Departing New Cal for Southport after a nice last surf. Moderate Southerly breeze filling in, fetching along nicely with full sails.
A few miles from Noumea! Sails came down after entering the passage and we?ve been motoring with light wind from behind. It?s been a long night of navigating through the lagoon so we are both sleep deprived but really happy after a glamour passage.
Looking forward to catching up with our friends here. Go bokke!!
Just a few miles from Sarcelle passage, which we?ve decided to make our entry point due to wind angle and to avoid contrary tidal current later at Woodin canal.
It?s been a perfect day weather wise. Sunny skies and tiny seas, just like we like it. The wind was a bit light midday and we motor-sailed for about 3 hours but filled in after that and sailing nicely since.
We are going to trust instruments, the charting here and our previous tracks and make our way directly to Noumea in the dark, south of Ouen island. Should arrive pre-dawn,
A good night of moderate wind and small seas as we continued to make good progress reaching along.
At 0-dark 30 I noticed the vang was broken (boom gets held down still by the boom brake) but fortunately it was easily fixed with replacement of a broken shackle.
Again at dawn this morning there is mostly blue sky, but I fear the cloud will set in later as it has for the past couple days. With no accumulated solar charging yesterday we had to run the motor for about an hour every 4 hours last night, frustrating to have to do this when there is good wind.
This morning the wind is about 12 knots and forecast to be around this and less for the rest of the passage. At the moment the strength and angle is just good enough to sail close to course at reasonable speed (about 6 knots). We may need to motorsail a fair bit if we want to make checkin at Noumea tomorrow morning before immigration closes at 11:30. At the moment we are doing well on that goal with just 115 nm to go to Havannah passage . Last day at sea!
Unfortunately the sun remains elusive, only making very brief and occasional appearances through the day. There was just enough with brightness through the clouds that the solar managed to hold even on the power demands but now we are having to run the engine for a while to charge batteries. Might as well make a few extra miles at the same time ?. Ironically now that darkness has fallen the cloud seems to have dissipated and there?s a starry sky above.
I shouldn?t complain though because we did have another beautiful sailing day. The wind got a little bit lighter around midday and we are now with full main and jib, at a mellow broad reaching angle. Seas are small and helping us along, easy sailing.
Regrettably we are going to have to miss out on the amazing fishing over the Gemini sea mound because we will be there tonight. Nothing happening in the deep water as we?ve dragged two lures in vain for the last 3 days.
We enjoyed a restful night of easy broad reaching in about 18 knots SE breeze. 2nd reef in main and slightly furled jib was enough for Jolifou to surge along nicely, surfing the waves. The seas are smaller this morning which is a trend we hope continues as the forecast sees less trades behind us.
The weather is looking more promising this morning with a fair bit of blue sky, hoping for more sun for the solar charging so we don?t need to run the motor for that.
Another good day of sailing, reaching along in SE wind ranging between 15 and 25 knots.
The sun made an appearance in the early afternoon but then was lost again in patches of light rain. They aren?t really rain squalls because they don?t change the wind very much, which is a saving grace.
Making great progress in lumpy but comfortable enough conditions. Lyn and I both well rested and happy to be at sea.
Our first day was a lot better sailing than expected with us picking up good SE breeze shortly after Cloudbreak pass. The forecast area of light wind in a trough close to Fiji thankfully never transpired. Neither did a little bubble of low pressure that was supposed to pop up close to our track last night, so going really good so far. It has been overcast but with no rain, a thin layer of low cloud with very occasional blue patches showing through. The full moon rising and shining through one such patch was spectacular.
We?ve been reaching at a nice angle in SE winds varying between about 17 to 23 knots. Seas have varied quite a bit, a little confused but quite small, getting bumped around a bit but quite comfortable. We?ve ended up with a sail configuration of 2nd reef and jib changing size on the wind strength from 50% to 100%. Seems really easy to get high numbers, we probably have some current in our favour.
Lyn?s pre-prepared lamb stew was sooo delicious last night! We?ve both had some good sleep, may this continue.
Cleared out of Denarau and on our way to New Caledonia.
Entering Cloudbreak pass, it feels like coming home. As a surfer how good is it for your arrival point to be one of the best surf breaks in the world! On our way to clear at Denerau where we will meet my sister Jacqui and niece Bronte who are joining us for a week.
We should be out at Musket on Saturday, looking so forward to catching up with all of our local and migratory friends here
Land ahoy! After the rough start to the night it became easier although little rain squalls messed around with the wind a bit. Jolifou took it all in her stride but average speed suffered as we don?t do frequent reef changes at night, the staysail isn?t furling and too hard to get up and down.
Which reminds me of an incident not mentioned in previous post. When we hoisted the staysail earlier in the day the skipper/foredeck hand managed to run the sheet the wrong side of the lifelines and also the bottom soft shackle snared on the inner forestay adjustment. Whilst loosening the snag the sheet came loose completely without a knot. I?ve realized It?s not a good idea to try to catch such a sheet in your hands, and even if you do it?s probably already gotten knotted. Anyway the hand escaped major injury and after dropping sail, gathering sheet and re-running it we were all good. Lessons learned! Just over 20 miles to go to Navula passage, this morning the conditions are beautiful as we reach along with staysail and 1 reef, surfing the waves.
It?s been quite a day of rough sailing, particularly this late afternoon as wind and waves built, a final test for the Jolifou which she is passing with flying colours so far. (Touch wood) Handling the conditions well with staysail and 3rd reef mainsail. A couple of little half-broaches (those little rudders) but autopilot has recovered well each time. And yes, the compressor locker will need another clean ? We?ve had a bit of bad current against us which is a shame as speed through the water has been excellent but progress not as good as hoped.
As I write this now the worst of the conditions seem to have passed which is also the prediction of the weather models. Just over 100 miles to go.
190 miles to go! Great sailing last night as the wind gradually built in strength and sails were reduced accordingly. Good speeds which are making tomorrow morning arrival very likely.
At the moment we are seeing a lot of plus 8 on the sog as we power along with quarter furled jib and 2nd reef mainsail. Seas at increasing as one would expect, hoping they stay reasonable, I really don?t want to have to clean the compressor locker again! Should be our last day and night at sea and it?s going to be quite a rough one! We will start using some of that easting later as the wind and waves build.
A day of a bit lighter wind but mostly good sailing. This afternoon the speed was not quite enough and the motor went on. The seas were calm enough that there were no splashing waves which allowed us to empty and dry out the dive compressor locker which had been a little flooded when the cockpit was swamped by a wave a few days ago. Quite a big task, the main one being to rinse compressor with fresh water and dry it as best possible out here. Need to give it a run when we arrive and then a good spraying of Inox.
The wind increased after dinner and now sailing again quite nicely, tight reaching in about 12 knots.
It?s a stunning night out here with not much cloud and the sea painted in light from the half moon.
Correction to previous.
All going well we are hoping to make Navula passage by mid morning Thursday.
A beautiful night with slow and steady progress sailing in lighter winds of about 10 to 12 knots. From the early hours of the morning we were quite hard on the wind as it backed to a more easterly direction.
Almost exactly as the sun showed its first beautiful morning beams up through the clouds a sweet new breeze line filled in, veering to the south, and we are now flying along in similar conditions to yesterday. The current seems to have become more favourable too.
We are grabbing a little extra easting whenever we can as forecast for final approach is fresh with a fair bit of east in it.
All going well we are hoping to make Navula passage by mid morning tomorrow.
This morning the squally conditions gave way to a stunning day of sailing in quite steady breeze and slight seas. What a pleasure as we roared along in 15 knots just aft of the beam, with only occasional trimming required.
Our excellent shore crew (Keith) has arranged all the spares we need and we will await delivery by our own personal courier service ( Jacqui and Bronte). Isn?t Family wonderful, thank you! The good conditions remain tonight as I write this although it is showing signs of decreasing strength as predicted. We are both well and happy, starting to get a little bit excited about getting there now. ?
Don?t you just hate rain squalls! The stronger wind they bring means you?ve got to have less sail up, then in the lull they leave behind them you wallow with floppy sails.
Last night we resigned ourselves to just using the motor in the lulls until the wind returned. Many cycles of sail, motor-sail, plus adjusting the sails often. One hardly has time to read ones book ? We?ve been spoiled for most of this trip by really steady winds so the contrast is quite stark. On the plus side it?s getting much warmer now which maybe means you get more squalls in the more tropical conditions? Anyway making good progress, we just have to work for it a bit harder than expected.
Some great sailing today in 16 knots just aft of the beam. Spoilt a bit by rain squalls this afternoon and evening which are playing havoc with the wind. They do however often come with stunning rainbows :) Our issue for the day is the freezer stopped working. Quite a serious issue as it?s packed full of meat for the whole season! I think the controller is fried (controllers!!) and don?t have a spare. Fortunately we have a backup option of a portable freezer which should hopefully save most of the meat. (It?s a bit smaller)
Last night was a mixed bag. Most of the night was excellent sailing in about 18 knots, with strength up and down a lot on the clouds, not rain squalls fortunately. At about 2 in the morning (Fiji time now) the wind headed and died a lot. We decided to motor-sail for a while and give batteries a bit of a charge. A loud squealing sound as the motor started runnng was a huge concern, but it seems to have gone away now.
Staysail came down. After about 2 hours the wind was better angle and strength and we are now sailing quite fast with full working sails in 10 to 15 knots.
Forecast looks like we will be sailing like this for the next few days, so barring any problems we might make some good miles.
Shook out a reef this morning and we?ve been sailing really nicely all day in about 18 to 22 knots at 100 TWA. Good speeds in relatively calm sea conditions.
Our good friend Martin Payne has been helping with advice on a new solar controller, looks like we will change from Morningstar to Victron as cheaper and maybe better. Hopefully Keith and Martn will be able to get one on Monday for my sister Jacqui to bring over to Fiji with her. In the meantime I dug out the old Xantrex controller and installed that and it?s working! Nowhere near as efficient as the newer mppt controllers but at least we are holding even on the power balance during the day and not needng the generator so much.
This evening we celebrated with a delicious boerewors meal and glass of red wine, watching the quarter moon setting.
An easy night with nothing much happening. Wind is up and down between about 15 and 22. We will probably be shaking out some reefs today although we are making pretty good speeds with staysail and 3rd reef and very comfortable. The seas are increasingly calmer so might start to put the hammer down a bit.
As I write this we are sailing past Norfolk and Phillip islands, about 15 miles away but we can see them clearly.
The grib files are looking good for the rest of the trip. It?s pretty cool how we are following closely behind the edge of the high as it pushes north eastward. I think the smaller wave fetch of this phenomenon will mean good sea conditions, also lighter wind behind us.
The wind and waves were calmer today but the wind still has plenty of bite in it, especially during the cloud front squalls. Between squalls we would think about shaking out a reef or two, then the next squall arrives and you are happy you didn?t. Nevertheless we?ve been making okay speed.
Around midday we realized that the solar charging wasn?t working, it looks like that wave yesterday may have gotten water to the controller. Took it out and had a look, signs of water ingress but nothing obvious that can be fixed by the Ike?s of me. Lyn?s Dad Keith and my sister Jacqui are on the case to try to get a new one that Jacqui can bring over to Fiji with her next Thursday.
On a happier note it?s been great to chat with Will from Kittiwake 2 by Iridium text. Him and Margaux are on their way from Minerva to Fiji and it looks like we may have a similar eta.
We had quite a restful night with Jolifou plodding along slowly with staysail only, adverse current and slightly decreased wind strength. Happy to take it slow as it will mean the high winds and waves will end sooner because we aren?t chasing the edge of the high as it pushes east against the low.
Happy birthday Merle! Hope you have a wonderful day, sorry we aren?t there to celebrate with you. It?s a happy day for us too as the wind and seas have calmed a bit, which should be a continuing trend for the next few days. Sailing comfortably with 3rd reef and staysail at 95 twa and about 22 knots of breeze.
The albatross (David) and Petrel (Guy?), along with some mutton birds? have been following us for a few days now, when we get some internet I will be interested in researching what their movements tend to be, because they seem quite happy to tag along for hundreds of miles. I think the boat gives them a focal point and probably also quite happy with the 90 degree wind angle.
The strong wind and increasing waves continued through the day with Jolifou coping well with staysail only. Then late this afternoon a large wave broke into the cockpit from the side, swamping and filling the cockpit with a large amount of water down the companionway. It was a mess down below! During the cleanup the skipper lost his lunch whilst Lyn did an amazing job of sponging out the bilges and cleaning down below.
The wave also bent one of the stanchions quite badly.
Big lesson learned to have the washboards in. All good since then, no more major waves. We are looking forward to the wind and waves hopefully fading a little overnight.
A surprisingly comfortable night considering the wild ride Jolifou was taking us on. The autopilot is handling the conditions great so far, not losing it once. This wind angle of about 90 true is nice and safe, the only thing that can happen if a big wave or gust hits us is the boat heels over and rounds up a bit into the wind, said flap a bit then return to course.
However this morning at first light we felt the wind strong enough for staysail only, so the main is now down and we are still making okay speed, albeit giving up a little more east at a slightly broader wind angle. Nice and comfortable and safe feeling.
We are both feeling very happy this morning, I think we now believe we?ve seen the worst wind. Nevertheless we might as well get used to tight reaching as there?s a lot more to come between us and Fiji.
Beautiful albatrosses have been with us for the past few days, we associate with my deceased dad, David who loved flying. It?s mesmerizing watching them glide upwind using the wind and waves, so beautiful!
The wind has arrived, with a vengeance! Seems a bit stronger than the forecasts at the moment as we blast reach with staysail and 3rd reef. The waves haven?t gotten too big and we?re sailing quite comfortably considering the wind strength which I estimate to be about 25 knots gusting 30 (we don?t have wind instruments).
Maximum wind strength and waves is supposed to be tomorrow morning, hoping we can still be sailing well then. Next step down in sails is no main and just staysail but I?m concerned we will be knocked about too much without the power.
Continued motor sailing for most of the night, making good speed in favourable current. Early this morning the wind picked up to about 15 knots and we?ve been sailing quite hard on the wind for a few hours. 2nd reef main and slightly furled jib. Comfortably plodding along.
Still trying to head east but will come away a bit and head in the direction of Norfolk as the wind builds later in the day.
Motor sailing the whole day in light wind. Just not quite enough for us to sail at a decent speed. Weather and sea state has been excellent, super mellow and all going well apart from the diesel dollars burned.
Latest ECMWF grib file shows improvement with more south direction in the coming days than earlier forecast, hope that happens.
Unfavorable current for most of the day seems to have changed to favourable a few hours ago.
Mostly motor sailing last night except for about 4 hours where we sailed quite nicely in 10 knots tight reaching. Very little wind this morning, it should pick up a bit later today and then get quite rough Wednesday night and Thursday.
All well onboard, getting plenty of sleep.
A relaxing day of motoring in little wind and lumpy but comfortable seas. Could be more of the same tonight before the wind hopefully fills in tomorrow.
We are staying south and making as much east as we can to try to mitigate the expected rough tight reaching coming in the next few days. From the gribs it looks like if we stay further south we can hopefully avoid the strongest trades and have a little better direction with a touch more south in it.
As per forecast, the wind gradually faded and backed during the evening until it was motor time at 11:30 aest. Sea conditions have improved a bit, confused lumps caused by different swell meeting but not very big so Jolifou is handling it very well.
Skipper got told off for going on deck without life jacket (and AIS MOB device) to sort out mainsail caught in lazy jacks :( Apart from that a mellow night with plenty of sleep. We are loving our new down jackets which turn bitter cold into toasty warmth :)
A very good first day. Had to Motor a bit early to get away from the coast before we got good wind. Since this afternoon it?s been really good about 17 knots SW and roaring along at 8s and 9s. Working south of east as good wind angle and contingency for it turning more SE later. Latest models are encouraging for the rest of the trip.
Sea conditions are better than expected with the anticipated easterly swell not causing too much roughness.
Testing Yit update with GO. About to leave Newcastle headed for Fiji.
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