person going forward into the machinery space to connect and disconnect the wires.

1056 We altered course to AWA 90 deg. for better motion and to make the Balmoral Reef waypoint. Steve says since we do not have AWA, apparent wind on the reacher is OK as long as the TWD remains aft of the beam. Leo put out the fishing line.

1140 A fish took our lure and got off before we could reel him in. No gear lost this time.

1239 As I was doing the log we had a strike. Everyone is in the cockpit . I took Adagio to 130 deg. to slow the boat to reel in the fish. Over half an hour later a nice fat tuna was landed. Filleting and cleaning took another hour!

1327 Full main only until Dorothy finishes cleaning the tuna. Then back to reacher.

1411 Reacher reset. Bowling along at 9 knots in a pretty, smooth sea.

1921 Altered course to leave Balmoral shallow patch to starboard. Angles too tight, so started engine.

2054 We are heading west between the two Balmoral reefs, then will turn SW to our waypoint south of Vanuatu. At this rate we are due at Havannah Pass on Aug. 13, give or take. Sailing under full main and reacher. Moon has just appeared as a golden orb in the east, before being obscured by clouds on the horizon. Seas seem less boisterous than this afternoon.

August 10, 2009

0056 Altered waypoint to Aneityum Island.

0231 Plotted waypoint about where Rick forecasts cold front passage.

0256 Maybe 0.5kn gain in boat speed. Not much. Shook out first reef in the mainsail. Then first dialed up 20 deg COMPASS steering. Traveler was down 60%. Just kept luff tension tight.

0258 Two rain squalls off the starboard bow, 12nm ahead.

0258 Change pilot from COMPASS steering to to 80 deg apparent wind angle. I’m planning to sail a bit low of rhumb for better angles in light stuff after cold front.

0332 Still true wind speed varies 16-18 kts, lots of 11 knots of boat speed over the ground.

0614 AWA set to 90 deg when TWS 15 kts. Wind is now slowly backing which brings us closer to course. Dawn is beginning off to port. There is a sharp banging sound to stbd of the guest bed which keeps Penelope awake. It might be chain in the anchor locker that’s knocking about. Sky is more overcast than usual. A band of dark grey clouds ahead. We could be sailing into a weather system. Although the radar is clear.

1344 Stowed main. Battens 2 and 5 removed. They had escaped luff batten pockets. All batten pockets except top two are showing wear at luff. We gybed boom out to port end of traveler to give a clear line for the battens to be pulled out past the mast.

1530 Motoring in 5 knots of wind.

1641 510 nm to Havannah Pass: 3 days 12 hrs. Gentle swell with wind ripples. A booby bird circled ADAGIO for a while, but did not land. Sky more and more overcast. According to SatC weather forecast, we have crossed the axis of the first trough and are 320 nm from the second trough. The forecast rains and squally thunderstorms have not materialized. We are peacefully motoring again, reading, napping, visiting.

1944 Jib up close hauled. This added about 0.8 to 1.0 knots, enough to offset the windage speed loss.

2159 Stbd engine, slow down a bit to reduce wave-bashing. BIG difference between 5kn and 6kn into seas.

2345 Wind speed 19 to 21 kn ; direction fairly stable.

August 11, 2009

0212 Seas rough. We must be crossing the cold front that Rick mentioned in his update. Moon overhead. Radar clear. Wind speed is decreasing slowly and slightly. 459 nm to Havannah Pass.

0432 Great circus ride and hoorah no more anchor rolling. George has put a tournequet on the chains. Loosened lazy reacher sheet which is now lying quietly along the deck and not flogging. Penelope will sleep better now.

0810 Hoisted damaged main sail to second reef + jib, engine OFF, charge 92P. Fill daytank for accurate range.

1206 Careering south at 5+ knots boat speed in very bouncy seas. When ADAGIO lands after flying she judders just like a dog shakes after a swim.

1300 Put second reef in main with jib set. Rocking and rolling. T hinking of setting the reacher.

1330 Set reacher + main with second reef . The GFS model says wind will back to 106T until 0811 12Z.

1558 The ride is smoother and faster and closer to our course to Havannah Pass. It’s a beautiful day, cooler than yesterday. The Nadi weather forecast shows a trough in our vicinity bringing squally thunderstorms and scattered showers, but we are not seeing it out of our windows, only lovely fair weather cumulus and blue skies.

2251 Vessel sighted 4nm ahead bearing 231.

2320 Pilot error. I turned pilot off then on again, then re-set it to mode Wind. We are very slowly gaining on the boat ahead of us, tracking it on radar. I hailed it on the VHF radio and received no response. I got Steve out of bed. He set up the radar to better track the other boat. On the stabilized binoculars I see one white light, so we are seeing the stern light probably of another sail boat.

2349 Not enough wind to keep the autopilot happy, so I turned on the port engine to 1600 rpms and set the pilot to compass mode to 219 deg. Main and reacher are happier. Pilot happy. Radar was hung so I turned it off then on again. Autopilot on Compass mode keeps the other boat safely off to our stbd side, unless he changes course.

August 12, 2009

0243 White light disappeared over the horizon on our beam, so we are leaving the other boat behind. They seemed to be asleep. Clouds clearing, moon shining.

0732 Calm dawn; no sign of breeze.

0821 An overcast, moist morning with the sun trying to peek through the clouds astern. Wind is very slowly increasing. 281 nm to Havannah Pass.

0948 Engine Revs up to 2300 rpms. Now in the South Sub Tropical Current – setting us 1 kn to WNW. Steering 30 degrees higher to counter the current and get more south.

1211 It’s raining.

1304 Set reacher and full main.

1412 Wind backed 90-100 deg putting us on course for Australia. Furled reacher and main. Motoring.

1658 Land Ho!! Aneityum Island off the starboard bow, at 40 nm distant.

2157 Persistant rain.

2221 Port fresh water transfer pump running continiously. Turned off. No 1 Fresh Water pump functioning correctly. Check tank water levels and water pump every half hour for this watch.

August 13, 2009

0509 Steve has set the radar for us to use the A/C Auto button to suppress the rain clouds to better see other targets. Turned on No. 2 fresh water pump that Leo had turned off after turning off the water maker. Still raining. Clean boat. 177 nm, 1 day, 12 hours, to Havannah Pass at our current speed.

0702 As dawn broke the persistant rain took off. Sea is silky calm

0832 large container ship Pacific Destiny passing to port on recriproal course bearing 180 deg. 4 miles away, course 55deg. Sun appeared for a brief moment through leaden skies.

1302 Engine off. Sailing under full main and jib, beating towards the SE, in anticipation of a wind change so we can tack and make our course. George earned another gold medal for repairing the port side head. Fair weather cumulus clouds surround us. Dorothy phoned the marina on the island of Lifou to ask if ADAGIO would fit into their marina. Our plan would be to make landfall there, and have Steve fly to Noumea to check us in to customs and immigration. The answer was “Non”. ADAGIO is too large. So we are still heading towards Havannah Pass. We checked the tidal current tables on the chart which are referenced to Zhangjiang, China, to plan to arrive at the pass at slack low tide.

1502 Tacked towards Mare Island 66nm ahead in very bouncy seas, big swells off port bow in 15 kts true wind after sailing for 10 miles at right angles to our course away from destination. We are experiencing southwesterly winds in the SE trades.

1824 Sewing machine in action driven by Penelope converting French bicolour into a tricolour, whilst Adagio powers to windward.

2158 Slow progress in a rough sea. Southern Cross off port bow.

2259 Brightest stars ever! Persied meteor showers. Earlier this afternoon as we were reefing the main sail, batten number four popped out of the batten pocket at the luff. The pressure on the sail forces the batten forward of the luff and the feeder at the luff of the sail cuts through the batten pocket fabric. Leo and George came forward to help remove the batten from the pocket and stow it along side the dinghy. We can no longer reef the main down wind without losing battens. Steve turned the boat up into the wind to finish taking in the reef. We furled the jib after an hour’s bashing to windward to give us an easier ride. So we are motor sailing with two reefs in the main.

2338 Ship on radar off our port bow, range 13.4 nm bearing 188.9 deg M, course 223.7 M, speed 15.7 kts on a course parallel to ours. Quarter moon astern in rain-catch position. 98 nm to Havannah Pass, 31 hours.

August 14, 2009

0200 Moon atern, stars ahead.

0518 Our first view of New Caledonia is Mare Island, sighted on radar at 24 nm distant.

0615 Visual Land Ho! Mare Island, New Caledonia.

0832 Beautiful morning. Pity about the southerly wind direction. Slow progress in a lumpy sea.

1420 Land! Grande Terre sighted from 43 miles. By sunset, several peaks were in view.

August 15, 2009

0511 Landfall New Caledonia. We are 7.28 nm to our Havannah Pass waypoint. We have picked up the navigation light both visually and on the radar. ETA 1 hour 40 minuttes. Seas are calm. Quarter moon and stars. George and Leo took Steve’s watch. Stave stayed up last night to convert waypoints on our chart which is not chart datum WGS84.

1830 Arrive Noumea, New Caledonia, 3,623 nautical miles from Hawaii. As we approached Petite Rade, a nasty squall flattened the seas and reduced visibility. We had short tacked all the way from Canal Woodin to arrive before the official offices closed for the day. Sadly a loud “BANG” indicated that the bolt from the end of the boom had sheered so the main had to come down. It’s time we finished this amazing voyage. We berthed at the Visitor’s pontoon in Port de Moselle, most happy to have arrived safely and soundly, with all of our fingers and toes in tact, and all of our crew still on board, and still smiling.

We had traveled 3,623 nautical miles in 23 days, with an average of 156 nautical miles traveled per day.

Daily distances made good:

Day Date Time of Day Log Distance
1 7/23/09 1005 3739 175
2 7/24/09 1039 3914 196
3 7/25/09 1007 4110 225
4 7/26/09 1056 4335 192
5 7/27/09 1041 4527 203
6 7/28/09 959 4730 170
7 7/29/09 1036 4900 115
8 7/30/09 1020 5015 153
9 7/31/09 1038 5168 163
10 8/1/09 916 5331 217
11 8/2/09 1030 5548 194
12 8/3/09 924 5742 162
13 8/4/09 955 5904 177
14 8/5/09 1019 6081 171
15 8/7/09 923 6252 156
16 8/8/09 1021 6408 146
17 8/9/09 1021 6554 184
18 8/10/09 1022 6738 132
19 8/11/09 1010 6870 143
20 8/12/09 1022 7013 127
21 8/13/09 1030 7140 106
22 8/14/09 1132 7246 84
23 8/15/09 1030 7330 32

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….

1. Hawaii to New Caledonia – dodging the hurricanes

Jul 23, 2009 to July 31, 2009:

On July 16, ADAGIO’s population increased again when we were joined by Leo Foley, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania (Hobart, Tasmania), and fellow OCC sailors Penelope and George Curtis (Oxfordshire, UK).

We’ve had eleven days in Hawaii to prepare for the passage to New Caledonia via Western Samoa. Admiral Dorothy has been performing actual miracles provisioning ADAGIO so we will have fresh and yummy food for five people for a passage that could easily take more than three weeks. As we did for the San Francisco to Hawaii passage, we have converted our freezer to function as a cool-store veggie box. The freezer function for meat has been reassigned to the bottom drawer of the fridge. So we have lots of cubics for fresh veggies. We shall keep you informed on whether we are digging out the tinned green beans as the passage is ending.

Isn’t passage-making mostly about good food? We think so, and from our time together here at Ko Olina, Oahu, it seems that George, Leo and Penelope agree. So we are all looking forward to more-cooks-in-the-galley (and Steve is looking forward to more-dishwashers-in-the-galley). The Bosch dishwasher has defied heroic efforts to restore it to full health — entirely due to the challenge of servicing 240VAC/50Hz appliances in the land of 120VAC/60Hz. Parts are non-obtanium and service techs are either much-too-busy or not-willing-to-work-on-boats or we-don’t-do-240-volt.

The mainsail batten pockets have been reworked by North Sails Hawaii, who somehow managed to get our main onto the loft floor in spite of Honolulu rapidly filling up with Transpac race boat arrivals. “THE LIST” of maintenance items that MUST BE DONE is done. All we need now is reasonable weather to sail the 3,400 rhumb line nautical miles to Noumea with a shot at a peaceable equator crossing and as little ungentlemanly upwind sailing as we can arrange. We expect to sail a good bit further than the rhumb line for the usual reasons, including a stopover at Apia in Western Samoa, managing the ocean currents and winds that don’t seem to have read our optimum routing plan, finding a narrowish waist in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and missing a number of lovely tropical islands and rocky bits that clutter the ocean between here and there.

As we studied the patterns of tropical storms and cyclones heading our way, ADAGIO’s long-time weather router/consultant Rick Shema has been a big help. In July, the risk of these storms being dangerous (if they make it to Hawaii) is typically not very high. That said, if the Tropical Prediction Center (National Hurricane Center) is forecasting a named storm to intersect our planned track, then we prefer to sail into the not-yet-known risks. Recently the intensity of convection in the equatorial region west of us went from relatively quiet to relatively active/high. Which means more squalls, thunderstorms and just generally not-nice weather ahead. We are watching for predictions of a quieter convection phase on our planned route to Western Samoa.

cyclone dodging.jpg

We are also dealing with an intensifying El Nino, which is not what we want for the passage, but it is what we’ve got. As Rick noted via email:

El Nino implies higher that normal sea surface temps in equatorial EPAC and lighter trades there. Also, enhanced convection and precip in central North Pacific waters. There is a correlation with increased tropical cyclone activity in EPAC. About three times normal.

By July 21st the convection on our track is moderating a bit, and the approaching cyclones look to be offering us a “passing lane” to get out of Hawaii before the next TC gets organized. So we firm up the departure date/time with Rick so he has time to prepare a WX departure package for us.

On Thursday July 23rd we take on a full load diesel fuel at Ko Olina Marina, which with a full day tank, is almost 1,600 litres. It is impossible to predict on a long passage how much motorsailing we may want to do. So Skipper Steve reckons the least-worst-choice is to push the weight of maybe-not-needed fuel along, rather than get stuck in a hole sailing at 3 kn for a week because we don’t wish to risk our reserve fuel in order to scoot out of the hole. By 1000 we are underway into about 7kn of true wind from 150T — i.e., a light headwind. As we sail out of U.S. waters, we are motorsailing under full main and jib, easy sailing at 6 to 7kn into one meter seas.

With a few squalls and visiting boobies, these will be our conditions until around 0900 on the 24th, when the true wind has built to 17 kn and we are Rocketing along on a tight reach. Seas are down from the overnight light winds, but are building quickly now that we have steady 17-18kn TWS. With luck wind will starting backing soon so we’ll get aligned with the bumps. We’re starting to reach the upper wind limits of the reacher – will have to head off a bit if wind builds further.

Following are a few tidbits from ADAGIO’s log:

July 24, 2009

1039 This is good tradewind sailing. We furled the reacher and set the jib. Boat speed down a knot, but much more comfortable ride. Full main sail. Booby continues to circle the boat, landing on the eyebrow awnings occasionally. Outdoor temperature is 82 deg F. Blue sky with cumulus all around and some showers off in the distance. The deepwater buoy Y”51003” is due west of us at 34 nm distance. High cirrus clouds in the north astern of us. We need a diamond shaped yellow sign saying “Boobies aboard”.. Our booby has perched on the starboard bow pulpit and is preening its feathers, enduring occasional spray from the sea.

1350 Comfortable under jib and full main. Third boobie aboard, liking the spray on pulpit.

1444 Spoke to fishing boat passing close to starboard, heading to Hawaii with his catch. Booby departed.

1603 Change apparent wind angle ( AWA) from 70 down to 80 – noticeably better ride.

July 25, 2009

0924 Our red-footed booby has moved to the port stern pulpit. He/she preens feathers full-time. Seas are still a bit confused; sun is shining; mixed clouds of fair weather cumulus ahead; cumulus and stratus on our port side and astern. All crew members come up for breakfast and visiting. Two-hour long watches is certainly wonderful. We are all rested and enjoying the ride. Outdoor temperature is 81 deg F. We are passing through an area of many seamounts with names such as Hassayampa Seamount, Monsoon Seamount and Sea Dragon Ridge.

1950 We received an update from Rick Shema advising us to travel to longitude 175 W before turning south through the ITCZ. So we have furled the jib and unfurled the reacher to alter our course to more westerly. We changed the next two way points from 170 W to 175 W. New course to steer is 241 degrees.

2151 Quiet watch; smoother ride; reacher doing its work

July 26, 2009

0359 We are sailing under full main and reacher. TWS varies from 17 to 21 kts; boat speed varies from 9 to 12 kts. Our red-footed booby is sleeping on the port stern pulpit this evening. All is steady: wind speed, boat speed. Seas are not so rough as during the day. A little lightning in the sky off our port stern in the distance. It is a very black night. Radar is clear. 733 nm to our turnig point before we head south across the ITCZ.

0511 We just surfed at 16.5 kts. Not sure what the true wind speed (TWS) was, but as soon as we stopped surfing the TWS was 18 kts.

0925 With a steady TWS of 20 knots, and our boat speed 11+ knots, I came down 10 degrees to 150 degrees apparent wind speed (AWA) on the pilot.

1218 Put 4th reef into mainsail with boom 24” above the coach roof. Furled nicely all the way from full hoist to 4th reef. Overtrimmed reacher to partially backwind the main. Main traveler car at centerline. Set jib and reacher wing-on-wing. Very comfortable ride. I discovered that the fourth batten from the top of the mainsail has chaffed through the sail and the chafe tape, from the main sail bearing on the upper shrouds. I stuck on a long piece of Kevlar sticky back sail repair tape on top of the chafe guard tape already on the sail.

1748 Our red-footed booby whom we have named Albert, sat on its perch throughout the sail changes, tolerating noisy electric winches and our movements inside and outside of the cockpit. It’s a brave bird. Occasionally Albert will fly away for food, and then return after about 10 minutes absence. Following seas boost our speed every few minutes as we catch a surfing wave. 637 nm to our turning point when we will head south across the ITCZ.

1757 Under twin headsails, Adagio is enjoying a lovely downwind sail. Albert disgraced himself by chewing the line attaching the webbing to the aft steps and was chased away. He returned briefly whilst the webbing was taped but has now left us. We miss him!

2225 Chasin’ moonbeams (between clouds)

July 27, 2009

0011 Bright stars overhead. Radar is clear. Seas are from astern and regular. ADAGIO has found a comfortable groove with winged out reacher and jib and 4th reef in the mainsail. We are sleeping well. We are on course with 570 nm to go to our waypoint AP1, where we turn south. Still no sign of Albert.

0150 TWD has backed 15 degrees, from 71 deg to 60 deg, so our heading is slightly south of our course to steer. Stars are now covered by clouds.

0401 Quiet watch; stars shining

1041 Still a smooth roller coaster ride with occasional underwing slams. Steady trade winds with following seas. We could not ask for more.

1243 After analyzing the text weather forecast, we decided to head directly for AP2. This will let us avoid an area of thunderstorms that lay across our track to AP1. In addition, by heading SW now, we can make it through a gap in the ITCZ that is located south and southwest of us. I sent an email message to Rick S. describing our analysis. Steve sent a message to Rick describing our altered course. Rick agreed that a southwesterly course is good, and that we should make the best speed possible, within the bounds of comfort.

1303 Sailing under reacher and 4th reefed main.

July 28, 2009

0159 Phosphorescence – we haven’t see that for a while!

0258 TWS up to 25 knots. Rounding up on pilot = NORM, so fall off 10 deg; ease overtrimmed reacher.

0454 Squall overhead at 0440; wind up to 28 briefly, some rain. No problem really. Bear away 10 degrees.

0604 Sunrise just beginning as the clouds are clearing astern. TWS 16 to 23 kts. Boat speed 8 to 13 kts.

0704 How quickly things change. A band of rain clouds is approaching from our port quarter, a bright spot on the radar, bringing more showers, perhaps, or maybe not.

0748 We have entered the region of the ITCZ. The rain clouds passed overhead leaving a rainbow in their wake. No dramas this time.The radar shows more shower clouds coming towards us, but they have very little convection.

0849 Rain squall brought gust of 30 kts. I came down 10 deg AWA to 143.

0932 Sky has cleared. Convection clouds off to port are moving away.

1237 Dodged up to AWA 110 to miss two wet squalls, down to 120 which seems about the right course now.

1624 Wind speed is decreasing and backing. I decreased the AWA to 100, which brought us back on course, then beyond. So I increased the AWA to 105 and we are sailing close to our course. With the wind becoming lighter, the boat is moved around by the waves a bit more.

1730 Full main; fall off 5 deg; ease reacher.

1845 Mainsail first reef taken in and reacher furled to slow down as suggested by Rick.

2006 Steering to SHOAL Waypoint then to new AP2 latitude 00N longitude 169.5W.

July 29, 2009

0202 Tonight we have the brightest display of stars ever. A few lightning flashes off our starboard (stbd) stern in the distance. No threat to us. Sailing under jib and one reef in the main sail. Three more days sailing before we reach the equator, at the present speed.

0354 While watching the stars I saw a plane fly over, high in the sky, lights flashing. TWS from 10 kts to 14 kts.

0600 Stars still shining; quiet watch

0653 Wind headed. Squall 4 miles astern

0839 Set full main + reacher

0954 Huge wind veer

1036 TWS up to 25, furled reacher; set jib. Wind probably due to squall to port

1229 We were triming the reacher with the stbd tweaker, and the double turning block for tweakers on the stbd stern pulled out of the deck. The generator stopped running. Two unrelated events. We furled the reacher.

1442 Underway again, genset fixed, stbd reacher sheet block jury rigged.

1452 Reacher furled; port engine started; wind is dying.

1544 After a couple hours of frantic activity in the hot sun (89 deg F) we all tucked into banana icecream thanks to Dorothy’s gelato ice cream maker! Adagio is underway again all systems go!

1657 Furled main about 4nm before rain squall.

1811 George and Steve have cut out chafe from the port reacher tack line, rigged short piece of hose pipe and used a piece of line to tie off the stbd reacher tack line to prevent chafe.

2004 Port engine temp went to 90C so switched to stbd engine to see if it is the same in this 84F water.

2214 Mostly 5 kts true wind speed, except when a grey cloud passes over the boat and then the TWS increases to 15 – 16 kts. Six or more small cloud targets on the radar to port. Quiet evening. No sails set, motoring as we are expecting some turbulence during the night. Quarter moon and stars shine between the clouds.

2330 The biggest squall came upon us from port aft quarter and port side. Wind speed steady at 20-23 kts, on the nose, so boat speed down to 4 kts. Waves boisterious. Good thing that we have no sail up. No rain, just wind. Big clouds come out at night. Now it’s raining.

July 30, 2009

0030 Wind dropping all the time; no more squals visible on the radar for 20 miles.

0200 A few stars have appeared and the radar is still showing no squalls – a quiet watch

0440 Radar shows no rain. Bright light baring 61 deg and 5 deg above horizon. No radar return. Could it be the reflection of the sun on a sattelite? No. it is a planet; very bright when just above the horizon.

0538 Messages received from and sent to Rick.

1040 Full main and jib

1145 Full main and reacher are driving us smartly over the water at 8 to 9 ktsw.

1726 Squall at 1700 meant reacher furled, and motor sailing. Wind did not return to previous strength after the squall had passed.

1831 Line squall with heavy rain flattened seas, and crew happy to be motor sailing. After, put 1 reef in main. 30 minutes later, 12 kn true encouraged the reacher again. Nice! 7+ knots boat speed and feels good.

July 31, 2009

0034 Line of rain squalls 12 nm to starboard – about 8 squalls.

0114 Prepare for squalls – furl reacher, 1st-reefed main to centerline. Reefed upwind in about 10 AWS. Switch pilot to compass steering.

0135 Squalls petered out at our position. 35deg veer but TWS maxed at 16 for first squall. Now there is a line of squalls.

0319 Motor-sailing; Large squall passed across our bow. Now clear, but wind only 8-9 knots.

0400 Motorsailing under the Milky Way. First reef in the main sail. Headsails furled. There is a squall on the radar, 12 nm ahead off our port bow. I’ll keep an eye on it. We are still monitoring the genset every 30 minutes. . Urgent message on the Inmarsat C terminal: “TROPICAL STORM LANA NEAR 13.3N 144.6W AT 0900 UTC JUL 31 MOVING W OR 285 DEG AT 17 KT.” Our position is latitude 3 deg 53′ N longitude 170 deg 59.6 ‘ W.

0447 Squall 3 nm off our port bow. I have headed up 20 deg to try to miss it.

0746 Reacher set; speed increased to 9kts.

0833 Changed to jib.

1751 Conditions stable, no sail changes, beautiful afternoon excellent visibility. Two white morph boobies landed on the sea nearby and gave us a lovely aerial display before flying away. No squalls since dawn.

2121 No squalls on radar, wind has backed/lifted about 20° in last 2 hours – makes the ride noticeably better.

2334 Quiet watch under a (not quite) full moon.

More to follow, next we cross the Equator…