Tue Sep 25 5:48 2018 NZST
Run: 10.4nm (18.8km)
16 57.208s 144 34.870w
Weather: 10knots SE, 20% cloud cover, no swell well at least here inside the atoll. 1015 Baro

Spent that last two weeks exploring the Tahanea Atoll in French Polynesia's Tuamotus. Thoroughly enjoyed all it has to offer, which to our pleasant suprise included swimming with manta rays, and the solitude it brings. Late today though it is time to move on, we are going to sail up to North Fakarava overnight where we will pick some friends from Australia who will join us for two weeks.

Sun Sep 9 10:03 2018 NZST
Run: 329.1nm (595.7km)
16 50.915s 144 41.648w
Weather: no wind or swell inside the atoll with mere 10% cloud cover today, 1015 baro

We dropped the pick inside the Tahanae Atoll in the Tuamtuos this morning after a two day sail from Papeete. Can't believe how lucky we were to sail all the way on a 10-20 knot westerly given the east-based trades that prevail. Our only gripe was snotty seas for the first day which comprised a 2.5m SE swell that had a 10 sec interval with a 3m swell from the WNW with a mere 4 sec interval; which when combined made for some uncomfortable moments. But that all passed within 24hrs, and we did get to sail the whole way without the need for the mainsail. Our 130% genoa was more than enough for us to average 6.5 knots SOG despite the 0.5 knot adverse current. Suffice to say that it is all soooooo nice to be back in the pristine Tuamotus again. As we dropped anchor we were greeted by three good size black tipped sharks that are still circling the boat, several oversized needle fish and various schools of other reef fish. The visibility is of course stunning; we're anchored in 12m of water yet you could read a newspaper on the bottom if you were that way inclined.

Mon Aug 20 12:36 2018 NZST
Run: 105.4nm (190.8km)
17 34.962s 149 37.151w
Weather: no wind or swell inside the lagoon, the day started blue but cloud cover is building, 1013 baro

Been chilling in Papeete anchored off the northern corner of Marina Taine for the last week or so catching up on boat jobs. Plan is to finish of the jobs this week, reprovision, refuel and re-booze up for the Tuamotus and Marquesas. If all goes to plan we'll stage for the Tuamotus around Point Venus towards the weekend.

Sat Aug 4 11:48 2018 NZST
16 48.717s 150 59.803w
Weather: no wind or swell inside the lagoon but we do have 100% cloud cover now, 1017 baro

Had a big day of brewing aboard Iolea today. Bottled our first home brew of the season, a Bulldog American Pale Ale with extra hops. Also put a Muntons Dockland Porter in the fermenter. Should be ready to start drinking the APA in a 2-3wks, will be another 5wks before we can sample the Porter though. Suffice to say we will be self sufficient in the brewing stakes by the time we hit the Tuamotus.

Fri Aug 3 14:15 2018 NZST
Run: 33.3nm (60.3km)
16 48.717s 150 59.803w
Weather: no wind or swell here and no clouds, 1013 baro

We had a glorious sail from Raiatea across to Huahine yesterday. Spent that arvo reprovisioning in Fare then headed down to Baie D'Avea this morning. Will probably stay here for at least 5 days before looking for weather to sail to Papette.

Sat Jul 14 6:09 2018 NZST
Run: 58nm (105km)
16 46.052s 151 29.855w
Weather: Not a concern for us today, just in case David is interested though it is light & variable with 5% cloud cover and no swell with 1015 baro

Woo Hoo! we're safely on anchor in Raiatae. Its so good to be back up in French Polynesia and to have this passage behind us. All up we can't complain as most boats that do this passage tend to experience 1-3 gales of 50+ knots; whereas we did not experience a single gale despite leaving in one of the worst two months of the year for gales. It was also a quicker trip than expected, taking us a mere 16 days. Some of the stats of the passage are: Rhumb Line Distance - 2160nms Actual Distance - 2418nms Number Days - 16 Number of Gales - nil Average Boat Speed - 6.2 knots Maximum Boat Speed - 10.5 knots Max Sustained Wind - 25 knots Max Gust Strength - 30 knots Engine Hours - 95hrs Genset Hours - 25hrs Diesel Used - 314ltrs Water Used - 528ltrs Gear Failure - nil

Fri Jul 13 6:33 2018 NZST
Run: 164.5nm (297.7km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 170.9nm
17 28.000s 151 59.000w
Weather: 15-20kts E, course is 30T, 90% cloud cover, 2m short interval NE swells and 1016 Baro

We have 50nms to go. Wow what a night. We didn't expect to have such a rough night this close to Raiatae. We started off close hauled with a fairly steady easterly breeze in the high teens and

Thu Jul 12 7:27 2018 NZST
Run: 146.2nm (264.6km)
Avg: 6.7knts
24hr: 161nm
19 29.000s 153 19.000w
Weather: 15kts E?, course is 30T, 30% cloud cover, 2m short interval NE swells and 1020 Baro

We have 195nms to go. Another challenging night; as we were close hauled in 15-25kts from the bloody ENE with crap seas. Sure could've done with wind from the ESE instead. That said, last night's squalls appear to have finished, the sun is shining this morning and the wind is slowing clocking back hopefully all the way to the ESE. Our ETA is around dusk tomorrow. All is well aboard.

Sorry to hear about the shitty conditions, but woohoo, you’re nearly there. Where are you checking in? The Gambiers? Or elsewhere? Regardless, happy to hear all is well on board the good ship. XX
Wed Jul 11 9:39 2018 NZST
Run: 153.5nm (277.8km)
Avg: 6.1knts
24hr: 146.2nm
21 28.000s 154 06.000w
Weather: 15-20kts E-ESE, course is 28T, 30% cloud cover, 2m short interval swells and 1022 Baro

We have 320nms to go, and our autopilot is still working, woo hoo! These are challenging conditions though; as the wind direction is varing +/- 30 degrees and the strength is ranging between 5 & 30 knots. We have to set the sail configuration for the top end of that range; as it changes so frequently. This means we rarely have enough sail up so our progress is slower that it would otherwise be. With the benefit of hindsight we should've continued dead east for 1-2 more days before turning up; as that would've made these last 2-3 days more comfortable. That said, we should not complain as we have not experienced a single gale, the highest wind gusts we've recorded so far barely hit 30 knots, and we will arrive earlier than had we stayed south longer. So all up that is still pretty good for doing this passage at the worst time of the year. All is well aboard.

good to hear you are doing well. thanks for all the details in your post. as I have grown to like passages, I would suggest doing whatever you can to prolong yours.
Tue Jul 10 8:27 2018 NZST
Run: 164.2nm (297.2km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 177.1nm
23 09.000s 155 40.000w
Weather: 15-25kts ESE, course is 45T, 90% cloud cover, 2m SE swell and 1022s Baro

Just noticed we've been using the wrong date for the last few posts, oops. We have 450nms to go. Had a good night of close hauled sailing in robustish conditions again. All is well aboard.

Mon Jul 9 10:12 2018 NZST
Run: 182.5nm (330.3km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 171.1nm
24 40.000s 157 40.000w
Weather: 15-25kts SSE, course is 55T, 20% cloud cover, 2m SE swell and 1021s Baro

We have 590nms to go. Had a great night of sailing in robustish conditions. We had SSE winds ranging from 15 to 30 knots, mostly in the 17-22 knot range, which we sailed at an apparent wind angle of 60 & 90 degrees. This allowed us to sail with a single reef in the main combined with our running back supported stay sail. The great thing about this sail configuration is that it is so forgiving in terms of shifts in wind strength and direction. Iolea just coasts along beautifully at 6-7 kts with this set up. Our challenge now continues to be trading off getting sufficiently north to avoid some lighter winds which set in around our current latitude and continue our progress to the east; as the easterly trades are not far away. Apart from the normal challenges that all yachts face when trying to sail close hauled in 15-25 knots, Iolea has an additional challenge due to our long keel. We are starting to see a meaningful swell from the SE, which will become a material head wind to making progress to the east as it will reinforce the SW based current. For example, when we sailed from New Caledonia down to NZ last Nov we had a 2m swell pushing us west, this swell was enough to increase the 0.5-1.0 knot westerly current up to 2-3 knots. The course correction necessary to offset that drift was a whopping 35 degrees. Here's hoping we can sail the rest of this passage close hauled without having to tack our way into Raiatae. All is well aboard; oh and yes our autopilot is still working.

Sun Jul 8 8:36 2018 NZST
Run: 152.4nm (275.8km)
Avg: 6.4knts
24hr: 152.4nm
26 05.000s 160 08.000w
Weather: 10-15kts SSE, course is 70T, 100% cloud cover, 2-3m long interval SW swell and 1018s Baro

We have 740nms to go. Had a mixed night of sailing, as a temporary wind shift to the east came in, it all went light and variable, with us needing to turn on the iron sail for 8hrs to ensure we continued to make adequate progress to the east given the pending easterly trades which re-establish themselves on Tuesday. All is well aboard.

Sat Jul 7 8:36 2018 NZST
Run: 166.3nm (301km)
Avg: 6.7knts
24hr: 160nm
26 50.000s 162 27.000w
Weather: 12-14 knots SSW, course is 75T, 100% cloud cover, 2m SW swell and 1018s Baro

We have 862nms to go. Had another good night of sailing. If the forecast hold our challenge is to get as far east and a little further north as we can as in 3-4 days time the easterly trades will have re-established themselves. Whilst this appears doable, there is no escape finishing the passage close hauled sailing, albeit in 15kt winds which should make that final leg bearable. All is well aboard.

Fri Jul 6 7:39 2018 NZST
Run: 156.4nm (283.1km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 156.1nm
27 13.000s 165 07.000w
Weather: 5-10 knots SW, course is 45T, 100% cloud cover, 2m short interval swell from many directions. 1014 Baro

We have 980nms to go. Had a good night of sailing until the wind died around 5am. As we've been sailing directly downwind we are wing-on-wing and do not have the benefit of both sails on the same side to stabilize Iolea. With the wind down to 5-10 knots, the seas still up and swells coming from 5-6 different directions plus the wake from any large commercial vessels within a 200nms radius we have an uncomfortable roll. Other than that all is well aboard.

Bugger about having to sail wing on wing, but let me tell you, the totally spectacular FP Islands will make it all oh-so worth while.
Thu Jul 5 7:36 2018 NZST
Run: 135.6nm (245.4km)
Avg: 5.6knts
24hr: 135.3nm
28 14.000s 167 24.000w
Weather: 25 knots SW, 30% cloud cover, 3m NE swell. 1013 Baro

A boisterous night of sailing in 25-30 knots with a 2-3m swell; which is always preferable to motoring. Nothing of note to report, all is well aboard.

Wed Jul 4 7:33 2018 NZST
Run: 152.8nm (276.6km)
Avg: 6.8knts
24hr: 163nm
29 19.000s 169 16.000w
Weather: 10 knots SW, 100% cloud cover, 1.5m short interval swell. 1018 Baro

Had a mixed bag last night. The positive was how splendidly Iolea sailed in the 25-30 knots we got from the cold front that passed us last night. We had a double reefed main and our little staysail out supported by one of our running backs. Iolea glided along effortlessly at 7-8 knots in winds from her aft quarter with ease and was amazingly stable as the seas got more and more confused as the wind built and set in for the night. The negative was what happens after a front passes of course, as the winds died but the swell remained making it impossible to sail unless engine assisted, and even then we couldn't keep a heady up; and the annoying roll that cannot be avoided due to so many swells coming from so many directions. All that said, we are pleased that we weren't further south as that would've been a lot more boisterous. Whilst Kate & I are somewhat sleep deprived, all is well aboard.

Tue Jul 3 9:03 2018 NZST
Run: 143.2nm (259.2km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 155.5nm
30 26.000s 171 28.000w
Weather: 20-25knots NW, 70% cloud cover, 1m short interval NW swell. 1025 Baro

What a difference a day makes. We managed to unjam our mainsail without having to go up the mast and our autopilot is still working; woo hoo! Also had some glorious sailing over the last 24 hrs with a fairly full moon over night and clear skies, basically doing 6-7 knots in a tightish reach with 10-15 knots winds and very little swell. Throughout the morning the winds have built up to 20-25kts. The swell is somewhat confused as you'd expect with these winds, but it is only a 1m wind chop. We were on a heading of around 50T most of the night, but have since beared away on a course of around 70T as we don't want too much more north in at present, preferring to favour more easting which also happens to be a faster heading.

Mon Jul 2 10:57 2018 NZST
Run: 158.9nm (287.6km)
Avg: 5.7knts
24hr: 137.9nm
31 29.000s 173 33.000w
Weather: 5-10knots NW, 60% cloud cover, 1-3m swell. 1028 Baro

There has never been a truer word spoken than "if its going to happen it will happen out there"; which is a line from the film "Captain Ron". We discovered that there may be a structural flaw emerging inside our Whitlock electric auto-pilot drive unit; as there is a cracking sound coming from inside the unit, and we still have 1500nms to go to get to FP. That said it is still working for now at least. Whilst we do have a spare unit, our preference is not to replace it at sea whilst our current one is still working, rather we'll baby it by keeping weather helm to a minimum; and only resorting to replacing it if it really does fail before we get to FP. Our second drama is that our main sail has jammed coming out around the 3rd reefing point. We don't see a real need to go up the mast at sea to unjam it though as we expect to be running most of the way to FP; so the main in somewhat redundant anyway. So for now we're just leaving the small amount of a main out so we at least have some main sail working. If need be we know we can bring the main all the way back in without issue. Apart from being kept busy with these two issues, all is well aboard. We managed to sail around 6 hrs over the last 24hrs, and only recently turned the motor back off now that the centre of the high has passed us and we are starting to see a 5-10 knot NW breeze emerge; but this maybe premature as the wind is still fluky and may take a few more hours to truly settle back in. Oh the other item worth noting is at that we are changing our intended port of entry from Bora Bora to the next island on its eastern side; namely Raiatae, as this will allow us to catch up with friends we've not seen since the Galapagos Islands early in 2013.

Sun Jul 1 7:18 2018 NZST
Run: 190nm (343.9km)
Avg: 8.1knts
24hr: 194.9nm
31 51.000s 176 13.000w
Weather: 5-10knots SSW, 40% cloud cover, 1-3m SE swell. 1030 Baro

Motoring again in lazy 3 metre seas. Its very cold so might put on the diesel heater if the sun doesn't warm us up. Celery and potato soup has been helping. Gradually getting into the rhythm of shifts and a day motoring means showers for both of us. So all good. BTW we passed over the international dateline yesterday so its still Saturday here. A boat in the middle of the ocean is the perfect groundhog day.

Sat Jun 30 7:54 2018 NZST
Run: 161.2nm (291.8km)
Avg: 6.4knts
24hr: 153.2nm
33 32.000s 178 48.000w
Weather: 15knots SSE, 60% cloud cover, 1-3m SE swell. 1028 Baro

Managed to keep sailing all day yesterday, most of which was pleasant sailing despite being somewhat boisterous last night and close hauled all the time. Our aim is to shoot along in between the 32nd & 33rd latitudes, which is why we are close hauled in the SSE breeze that has prevailed most of the last 24hrs. Our understanding is that the centre of the high that is about to pass us is somewhere around 32-33 degrees, so if we stay there we'll avoid the easterly breezes above its centre, and avoid having to sail so far south; our only price to pay is probably motoring through that centre of that high for a day. If we are right though, we should be able to head back up and ride the westerly based breezes on top of the next low that follows this fast approaching high. Well that is our strategy for the next few days. We'll reassess as more weather forecasts become available.

Fri Jun 29 6:39 2018 NZST
Speed: 6knts
Run: 153.6nm (278km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 156.2nm
33 13.000s 178 26.000e
Weather: 15knots from the West, 35% cloud cover, 1m short period westerly swell. 1023 Baro

Pleased to be sailing again, albeit wing-on-wing. General conditions haven't changed that much other than a little more wind, allowing us to turn off the motor for a change. We're currently doing 6 knots on a heading of 40T; and are close to our rhumb line for FP. All is well aboard.

Thu Jun 28 7:03 2018 NZST
Run: 132.3nm (239.5km)
Avg: 5.9knts
24hr: 140.5nm
34 21.000s 176 08.000e
Weather: 10knots SW, 90% cloud cover, 1m short period SE swell. 1025 Baro

Started this passage mostly motor sailing in light 5-7 knot winds and relatively calm yet still somewhat confused seas, only managed to sail for 5hrs so far; hoping for more wind today.

Wed Jun 27 8:27 2018 NZST
35 19.03S 174 07.203E
Weather: no wind and cold

Yes we are indeed casting off the dock lines this morning and setting sail to French Polynesia. Our intended port of entry is either Bora Bora or Raiatae; weather permitting. Expected passage time is around 18 days. First week is looking like calm seas and light winds; after that is the usual lucky dip.

Mon Jun 25 21:54 2018 NZST
Run: 3nm (5.4km)
35 19.03S 174 7.203E
Weather: Cold, no wind, Bar 1015

Final preparations for a Wednesday departure for French Polynesia.

So we never got to catch up, maybe next time! We are enjoying life in a house, especially after several days working on Balvenie in the cold and even hail today. Hope you got all work work done, it's a long way to French Poly, we will be watching your progress. Take care out there and sail safe xx
Thu Jun 21 10:06 2018 NZST
Run: 44.9nm (81.3km)
35 16.410s 174 07.615e
Weather: 25knots SE, 100% cloud cover, Raining, no swell. 1011 Baro

Anchored around the corner from Russell. This is a test post as we search for a suitable weather window to sail to Bora Bora (French Polynesia).

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