Kailani

Kailani

Fri Nov 17 3:48 2017 NZDT

After 27 hours of air flying time and 11 hours of driving and transit time in airports, we arrived here in the US a week ago. Since we flew from S Africa via westbound flights, our arrival back in the US this time means we completed an air/sailing circumnavigation of the globe in less than 6 months! We left Simon's Town as it was welcoming the arrival of its summer weather with SE winds of 50kts, and have arrived back in ID with snow on the ground, the onset of its winter weather imminent. We will go "dark" here on YIT until we return to the boat in Feb, when we will ready Kailani for sailing across the Atlantic in 2018. Until then, anyone interested can follow our land travels on our website - www.LaughterJourney.com

Sailing around Cape Agulhas, South Africa - 31 Oct 2017
Tue Oct 31 23:45 2017 NZDT
Run: 1.1nm (2km)
Weather: 25 NW, 1015 mb, 0% cc

On the dock, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa. So, we made it. Concluding over 7500 nm of hard sailing in the last four-and-a-half months, we tied up Kailani yesterday morning at 1015 local to the slip where we will keep her while we travel back to the US for a few months. There was a saying going about in the NZ cruising community back when we were with the fleet there going up and back to the S Pacific - "don't leave when Kailani leaves" - this because we seemed to attract bad weather routinely upon departing for passage. We think after this last 7500nm of crossing the Indian Ocean, we may have to ammend it to "don't arrive when Kailani arrives". Our arrival here in False Bay was without a doubt, the most difficult in all our years of blue water sailing.

A short recap of our last day at sea on this final, short, 400nm passage. We started motoring in order to make it around Cape Aguhlas in the daylight hours, enjoying relatively calm and mild conditions for 7 hours until the wind filled in from behind and we opted for a sail plan of the dbl reefed main alone, no poled out jib, as the wind was meant to build. Once we started sailing we realized that the clutch to lock our wheel, and thereby engage our autopilot, was no longer working. Either there is a hydraulic leak or an electrical fault, neither of which was ascertainable as a diagnosis when Harley inspected the steering cables. Not a big deal, as we accepted that we would need to hand steer the final 60nm or so into port.

Sailing into False Bay (so named because it does not really provide shelter from the prevailing SEly winds that blow here at the "Cape of Storms"), the wind kept us sailing along with a boat speed of 10kts. With a night time arrival we were going to have to anchor outside of the marina in the lee of the large naval base. Because of the military base, the anchorage is limited in size and its boundaries are marked by small buoys lit with white flashing lights. A night time arrival in a busy town with lights all around on land as a background to maritime markings in the foreground in the water is challenging anywhere. We knew there would be a whole host of local yachts crowding this anchorage, and of course, they would be unlit since it is a known anchorage. Finding a big enough spot for Kailani, with enough scope for the 45 foot depth, was going to be a challenge any way we approached it. The wind started to build, and now we were in 40-45kts.

We figured out our spot to drop on the edge of the anchoring field and dropped the anchor. So began problem #1. Because the previous day we had spent 2 hours pounding violently directly into 3-4m seas while effecting the main halyard repair, the anchor chain had castled, making it jammed and unable to run free. This delayed the spot where the hook did get down and set, so during our set we almost came down on top of two boats. Engaging full throttle against the 45kts and now set anchor, we maneuvered Kailani up wind to up-anchor and try again. So began problem #2. Putting out the anchor the second time, with the chain coming out at record speed now as we were blown down, Harley just got the chain stopper thrown down when there were only 3 chain links left - and the line attaching our anchor chain to Kailani had busted. So here we were, a chain stopper holding only 3 chain links against all our chain out and Kailani's 27 tons in 45kts of wind. Yikes.

Next we had to motor up enough to hand pull in at least 10 feet of chain, re-reave it through our windlass, and not drive over the chain in the process and foul our prop. This would have been difficult enough but with the howling of the wind communicating by voice or hand signals was impossible. Jen could not even hear when the shouting was coming from the dodger, catching only portions of communication when her ears were directly down wind of any words coming from only 6 feet upwind... The sound of the wind was then augmented by a tearing and flapping. One of our flexible solar panels violently ripped off of the bimini, held only by its wiring as it flailed around. Miraculously, we nabbed it and stuck it into the cockpit, dangling by its electrical connections and completely trashed, but at least no longer a flying object which could cause injury. Motoring up, we got enough slack to get some chain in the windlass, but by the time Jen could here the "stop" call from the bow, we had almost driven up over the chain. A huge hard turn to the left, and we just cleared it. Finally, Kailani was anchored. We tied down the main sail with some line, and got down below for a long night of anchor watch.

It blew hard until 0500 when it abated to only 25kts, so the captain called off anchor watches (of course keeping the anchor alarm on) and everyone snatched a few hours of sleep. We woke at sunrise thinking it had all been a dream - it was calm and beautiful, with less than 5kts of wind and full sunshine. It was forecast to blow through early afternoon, so we happily accepted the light winds, pulled up the anchor and moved Kailani to the marina. Phew. Needless to say, we spent yesterday trying to recover ....

So here we are, on Halloween, and about to get Sophia out as a pirate around town. Who knows what fun awaits us as we enjoy the many splendors of LAND and all of its safety!

You folks are amazing! So glad you're safely tied up! Thank you for the recap! Three links! OMG! Enjoy the splendors of port and let me know when you're in SD. 😊

Well done guys! Soon time to relax before heading stateside. Liberation in cyclone pit at Vuda. Fly home tomorrow. Best wishes, love,Bill.

SO look forward to having you home for awhile - safe and sound - there will be roasting turkey in westcliffe - all welcome to join!
Mon Oct 30 12:36 2017 NZDT
Speed: 0knts
Run: 103.9nm (188.1km)
Avg: 7.7knts
24hr: 184nm
Weather: 35-40 SE, 1014 mb

Anchored in the lee of the naval base in Simons Town, South Africa. It is 0130 local and we'll post a more detailed entry tomorrow after we are tied up at the dock but suffice it to say that this was the most harrowing anchoring experience we have had in over 60,000 miles of sailing: forty five knots of wind in a crowded anchorage at night with a castled chain. But we are here and the skipper is on anchor watch. Sleep well all and remember that God looks out for fools, drunks and sailors.

Yikes! Anything that falls in the “best” or “worst” category for you sets a unique standard. So glad you are safely “in” for the season.
Sun Oct 29 23:03 2017 NZDT
Speed: 8.4knts
Run: 165.4nm (299.4km)
Avg: 6.9knts
24hr: 166.4nm
Weather: 10-12 E, 1m swell E, 1017 mb, 20%cc

89 nm to Simon's Town, SA. Motorsailing 8.4kts at 275T, dbl reefed main. Well perhaps it was a bit naive (or optimistic?) that we could make this final 400 nm passage without any drama ... At 1315 yesterday afternoon, we gybed our main and snapped the main halyard. The halyard and block got wrapped up toward the top of the mast, with the sail only one third of the way down, making dropping the sail all the way down impossible. So it was up the mast 2 separate times to cut it loose and re-reave the spare main halyard. All of this while in 25-30kts of wind, 3-4m seas, pitching and rolling as we motored during this repair to keep the sail from flogging all over the deck. We had to issue a "PAN PAN" on the radio since we were approaching an offshore oil platform, in the the middle of the shipping lanes, and had limited maneuverability. Three hours after it snapped we could only hoist the main sail with a second reef as we were unable to get the halyard fragments unwrapped from the top of the mast, around the running backs, the top of the sail and the spreader.

We got back under sail on course moving away from the oil platform and shipping traffic, as evening approached and the red sky to the west greeted us. At this point Harley pondered out loud, "does 'red sky at night' actually mean the opposite in the southern hemisphere?" ... We re-grouped, had some hot beverages and showers, nursed various mild contusions, and resumed our night watches. Just when all was calm and going well, we were in for another adrenaline rush when, at 0115 this morning, we hit a whale. Seriously, we can't make this stuff up! Rushing topsides, we inspected everything and cautiously concluded that Kailani did not suffer any damage (no word from the whale...). The wind went very light early this morning, so after daylight, breakfast and coffee, and after much cautious contemplation, we decided it was best to motor for a few hours to get around Cape Aghulas before nightfall, when the wind should fill in enough that we can make way DDW with only a dbl reefed main. We are reluctant at this point to rig a poled out headsail, suspicious a bit of what may come our way. We hope to make it in tonight by midnight local.

Amazing!
Sat Oct 28 23:12 2017 NZDT
Speed: 12.0knts
Run: 165.5nm (299.6km)
Avg: 6.9knts
24hr: 165.5nm
Weather: 15-20 ENE, 2-3m swell E, 1026 mb, 0%cc

233 nm to Simon's Town, SA. Sailing DDW with sgl reefed main only, 253T at 12kts. Cleared Port Elizabeth port yesterday afternoon at 1550. Have had lovely conditions - nice to sail in a high pressure system for a change! We did have to motor last night for a little over 8 hours, but were able to start sailing down wind in the wee hours, letting Kailani stretch her legs for the final leg along this coast. Coming up to a series of off shore oil platforms and shipping traffic, so may have to modify our gybe plan accordingly. The sunshine is glorious, the wind is generally keeping civilized at 20-25kts, and all well on board.

Fri Oct 27 23:12 2017 NZDT
Weather: 8 S, 1032 mb, 100%cc

391 nm to Simon's Town, SA. We are off the dock today in about 3 hours at 1500 local, with a good wx window to ride the back side of a H pressure system moving to the south of us. Planning for slightly less than 2 days to get there, and this is truly our final passage for 2017!

YEAH!! Hockey practices are pretty dull without you all! See you soon.
Mon Oct 23 22:18 2017 NZDT
Run: 78.2nm (141.5km)
Avg: 3.4knts
24hr: 80.7nm
Weather: 6 SW, 1010 mb, 0%cc

Tied up to the concrete work dock, Port Elizabeth. We arrived last night by 2000 local and were tied up with the help of some local friends by 2130 onto the local haul out dock. Lots of concrete and surge to contend with. Our afternoon was mostly motoring, but we spent it in the cockpit watching for hours as countless humpback whales breached, dove and slapped their pectoral fins all around. It was so wonderful to see the ocean so full of life with seabirds diving all around too. We are now awaiting the arrival of the first of two 35-40 kt SWly blows that will be interesting in our current tie up arrangement. After that we have a window next Saturday to sail southwest for our next SA port, False Bay.

Sun Oct 22 23:03 2017 NZDT
Speed: 7.8knts
Run: 245.7nm (444.7km)
Avg: 10.2knts
24hr: 245.2nm
Weather: 8-10 SSW, 1-2m S swell, 1019 mb, 0%cc

70 nm to Port Elizabeth. Motorsailing, sgl reefed main, 243T at 7.8kts. The wind filled in a bit yesterday afternoon, 20 kts from the NNE, allowing us to sail for 16 hours. As predicted, the wind has now died and veered to the S, and the barometer has started dropping as a SWly is due in tomorrow. We are pedal to the metal motoring to make it to PE now, and having forsaken the aid from the Augulhas current, are instead heading more in shore for a direct rhumbline to PE. Anticipating arrival early this evening.

Sat Oct 21 23:00 2017 NZDT
Speed: 8.7knts
Run: 209.7nm (379.6km)
Avg: 8.5knts
24hr: 205nm
Weather: 10 ENE, 1-2m S swell, 1027 mb, 10%cc

298 nm to Port Elizabeth. Motorsailing, sgl reefed main, 220T at 8.7kts. Except for a brief few hours yesterday afternoon, we have been motoring since departing Richards Bay at 1300 local yesterday. We lost the helpful 3-5kt Agulhas current north of Durban as it went closer to shore and we stuck to our rhumbline, but we picked it back up about 25nm south of Durban. We have been slowed a bit by having to run directly into the 1-2m S swell. Otherwise, glorious sunshine and calm conditions. We are anticipating the wind strengthening from the NE enough to sail later this afternoon.

Fri Oct 20 22:27 2017 NZDT
Weather: 5-10 S, 1022 mb, 90%cc

492 nm to Port Elizabeth. Our stay here in Richards Bay has been great - made some wonderful new friends, got a lot of boat repairs completed, and rested up from our last passage. Yesteraday a nice SWly "buster" went through, providing a good weather window for us to get south to our next and final port for this year - Port Elizabeth. We have about 36-48 hours to make it before the next SWly gale comes up, and once in the Agulhas current we should make some good speed toward our destination. We anticipate throwing off the dock lines in less than hour after finishing an early lunch.

Sun Oct 15 7:06 2017 NZDT
Run: 43.6nm (78.9km)
Avg: 4.6knts
24hr: 110.1nm
Weather: 5-10 NE, 1015 mb

On the International Yacht Dock, Richards Bay. Arrived! We played the cards we were dealt and we didn't lose our shirt, survived a blow that destroyed a port, and feel lucky and blessed to have completed this passage safely... Anyone watching our landfall would surely think we were very anxious to arrive. Landfall was mildly tricky, as our engine decided to give us some problems, but not in our usual "it won't start" Kailani way though. She started and ran in forward just fine, but when it came time to try to slow down upon arrival in the marina, with 20kts from behind, reverse made the engine rev down and go to neutral, and BAM! Kailani ran straight into the concrete dock. Head on. T-Boned. A full bar to the right, and a dock with tug captains to the left, we provided quite the entertainment. Minimal physical damage to Kailani, and the ever resourceful Harl got reverse to engage properly so we could slowly back away from the scene ... of course it may take quite a while before his girls stop calling him Capt. Ron.

Wow guys...drama to the very end! We are so happy to hear you are safely in port! Congratulations of the completion of such a challenging passage. We are sooooo looking forward to seeing you at home next month!
Sat Oct 14 21:36 2017 NZDT
Speed: 9.4tsknts
Run: 169.3nm (306.4km)
Avg: 7knts
24hr: 168.6nm
Weather: 6 kts SSE, 1023 mb, 1m seas, 100% cc

35 nm to South Africa. Motorsailing sgl reefed main, 240T at 9.4kts. Land Ho! We have a visual on the great African continent off to starboard, and are presently sliding along in the Agulhas current. We sailed out of our heave-to position earlier than planned yesterday, as the winds never seemed to want to abate. So with a staysail only we sailed hard into the SW 20-24kts of wind and 2-3m seas, pinching as much as possible to keep to our rhumbline to Africa. Once the wind came steadily under 20kts we added our dbl reefed main to add some speed, and arrived near the Agulhas current with the wind backing to the east - perfect! We just started motoring to make time while we wait the 2 hours or so for the wind to back to the NE, when it should fill in to 20 kts from behind us. Having completed lunch, we will now go up top to get out dock lines and inflate fenders, readying for arrival to Richards Bay this afternoon. Spirits are high aboard the Kailani!

Great to hear you are almost there! Enjoy South Africa, and I will watch out for further progress. Love, Bill.
Fri Oct 13 21:30 2017 NZDT
Speed: 1.8tsknts
Run: 58nm (105km)
Weather: 20-25 kts SW, 1024 mb, 3m confused seas, 10% cc

181 nm to South Africa. Hove-to, staysail only, 334T at 1.8kts. We have been hove-to now for almost 22 hours, and hope to set sail early this afternoon once the winds stay steadily below 20kts and the seas moderate accordingly. We hove-to early yesterday afternoon, once again taking in the nice weather of sunshine and light winds to work the deck. We have been fortunate on this passage to make all of these major sail changes in the daylight hours. As there were no noted birds seeking refuge this time, we hoped for the best! Indeed, it was a good night, with winds generally below 30kts, spiking into the mid 30s for only a short while in the wee hours. The L pressure system passed further south than originally forecast giving us the reprieve from big winds. With Kailani parallel to the seas we are rolling a bit uncomfortably, but as we both commented this morning, still not as bad as the Fiji Navadra Isl roll - our benchmark for bad rolly anchorages. Amazing, considering we are in the open ocean.

Thu Oct 12 21:30 2017 NZDT
Speed: 5.6tsknts
Run: 212nm (383.7km)
Avg: 8.7knts
24hr: 209nm
Weather: 10 kts SW, 1015 mb, 1m seas, 0% cc

192 nm to South Africa. Sailing dbl reefed main plus staysail, 323T at 5.6kts. Just after sending in our update yesterday we "sailed into the hole" of the L, meaning the wind went to less than 5kts, the sun was out all around, and it felt refreshing to be outside. We decided we would press on and sail once the L passed, and while walking the decks to rig for a port tack, we found 2 little swallows taking refuge on the deck. Again? Harley tried to coax them to move to under the dodger or even down below, knowing that riding on Kailani's decks in 35 kts, no matter where the little guys tucked themselves, would not be rest at all. The wind started to fill in after only about an hour, and within 20 minutes we had 35 kts out of the SSW. We sailed through the night, with winds between 30-35kts, slowly decreasing after about 9 hours to the 20 kt range. Kailani flew along, and we made a new family passage speed record by doing a "double surf" - catching a second wave while surfing the first - 23kts! Wow! The night progressed well as we were blessed by no squalls, and we both got great sleep on our off-watches. So here we are now, just under 200nm ENE of Richards Bay. The wind is dying, and the forecast says the next L will not be as bad for us, as it will pass much further south. Regardless, since we are now N of Richards Bay, we will heave-to for about 18 hours, or until we can sail directly for the coast and safely cross the Agulhas current for landfall at Richards Bay. There we will wait for the next available wx window to go further. While on deck readying Kailani to heave-to, we will be looking out for birds taking refuge for further forecasting advice...

While we were a bit disappointed that we have had to delay landfall and could not indeed lay Durban as planned, we just received news that Durban is no longer an option for landfall. The storm we just sailed through hit Durban hard 2 days ago, completely wiping out the marina there, and destroying over 100 boats. Whatever we just experienced on the open ocean was probably nothing compared to being in that harbor with boats ripped from docks, docks ripped from land. Once again, we feel lucky and looked out for by the man upstairs.

Wed Oct 11 21:09 2017 NZDT
Speed: 7.6tsknts
Run: 208.5nm (377.4km)
Avg: 8.7knts
24hr: 209.8nm
Weather: 20 kts NW, 1003 mb, 3-4m confused seas, 100% cc

351nm to South Africa. Sailing sgl reefed main plus staysail, 220T at 7.6kts. We had a long night sailing through 7 hours of lightning and rain, with scary lightning strikes all around us, the closest less than a mile from us. We had fortunately gotten our 2nd reef in the main in advance of the oncoming low, and while putting in the reef we noted that there were a few birds trying to take refuge on Kailani - this has happened to us before, and has been an indication of a really bad storm ahead. So far on this run to S Africa our forecast model data (we get the GFS and European gribs) have not agreed with each other, nor with reality. Reality has been consistently harder than forecast, not just because it always feels worse when the wind howls and skies open up at night! The L ended up forming and strengthening upwind of us, ahead of predicted as we were due to pass through the center before it really consolidated. Therefore, we ended up intersecting the L on its leading edge, making for 30-35 kt winds all night, with some higher gusts during the embedded squalls. Even with all the fancy computer generated wx models and ability to get more wx data than ever before, turns out the birds were the best forecasters! The L is predicted to move SE through our course line over the next 6 hours, and based on the decreasing winds we are currently experiencing, this is happening quicker than predicted. Now we just hope that the winds on the back side are as predicted, less those on the leading edge. We should have about an hour as the L passes with relative calm winds (albeit still the residual confused seas) during which we can get rigged for a port tack, or potentially to heave-to and get some rest before we have to deal with the next L, forecast for tomorrow afternoon. The heave-to call is dependent upon the wx and our overall endurance levels after another 8 hours or so of battling the elements. We are hanging in there. All well on board.

As I climb under my down comforter, I trust you are gearing up for, or are in the middle of the next storm. We too have weather moving in! Snow predicted for Friday with a low of 16*. That should kill the flies! Ok. Sweet dreams.
Tue Oct 10 21:18 2017 NZDT
Speed: 7.6tsknts
Run: 182.3nm (330km)
Avg: 8.1knts
24hr: 194nm
Weather: 14kts N, 1011 mb, 1-2m confused seas, 90% cc

508nm to South Africa. Sailing sgl reefed main plus jib, 260T at 7.6kts. After motoring for 21 hours the wind started to fill in allowing us to throw out the jib and start sailing again late this morning. We spent the morning doing a deck inspection, the proverbial pre "battening down of the hatches". Latest weather shows that we are going to be hit by two separate low pressure systems separated by less than 12 hours. The first is forming up in the Mozambique Channel right now, and is building in strength and moving SE, when we expect to intersect it roughly 20-24hours from now. When it hits, the wind will shift almost 180deg and blow 30-35 kts with higher gusts out of the S/SW. Our strategy is to intercept the center of the low thereby sailing out the back side with the wind on or slightly aft of our beam. The winds should then decrease after 12 hours and eventually disappear, only to have the 2nd low hit along the coast of Africa, with 35-40kts prior to our arrival. At this point we are likely to have to heave to E of the Agulhas current and wait for 24 hours for that front to pass and then we may head for Durban instead of Richards Bay since there is a 3rd low predicted for Sunday night arrival, and we will be potentially "stuck" at Richards Bay for a week with that one. Any way you shake it, it's going to be a rough ride. But we are prepping as much as possible, watching the weather like hawks, and getting rest at all opportunities. All well on board.

Mon Oct 9 22:45 2017 NZDT
Speed: 6.5tsknts
Run: 224.8nm (406.9km)
Avg: 8.8knts
24hr: 212nm
Weather: 10kts N, 1013 mb, 1-2m confused seas, 50% cc

666nm to South Africa. Motorsailing sgl reefed main plus jib, 270T at 6.5kts. Yesterday and last night we enjoyed sailing at a pretty good clip with the apparent wind about 120 deg off to starboard, with winds all night between 25-30kts, gusting to 35kts. Thankfully, that makes 2 nights in a row with no squalls. Just after lunch we had to start motoring as the wind has fully backed to the N and diminished to 8-10kts, with the forecast for less wind over the next 24 hrs as the "calm before the storm" settles in. We have decided on landfall at Richards Bay, 50nm shorter than Durban, as we think we can make it across the Agulhas current by early Friday, in time before the big L with its 35kt SWlys fills in along the coast. But it all about maximizing our DMG to Richards Bay between now and then, so motoring to windward we go.

On the chart just offshore of the SA coast the chart notes "ABNORMAL WAVES of up to 20m in height, preceded by a deep trough, may be encountered to the seaward edge of the Continental Shelf" ... these waves are caused when the L pressure SWly winds go up against the up to 6kt S-Swly Agulhas Current. This is why we have to be so careful about timing our crossing of the current and make it safely to the 100 fathom line along the coast before the heart of the SWly hits. Right now it is forecast to hit early Friday morning. We are aiming to arrive in the wee hours of Friday morning too. Oh yeah, did we mention that Friday is the 13th? Good thing we aren't superstitious aboard Kailani!

Sun Oct 8 21:18 2017 NZDT
Speed: 8.8tsknts
Run: 219.1nm (396.6km)
Avg: 9.1knts
24hr: 218.2nm
Weather: 25kts NE, 1021 mb, 2-3m E seas, 10% cc

915nm to South Africa. Sailing sgl reefed main plus staysail, 250T at 10.8kts. Once the sun was up this morning we gybed over to starboard and are now happy to be making all of our miles directly on the rhumbline. Wind should die down within 24 hours, at which point we will likely motor for a day before it fills back in. At this point the weather forecasts have conflicting data and we are unclear as to whether we will be encountering a huge L pressure system as we approach Africa. For now, enjoying the new ride and catching up on rest.

Sat Oct 7 21:12 2017 NZDT
Speed: 8.0knts
Run: 198.1nm (358.6km)
Avg: 9knts
24hr: 215.1nm
Weather: 20kts ENE, 1024 mb, 1-2m E seas, 10% cc

1067nm to South Africa. Sailing sgl reefed main plus jib, 195T at 8.0kts. Been clear sailing as we keep turning Kailani more S and SE to keep her sails full as the wind has backed to the E over the last 24 hours. We will flip over to starboard tack once we can make a clear run along the south end of Madagascar. We need to clear the southern tip of Madagascar by 100-150nm as the weather there is often unsettled, and combined with its extended continental shelf can make for some "freak waves". Also, this is where the S Equatorial current splits, half going southward to join the Agulhas, the other half flowing northward along the Mozambique Channel - we don't want to get caught up in the northward bound one. All of this abundance of caution is due to the frequency of strong low pressure systems that happen every 3-4 days between Madagascar and the S African coast - we need to allow enough sea room to deal with all the variables that may come our way. All well on board.

YIT updates are such a comfort, even if the contents of the log entries might cause a bit of anxiety from time to time. Your willingness to embrace these adventures is allowing you all to "live the dream," even if at some times it might feel more like "surviving the dream." I'm sending out all the good energy for a continued safe passage. X's and O's all around!

Thanks for the great report on your Mauritius visit! I'm in constant danger of learning something as I follow y'all along. :-)
Fri Oct 6 23:06 2017 NZDT
Speed: 7.8knts
Run: 219.3nm (396.9km)
Avg: 8.5knts
24hr: 203.2nm
Weather: 15 kts at 100T, 1024 mb, 1-2m ESE seas, 20% cc

1230nm to South Africa. Sailing sgl reefed main plus jib, 210T at 7.8kts. Last night we decided to run off before the wind and sacrifice DMG for a more comfortable ride to get some rest. What a relief to stop rolling off those big waves and instead surf the following seas every once in a while. It was a relatively mild night, and we could enjoy the light of the full moon, highlighted by only a few clouds here and there. A couple of squalls with wind to 38kts kept us honest, so although the wind started to decrease and overall conditions got milder, we maintained a shortened sail plan. Once the day dawned and clouds cleared we shook out the 2nd reef in the main, embracing the settled 15-20kt range as forecast. Just after lunch, we have thrown out our jib too. We picked this weather window because although there would be a lot of wind at first as we rode the edge of a passing high pressure system to the south, the winds and seas forecast for our run from Madagascar to S Africa are supposed to be reasonable. This was anticipated presumably because the high pressure system was pretty strong and sucked a lot of energy with it. Most importantly this wx window was chosen for no major low pressure system developing on our S Africa coastal arrival. So here's hoping that the forecast is close to predicted! Meanwhile, today we will catch up on rest. A testament to the exhaustion out here is last night Harl hallucinated a submarine surfacing next to our boat, and then an albatross diving to our stern. Thankfully he has enough sea miles to recognize neither of these were a "factor", so he did not wake the off-watch! Thanks to all who have sent well-wishes and notes of encouragement - it really helps to know you are "with" us out here in the big blue.

I have decided I don't want to be a crew member and experience "all" that sea. Maybe I will meet you in port.... We are going to wean calves this weekend at Slate Creek (dad and I) Doug and boys are headed N to Genessee (just S of Moscow) to attend a pheasant hunting clinic. Tell Soph I will be riding a 5 yo mule named Junie to gather the cattle. Cheers! Jill
Thu Oct 5 21:12 2017 NZDT
Speed: 10.8knts
Run: 173.6nm (314.2km)
Avg: 9.2knts
24hr: 219.9nm
Weather: 30-35 kts ESE, 1023 mb, 3-4m confused seas, 0% cc

1415nm to South Africa. Sailing dbl reefed main plus staysail, 220T at 10.8kts. A long gnarly night of winds 30-35kts, 50-60 deg off our port bow. Confused seas as we hand steered and changed sail plans to deal with squalls with wind gusts to 40kts and lots of rain and darkness. This required all 3 of us - Sophia down below turning on and off our autopilot as we danced in the cockpit managing sail plan. We still have no AP remote in the cockpit, so to turn on and off the AP we have to have one person on the helm to lock the wheel, and one person down below at the chart table, which is a good 20 foot distance. Sophia did a great job in big seas and motion to man the chart table job. By morning we could crack off a bit as we had cleared La Reunion island so we are now headed toward a wayptoint 100nm south of the Madagascar coast. Still sporty but winds should back and lighten over the next 24 hrs.

Thu Oct 5 2:15 2017 NZDT
Run: 11.4nm (20.6km)
Weather: 10 kts SE, 1021 mb, 30% cc

1580 to South Africa. Well, the time has come. The 4th and final leg of our Indian Ocean crossing. This is the passage we have been building up to since deciding to leave Malaysia and cross the southern Indian Ocean again. We have had some trepidation thinking of this 4th leg as last time we did it in 2005 it was a serious pucker factor. But this time we are armed with lots more weather data and knowledge (thank you David and Patricia for years of education!), and we have dutifully prepped Kailani as we watched weather to try and pick the optimum weather window. The meals are stacked in the freezer, the foul weather gear and fleeces are out for the first time in 2 years, blankets are on the seaberths, and Kailani and crew are ready. We will cast off our dock lines at about 1730 local, in about 30 minutes. At present our plan is to make landfall at Richards Bay, but if the weather is right we may make for Durban. For our summary of our delightful time in Mauritius check out our website - www.LaugtherJourney.com

Sun Oct 1 19:17 2017 NZDT
Run: 11.4nm (20.6km)
Weather: 1021 25C cc 45%

Anchored Gran Baie. Waiting on wx window to Africa. Plan Tuesday departure with 8 days on passage to Durban or Richards Bay, RSA.

Wed Sep 27 18:51 2017 NZDT
Run: 0.5nm (0.9km)
Weather: 5 kts SE, 1021 mb, 90% cc

At La Caudon Marina, Port Louis, Mauritius. We have decided to extend our stay here in Mauritius for another week. We will also skip La Reunion and instead ready Kailani here in Mauritius for our next passage to S Africa, so we'll move up to Grand Baie is afternoon for this. Meanwhile, we have finally had enough internet bandwidth to post photos from our time in Cocos, Chagos and Mauritius on our website for those interested - www.LaugtherJourney.com

Sat Sep 16 20:30 2017 NZST
Run: 132.3nm (239.5km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 120.5nm
Weather: 15 kts W, 1014 mb, 25% cc.

On the dock, La Caudan Marina, Port Louis, Mauritius. The wind resumed last night, filling in from the west, which meant our plan to anchor off of Port Louis until sunrise was void. It is a very busy port and anchoring out would have put us on a lee shore. So we sailed Kailani with a single reefed main on starboard tack for the last 9 hours while watching the increasing traffic all around us and the "glow" of civilization on the horizon. We arrived into the port this morning to much "busy ness". Since we were here in 2005 things have changed quite a bit. It appears, like Fiji and other countries, the fishing rights to these waters have been bought by the Chinese, as there were almost 50 Chinese fishing boats tied cheek by jowl to each other, most of the time at least 10-15 to a single mooring. All the traffic made for a busy entrance made even more interesting by a 2 m swell from the open ocean providing a following sea... (and not the kind we sailors cavalierly wish for!) But helped onto the dock by some other cruisers, we were able to safely tie Kailani alongside the concrete dock here at La Caudan Waterfront Marina. Within minutes of arrival we met someone who will take all of our laundry, a taxi driver offering his services, and photos of Jen and Sophia are certainly already posted on facebook by the many tourists who came by with so much enthusiasm wanting photos of foreign yachts (we even met some of those Chinese fishermen!!) ... Harl was able to procure lattes, pastries, and wonderful fresh sandwiches on his walk to the Customs office, all before we have even checked into the country! Feels good to be back in civilization.

Fri Sep 15 18:09 2017 NZST
Speed: 7.9 motorsailingknts
Run: 214.9nm (389km)
Avg: 9knts
24hr: 216.3nm
Weather: 3 kts N, seas 0.5m, 1017 mb, 5% cc

118 nm to Mauritius. Well, last night at o-dark-thirty, with 190 nm to go to Mauritius, the wind died. About 24 hours sooner than anticipated in the gribs, but that's how it goes. We have been conservative with our diesel since last filling up in Singapore in June, and thankfully got an additional 100 liters during our stopover at Cocos Keeling (not a simple process, involving dinghying 3 nm into 25 kts, hitchhiking / walking to and from the fuel station, that was, incidentally, only open for 1 hour two days a week, and then dinghying back with two jerry cans ready to be dumped into our tanks). Anyway, we have been conservative, and with the promise of more diesel to be had in Mauritius, we turned on our engine and have been motorsailing for 9 hours. We have another 12-14 hours to go, at which time we will anchor off of Port Louis in Mauritius as the port captain does not allow ships to enter at night. For now it is like a spring day down below, hatches open, sun's out, fresh air is moving through the boat and there are calm seas. Who could ask for more?

At the moment we are motoring over a very impressive sea mount - the Soudan Bank - where the sea floor rises to a depth of only 100 feet from 9,000 feet, sure to be rich with fish. So to keep our smallest sailor (who is also quite the fisher-girl) happy, as well as to not disappoint our kiwi friends, we have thrown out a lure. Meanwhile, just before approaching the sea mount, we had to divert our course for a container ship. We came upon him on our rhumbline, and the AIS info said "Cargo Ship. Not Under Command" moving at 1.4kts, clearly just drifting northward ... Hmmm, what does that mean exactly? Pirates? Disabled engine? Out of fuel? We considered calling them up and offering to see if they needed assistance, or perhaps some provisions - after all, we have 1 cabbage leaf, 3 carrots, 2 onions, 6 garlic cloves and 4 eggs left, and could even spare about 5 liters of diesel ... hah!! Our considered opinion, however, is that the ship, out of France and bound for Reunion, has a specified ETA and needs to wait it out to time his arrival. So many times we have done the same thing!! But alas, we are not a 334m long hunk of metal in everyone's way!

Anyway, it is either fresh fish or spaghetti carbonara for our last dinner at sea (note, we did not even consider offering up our last 1/4 kilo of bacon to the cargo ship...).

"Flat Island" and "Round Island" ... seriously? Is that what the locals call them?
Thu Sep 14 18:18 2017 NZST
Speed: 7.2knts
Run: 242.8nm (439.5km)
Avg: 10.1knts
24hr: 242.3nm
Weather: 15-17 kts SE, seas 2m, 1018 mb, 60% cc

309 nm to Mauritius. A long night of squall on squall wind shifts, we saw lots of rain and winds sustained at 38kts for a while. We have been pushed a little west of our rhumbline so will be pinching to windward as much as possible today to keep us clear from the shoals to the west of us. The weather is cooling, relatively, as we finally had temperatures just under 80F down below this morning, first time since leaving New Caledonia back in 2015! Great to be getting further south!

Keep safe! Sounds like a challenging passage.... typically British understatement!
Wed Sep 13 18:15 2017 NZST
Speed: 9.5knts
Run: 222.8nm (403.3km)
Avg: 9.3knts
24hr: 223.3nm
Weather: 20-22 kts SE, seas 2-3m, 1017 mb, 10% cc

516 nm to Mauritius. Waiting for the wind to back a little which should happen sometime this afternoon. Last 12 hours has been a bucking bronco ride into the seas but thankfully squall free. Yesterday afternoon we crossed paths with a huge offshore oil rig being towed by a tug boat. It looked like a giant 5 turreted castle being pulled by a mouse! Hailing from the Netherlands, and bound for Singapore, a long way for it to travel at 4 kts ... What a strange sight on the open ocean ...

Tue Sep 12 18:18 2017 NZST
Speed: 8.7knts
Run: 202.8nm (367.1km)
Avg: 8.4knts
24hr: 201.1nm
Weather: 20-24 kts SE, seas 2-3m, 1014 mb, 20% cc

708 nm to Mauritius. Wind has veered and strengthened, making it more of close reach, with all of its "sporty" riding aspects in play .. . May put in a 2nd reef if the wind keeps up to prioritize comfort. Saw our first ship last night on AIS - 24 nm away. Otherwise, just us and the seabirds out here ... All well on board.

Mon Sep 11 18:06 2017 NZST
Speed: 8.2knts
Run: 209nm (378.3km)
Avg: 9.1knts
24hr: 218.1nm
Weather: 18 kts ESE, seas 2.5m, 1013 mb, 15% cc

884 nm to Mauritius. A beam reach ... sailor's dream. Seas are less confused so the ride is pretty comfortable. Dare we say that? We are still maintaining a shortened sail plan (1st reef main + staysail) to keep things comfortable. All well on board.

Sun Sep 10 19:06 2017 NZST
Speed: 8.2knts
Run: 206.3nm (373.4km)
Avg: 7.5knts
24hr: 181nm
Weather: 16 kts SE, seas 2.5m, 1010 mb, 65% cc

1070 nm to Port Louis in Mauritius. Close reaching through a slightly confused sea with a southerly 2m swell and SE wind waves which makes our motion a bit uncomfortable. We shortened sail last night furling the genoa and deploying the staysail which has cost us a couple of knots in boat speed but it no longer feels like we are holding on to a running horse that smells the barn. Even with a single reef in the main and the staysail we are making 47 nm every 6 hours which still works out well for an early morning arrival next Saturday. All well on board.

"And if I had a boat I'd go out on the ocean. And if I had a pony I'd ride him on my boat. And we could all together Go out on the ocean. I said me upon my pony on my boat."
Sat Sep 9 15:45 2017 NZST
Run: 3.6nm (6.5km)
Weather: 12kts SSE, cc40%, 83F, humidity 75%

Trying to optimize our wx window, we have delayed a couple days from our planned departure of Thursday. However, the time has come, so today in 3 hours we will up anchor and exit the lagoon on the rising tide, bound for Mauritius. Yesterday we moved back up to Ile Fouquet, as once the wind filled in we were not feeling too comfortable on the mooring at Ile Boddam (... surrounded by reefs, not much room to remedy a broken mooring line) and consequently we did not sleep too well. So after one last kayak of the bathtub like low tide waters between Ile Poule and Ile du Sel, it was off the mooring and back to the lovely Ile Fouquet anchorage. On the way up the lagoon, we were greeted by a large pod of dolphins that played on our bow - we drove around in circles to extend their stay as Sophia declared this the "best thing that has ever happened!". An afternoon of beach play wrapped up our time here, and now we are in the final efforts to ready Kailani down below and topsides for our 1250 nm beam reach / close reach passage.

Sun Sep 3 21:15 2017 NZST
Run: 3.6nm (6.5km)
Weather: 3kts SSW, sunny 92F, humidity 77%

At anchor Ile Boddam, Salomon Islands, Chagos Archipelago. The beauty of this place is certainly in its isolation. We have now been here two weeks, getting to know the "rhythm of the reef", so to speak. We have snorkeled the same spots so frequently that we felt we were getting to know the moods of the fish, which bommies had resident turtles or rays, etc. One day we noticed that the fish seemed "jumpy", and then a black tip reef shark appeared and was quite aggressive in his behavior. Looking off toward the deep we could see 4-5 more sharks lined up facing the reef ... a glance at our watches and we realized it was indeed "shark o'clock"- too late to be out on the reef! We had just seen our Oriental Sweetlips, and Harl spotted a juvenile Oriental Sweetlips doing its "hula", so we were excited to continue, but we decided the pool was closed for the day for us ...

Two days ago we had the most glorious weather when the sun came out full strength, the seas calmed down, and we supplemented our typical daily snorkel and kayak with a full afternoon of tropical beach "r&r" - eating coconuts, riding the incoming rip between Ile Fouquet and Ile Takamaka, relaxing in the shade of palm trees, and taking a ride on a very dynamic tree swing. The wind went light two nights ago, making our anchorage extremely rolly with exposure to an uncomfortable SW swell, so we have taken advantage of this light wind situation to move south to the Ile Boddam anchorage, where we are on a mooring. Anchoring is prohibited in this section of the lagoon as it is all coral bommies, so cruisers have developed moorings over time - a mixture of chain, line, shackles, mooring balls - all attached to pieces of coral. Compared to where we were at Ile Fouquet, there is relatively little current (and no roll). This makes for the perfect weather to further explore, but more importantly, finish our various sail repairs and boat prep prior to passage. Off we go to clean the bottom, a welcome relief from the heat and humidity ... We are looking at departing in 4 days (Thursday) for our passage to Mauritius.

Mon Aug 28 16:18 2017 NZST
Run: 1.2nm (2.2km)
Weather: 12kts SE

At anchor Ile Fouquet, Salomon Islands, Chagos Archipelago. Since arriving we have had mostly rainy, windy, cloudy weather, with the occasional side of sunshine. We have taken full advantage of any positive weather swings with dinghy and kayak rides to explore, exercise and access great snorkeling. It is wonderful to be in a place where the marine life is abundant again. Snorkeling visits to the reef we see rays, turtles, sharks, unique brain coral and even some fish we have never seen before - an Oriental Sweetlips graced our presence the other day -look it up! Spectacular outfit for a fish!! We take particular pleasure in kayaking the island shore at high tide, as there is no real beach then, and instead we kayak through the tops of leaning palm trees and find ourselves staring eye to eye with boobies and their young chicks, their nests only a couple feet from the surface of the water in this land of no predators. During one morning kayak we were graced by a pod of 80-100 feeding porpoise, making their way through the lagoon as we made our way through the pouring rain. Felt more like the Pacific Northwest than the tropics though considerably warmer.

A couple days ago we took our big dinghy down to Ile Boddam, to the old settlement of Chagosians who were evicted ... there is now a "yacht club" of sorts, each passing cruiser leaving its mark by readying a shelter and organizing the various plastic trash so prevalent on every windward shore. There was a wheelbarrow made from plastic jugs and flip flops ... mostly it was a bit spooky, not much left of the former islanders except some old structure walls and a memorial placed by some Chagossian descendants who were granted permission by the BIOT to come place a memorial for their loved ones that they had to leave behind at rest. We spent a quick morning there as the weather changed dramatically and a frontal system moved in 6 hours ahead of the weather forecast ... (generally true here, weather has not been as forecast... not even close!) . We sheltered on the beach for one downpour, then in the yacht club shelter for the next, before we thought we had a clear enough window to make it back the 3.5 nm north to Kailani. Home never felt so good than that day arriving back safely to Kailani.

We have been the only boat here now for the last 6 days - glorious! We are extra careful with all things we do, as the nearest people are 100+ miles to the south, our "lee shore" in the SE winds is an open ocean cut, and when the wind shifts we have lee shores all around with the tiny sand spit just enough for us to have comfortable 360 degree swing room. We are humbled by the many many shipwrecks surrounding us (so far we have snorkeled 2 submerged ones, explored 2 beach bound ones). Today at low tide we are venturing to do a hike around the entire island of Ile Fouquet. At high tide most islands in this group have no real beach - just lush dense jungle, mostly coconut palms and mangroves. When we are near land, it sounds like Jurassic Park with all kinds of crazy and exotic bird (and other??) sounds emitting from the dense woods, with occasional movement in the lower fronds seemingly (hopefully?) linked to the wind moving across the island. Basically, hiking ashore here is the kind of place one needs a machete and an epi-pen to traverse. So off we go, machete & epi-pen packed, to explore for the day.

Sun Aug 20 23:12 2017 NZST
Run: 146.9nm (265.9km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 119.5nm
Weather: 12kts SE, 100%cc

At anchor Ile Fouquet, Salomon Islands, Chagos Archipelago. At last ... Yesterday when we wrote we talked about needing to slow down to make it here in the daylight hours ... well Mother Nature took care of that for us, as no sooner had we sent that update that it seemed we had arrived in a trough of no wind, lots of rain. Bound and determined not to use any of our precious diesel, we broke a new passage record for Kailani under sail - 1.2kts. We had carefully decreased the sail plan for the remaining 120 nm to slow the continued rocket ride, but instead started to wonder if we would make it by sundown the next day!! Well, wind filled in last night with some squalls, so we chased it around and had almost constant rain. The day dawned with some sun, and a light SE breeze, and we pulled into the lagoon pass by 1200 local. We were greeted by a huge 30kt squall bearing down from windward. But this time we had a working engine and confirmed waypoints! So we did not hesitate, once the sails were down, Kailani turned into the downpour with no visibility ahead, and we threw out the fishing line! Thirty seconds later we had a nice tuna on the hook. Anyway, all turned out well as we navigated to the anchorage. Two other boats are here, so within 20 mins of our hook down they were over here to chat. One leaves this afternoon on passage to Mauritius, but has not been able to pull gribs, so we downloaded wx for them. The other are some friends from Cocos who wanted to share their harrowing passage stories... Anyway, here we are, finally. We sailed just under 1,800 nm to go 1,500 on the rhumbline. The repair list is long, but we are all well on board and can't wait to see what this place looks like in the sunshine.

Sat Aug 19 17:42 2017 NZST
Speed: 8.1knts
Run: 239.2nm (433km)
Avg: 9.9knts
24hr: 237.7nm
Weather: 2-3m SE swell, 20-22kt SE

120 nm to Chagos. This morning we furled our jib without event and are sailing with the single reefed main hard on the wind to Chagos. Wind is supposed to lighten, but if not we will have to further reduce sail to slow down to time our arrival for sun up.

Fri Aug 18 17:33 2017 NZST
Speed: 10.3knts
Run: 240nm (434.4km)
Avg: 10.1knts
24hr: 243nm
Weather: 2-3m S swell, 18-22kt SE

305 nm to Chagos. We are surfing our way down the waves with a steady 20kt SE wind that settled in around midnight last night. The previous 56 hours or so of squalls, wind shifts, wind speeds ranging from 4 kts to 35 kts, took its toll on our rig. Yesterday at dusk, the jib sheet parted at the spin pole, leaving our jib flying out forward ... we quickly furled the jib, then unfurled a little bit to starboard so Harl could reattach a new port side sheet, furled it up again; lowered the spin pole, attached the new sheet, unfurled the jib - then the furling line started to chafe. It snapped off its cover, we managed to get the sail all the way out and now are just praying we can furl the headsail without incident when needed with that partially chafed furling line. Sophia was down below at the chart table, as this was an "all hands on deck" situation, and she stood by to turn our AP unit on and off as needed so that Jen could steer Kailani through the seas and wind shifts and Harl could work the foredeck. All of this took about 1 1/2 hours, and of course while the wind was building to 35kts and another squall was coming from behind. But, we got it all settled and looked off to the west and could see the sky & clouds all turning red with a sunset... Down below as we regrouped (aka de-stressed), Sophia reminded us: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight..."...

I think I am glad that I don't know what all the sailing terminology means. My mind is painting a rough trip, and I even get a little queasy when I read your updates! I am glad to see the boat in the update showing closer to land! :)
Thu Aug 17 17:51 2017 NZST
Speed: 10.3knts
Run: 209.9nm (379.9km)
Avg: 8.8knts
24hr: 210.3nm
Weather: 3-4m S swell, 15-20kt SE, squalls, cc 100%

512 nm to Chagos. Yesterday afternoon for a brief bit we saw a small blue hole in the otherwise grey and dismal sky - a fleeting glance of sunshine ... Not to last though, as we have had almost constant deluges of rain with wind shifting squalls for the last 18 hours. But the miles are ticking off ...

Wed Aug 16 17:54 2017 NZST
Speed: 9.7knts
Run: 206.9nm (374.5km)
Avg: 8.8knts
24hr: 212.2nm
Weather: 3-4m S swell, 15-20kt SE, squalls ahead, cc 100%

693 nm to Chagos. A long night of constant wind-sucking squalls made for s slow night of sailing, with us driving around in circles to keep the main and jib full. We spent a lot of time with a NE wind which made for especially rolly times since we were side on to the otherwise surf-providing swell. But the sun always comes up in the morning when things look better! We are now back more or less headed directly to Chagos, making good speed and riding with the waves. Yesterday afternoon Kailani hit her passage surf record of 18.7kts - woohoo! Altho it is only noon local now for us, feels like first light of morning - fresh bread in the oven, and all well on board.

Tue Aug 15 18:30 2017 NZST
Speed: 10.8knts
Run: 239.6nm (433.7km)
Avg: 9.9knts
24hr: 237.1nm
Weather: 4-5m S swell, 20-25kt SE, squally, rain

872 nm to Chagos. We are riding the top edge of the southern ocean high below us, and have a low that has developed to the north of us, feeding the winds (otherwise known as a "squash zone"). The weather is a constant grey with rain and wind squalls providing variable wind direction and wind speeds from 10 to 35 kts. The seas have increased in size and frequency, making it one surf to the next. Hit 16.4 kts last night, but in truth, it is a bit on the scary edge.... at 0530 this morning our autopilot stopped working. The main got backwinded, we had a heck of time turning Kailani back to DDW, but did, then quickly furled the jib, hove to with the staysail, and started to work the problem. With some coordinated US shoreside support through sat phone texts (thank you Ann and Bill!!) the manufacturer was able to relay some suggestions for a fix (love that Will Hamm @ WH Autopilots answers his cell phone from 6am to 12 midnight 365 days a year!!). Turns out it was our new remote for the system, sending wonky signals to the AP unit ... when we disconnected it, the problem was fixed. Now she is back to running with the autopilot working. Only challenge now without a remote in the cockpit is that we can steer only from down below, and to turn on or off the AP, one person has to be at the helm, and one person has to be down below, 20 feet and 7 companionway stairs away. With Jen's knee replacement too fresh, she is in a knee brace for added stability, but it is a bit of dance in these sea states. The sun came up, there was a tiny hint of rainbow off to the south, and the whole thing took less than 2 hours. Jen got back to the rack to finish her off-watch, and we thanked the spirits once more for looking out for we sailors on the high seas. All well on board.

Mon Aug 14 18:15 2017 NZST
Speed: 10.1knts
Run: 219.4nm (397.1km)
Avg: 9.8knts
24hr: 235.1nm
Weather: 3-4m S swell, 18-20kt SE

1080 nm to Chagos. Still poled out wing and wing on port tack, making our DDW run much more on the rhumbline. Last night was a long rough one constant rain and squalls, with winds gusting to 35kts ... we had decided NOT to shorten sail before sun down as we wanted to make some speed. Well, we did, surfing the waves and generally running down wind at high speeds. Hit 15.5kts on one surf! It was a constant helm management situation to keep from rounding up or back-winding the main when we rolled off of these giant S Ocean swells every 10 secs or so. We had had constant rain, squalls and cloud cover for almost 24 hours, but this morning it dawned blue as we are getting more northerly, riding the top of that high... all in all, it is a much smoother ride today, still the wallowing DDW motion, but manageable and consistent winds. Fingers crossed, now it looks like we should be able to maintain this sail plan and heading with weather consistently in the 15-20 kt range.

Sun Aug 13 19:51 2017 NZST
Speed: 6.5knts
Run: 182.4nm (330.1km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 178.3nm
Weather: 2-3m S swell, 13kt ESE

1254 nm to Chagos. This morning at 0900 we modified the sails to turn and go DDW - at first a great 9.5 kt ride directly on the rhumbline ... alas, that only lasted for about 30 mins. Many many squalls for the last 12 hours sucking most of the wind out and making us chase it so we did not have to laboriously change our sail plan ... The seas are up and now and the winds are down so the ride is rough and wobbly. But the rain has stopped now and we anticipate wind filling in by evening to make the ride smoother.

Sat Aug 12 19:18 2017 NZST
Speed: 5.4knts
Run: 139nm (251.6km)
Avg: 5.3knts
24hr: 126.1nm
Weather: 2-3m S swell, 10-12kt ESE

1379 nm to Chagos. Yesterday afternoon a commercial airplane dropped down and buzzed our mast - then flew off, banked left and up ... weird! We suppose it might have been the air freight plane departing Cocos Keeling and returning to Perth, and since we have known some air freight pilots we know they might have done it just for the fun of it! Anyway, that was the most exciting thing in the last 24 hours, as we continue to sail SW to make it to the top of the High pressure system south of us that will give us favorable wind so we can turn NW toward Chagos ... all well on board

Fri Aug 11 16:51 2017 NZST
Run: 103.2nm (186.8km)

1436 nm to Chagos. With all requisite repairs done to Kailani, we were ready to leave Cocos ... we further delayed departure for a few more days however due to a gorgeous change in weather and the arrival of a kid boat. Sophia was delighted to play with Paul and Antoine from Toomai for a few days. We up anchored yesterday at 1630 local, and have been rolling along between DDW and now off the wind but significantly south of our rhumbline, as the winds have gone lighter than expected. For now, enjoying the relative calm, which is easing us all into our sea legs. To read more of adventures on Cocos Keeling, go to our website LaughterJourney.com

Mon Aug 7 12:27 2017 NZST

Fixed engine with part from mainland Aus but now waiting on watermaker part that should arrive today. If all good, we will leave on 1500 nm passage to Chagos on Thursday.

Ha! I am reading your latest comment which you place on 8/7, and it is only 8/6 here! Have a safe passage!

Standing by
Fri Jul 21 23:06 2017 NZST

Still anchored upo at Direction Island where it has been blowing a steady 25 with gusts to 30 which has kept us hanging on the boat for the most part catching up with school and making some repairs. Diagnosed the engine problem and ordered the necessary part from Australia that should be in Saturday post which we can pick up next week when we can get to Home Island 1.5 nm directly upwind. Managed to temporarily fix it by borrowing an aux fuel pump from a fellow cruiser in case we need to move in the meantime. Looks like the winds will begin to moderate this week before spiking next weekend and then dropping the following week so we are making our plans to enjoy the island and local water accordingly.

Thu Jul 13 15:54 2017 NZST
Run: 187.2nm (338.8km)
Avg: 8.3knts
24hr: 199.7nm
Weather: 15-20kt SSE

Arrived Cocos Keeling at 0700 local after a night of lots of squalls. But the fun was just beginning as our engine failed, it was blowing 30 kts and the sun was rising in our eyes. It was all hands on deck for this one! Thankfully, we had the tide in our favor as it was high at 0730 local. We anchored up just outside the main island group to attempt a repair. After no quick solution found after an hour we took advantage of the high tide, upped anchor against 30 kts, short tacked with our staysail only, dodged bommies, and crossed a bar with only 2 feet clearance at one point. Managed to tack up into the wind, drop the hook in a patch of sand, and then 5 mins later customs arrived... We are now checked in, getting our heart rates back to normal, and will diagnose after some coffee...

Wed Jul 12 17:24 2017 NZST
Run: 259.1nm (469km)
Avg: 10.8knts
24hr: 260.2nm

163 nm to Cocos. Another great day of trade wind sailing! Winds are coming down and backing, but should pick up this afternoon. We anticipate anchor down in Cocos early a.m. tomorrow. All well aboard

Tue Jul 11 17:30 2017 NZST
Speed: 10.8knts
Run: 233.3nm (422.3km)
Avg: 9.3knts
24hr: 224nm
Weather: 2-3m SE swell, 18-20knt SE

388nm to Cocos. The hurlin' and curlin' Earls are off! We've had a wet & "sporty" ride to windward, starting sailing 60 deg off our port. Wind has been backing starting his morning, allowing for a bit more comfort for all. Kailani is loving the big blue, stretching her legs a bit out here - we shortened sail overnight for a more comfortable ride, altho hard for it to be comfortable with the giant S Ocean swells on our beam. But all is well aboard, most over their seasickness ...

Mon Jul 10 16:30 2017 NZST

Planning to anchor up today at 1200 local for Cocos. Only 3.6 nm from this anchorage and we are on our rhumbline sailing in the big blue!!

Fri Jul 7 21:54 2017 NZST
Run: 47.5nm (86km)

Anchored at P. Peucang, a bay off the NW tip of Java Isl... A 46 nm sail / motorsail from Krakatoa this morning, into the wind allowed us to anchor down at 1640 local. Here we can wait for a better wx window for Cocos, letting the swell die down a bit offshore. By starting from here we have cut the sailing distance to Cocos down by 40nm, as well as got a little more easting, which will give us a better sailing angle for Cocos.

So happy to be able to follow you guys! Thinking of you and praying for a smooth sailing! :)
Wed Jul 5 14:45 2017 NZST
Run: 98.7nm (178.6km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 120.5nm

Anchored at Krakatoa at 0915 local ... long 2 overnights of Indonesian coastal "bob and weave". Now we will eat a big breakfast, rest up for at least a night and wait for a good weather window to head onward to Cocos Keeling.

Tue Jul 4 19:06 2017 NZST
Run: 187.8nm (339.9km)
Avg: 3.9knts
24hr: 93.7nm

After about 430nm of motorsailing into the wind since leaving Singapore, last night at 0045 local we were able to transition to true sailing... it had been over 14 months since Kailani has been out on the water, and even more since actually sailing, since our 2015 was mostly a motorsailing cruise through Indonesia / Malaysia & Thailand. She and we can definitely feel the pull of the open water and are excited to be in the SE trades again. But we can't let her run just yet, as we are trying to slow Kailani down to time our arrival at the Sunda Strait for dawn tomorrow morning. Our overnight promises to be more coastal "dodging" as the water narrows as we approach Sunda Strait

Sun Jul 2 19:00 2017 NZST
Run: 51.9nm (93.9km)

Anchored at Palau Panjang.Still motorsailing against SE wind. Hope to be able to crack off tomorrow and sail!

Fri Jun 30 15:13 2017 NZST
Run: 236.5nm (428.1km)

Anchored north shore of Bangka. Planning to resume passage tomorrow to Sunday Strait with light easterlies scheduled to fill in so we can turn off the engine for the first time in several hundred miles.

Bon voyage! Will be following your progress with great interest. Love to you all, Bill.
Tue Jun 20 19:57 2017 NZST
Run: 303.3nm (549km)

Hanging out in Singapore prior to ETD 25June for IO crossing. Weather: hot, humid.

Mon Jun 12 23:46 2017 NZST
Run: 314.8nm (569.8km)

Final prep for departure to Singapore and on to Indian Ocean crossing

Best wishes to the three of you. I am now in Fiji again, and will miss you in this part of the world. Safe passages. Love, Bill.

Kailani - Kailani's ongoing blog

An ongoing narrative and photos are available at www.laughterjourney.com