Author Archives: Matt

Fiji Bound Day#12 – Jumping ship

Investigation into why Mr Spinnaker would jump ship in the middle of the night revealed that he had help. Not exactly sure of who his accomplice was but the evidence points to the shackle. The wayward crew member waited just the exact moment to escape the shackle that bound him to our service. After pulling him back on board and a full check over all is back in place for the next time his service is required. If he tries the same trick again, he will also have to deal with a dyneema lashing that is the backup in case that becomes unscrewed again.

It’s not a normal marine shackle and I assume its bent a bit as it took some good leverage to get the nut closed so I would be surprised if it ever comes apart again, but just in case the stronger than steel dyneema lashing is there as a backup.

Today was not a spectacular day. It was gray and overcast with rain squalls all day long and they are continuing into the night again. We are just running the jib and making decent progress at a comfortable ride. Actually with the high winds and high waves we have been surfing quite fast a lot today. Max surf at 11.7 and all day average of 6 knots with just a foresail.

Enough to get us to Fiji, we saw some of the outer island when we still had 120 miles to go. The rain and dark clouds made spotting them a bit of a challenge. None the less we have 90 or so miles left to the anchorage. Where a beer and customs/immigration and a long nap on less bouncy boat will be in order. Most likely in that order.

Tonights project, use up the last of the fresh veggies before we have to turn them in, cabbage will be coleslaw, cucumbers will be marinated, apples will be eaten, tomatoes will be salsa. Might have to turn in a onion or two. Limes …hmmm…. Margaritas? That would be awesome, but sure the customs and immigration would appreciate slurring of the vocabulary.

A pretty sweet passage, 12 days – We left Saturday around noon will arrive Thursday around noon – but its actually a Friday because we crossed the date line. We are now in the future. Looks the same but only newer. This is one day longer than our Easter Island to Gambier, French Polynesia but a bazillion times smoother passage and easier more comfortable passage. Christine did amazing. No sign or hint of seasickness that comes from sailing over night, might be getting used to it? Or just highly medicated on this extra long trip.

I will try and remember to post an arrival notice, but with beer and sleep being the priority I hope I don’t forget like I normally do.

Fiji Bound Day #11 – Squally Tuesday / Spinny goes for a dip.

After a beautiful night time run with the spinnaker running all night. Day broke and there were some dark spots appearing on our sunny days. A really dark spot off our port side where the wind was coming from. Looked like rain was already falling.

Christine is the net controller this morning. The net is time and frequency on the SSB radio where all sailors from around French Polynesia can checkin for safety and local advice and basic jib jab chatting. This Tuesday is her last day as a controller and there are lots of boats checking in, so just before the net we took the spinnaker down so _IF_ the squall got closer I wouldn’t have to interrupt the net. All good squall came and went with some wind and rain and Christine received a bunch of accolades for running the Tuesday slot for the last couple of years.

The day wasn’t the best on the passage, patches of blue sky. Wind was a bit strong for the spinnaker and the waves were building. But the boat was doing fine, every hour or so we’d take a hard look at the skies to see if would hoist the spinnaker again, but ended up just going slow and I was napping quiet effectively.

One hour just rolled into the next, until the sky looked inviting and the wind has stayed down for the past hour. Time to hoist the small spinnaker again. All was going to plan till the spinnaker decided it had had enough of me and decided to jump ship and go for a swim. What a fickle little guy. Yes, I know Sugar Shack is heavy with all our live aboard gear, but its his job to just pull the boat along. I guess he had had enough and needed to cool off! Grrrr..

So now that means we have to coax him back on board with uplifting banter and jovial promises of going on a diet, and when that didn’t work brute force ensued. Some profound language I’m sure was used as well. The connection inside the sock that the spinnaker lives had failed but luckily everything was attached to the boat. With the boat cruising along at 5 knots its impossible to pull a wet bed sheet for Shreck out of the water.. The jib was still pulling the boat forward so we had to roll that up and that was enough slowing the boat down that we were able to pull it all out of the water. Now waiting on daylight to see the state of the spinnaker.

So we were going to knock out some more miles with the spinnaker between dark clouds to give us a little wiggle room on the Thursday arrival (Friday in Fiji) so that we can avoid overtime charges for the government officials to come out to the boat to check us in. We will have to see what our options are for speeding up in they day time. Probably not going to take the short-cut through the islands and reefs as we will be hitting them at dark, opting instead to go for the Nanuku Passage as its the widest on the charts and doesn’t add too much to the distance to go.

180 miles to go to our waypoint, then another 5 or so to get to the town to check in.

[tag Live,Passage,underway]

Fiji Bound Day #10 – Still trucking along.

Another day in the bag. Lots of miles under the keel, ugh? Wait we don’t have keels so what do you say for a dagger board catamaran? Miles under the daggers? Kinda makes it sound like it should be a cereal killer.

Any way, another great day out here. A couple clouds, some big waves but at least they are going our direction today so while the wave elevator takes us up and puts us down its a slow gentle motion. Tho we are moving 2-3 meters up and down with each passing wave. Surfing down the wave and climbing backup to do it again and again.. Lather rinse Repeat.

Got a head start on the day, the nearly full moon revealed there was not much to be worried about behind us, so I woke Christine from her deep sleep and told her of my plan to get going early. See we had switched to the JIb alone for the night, easy to handle if a squall comes up for example. But its just not as exciting or as fast as running big pieces of fabric out in front of the boat. 3am was launch time. Successful in the last moments of the moon and only about an hour of dark before sunrise. Voila, I love it when a plan comes together. A full day of kite flying chewing up the miles averaging 6.5 knots all day.

No “catching” today – freezer is pretty full, so didn’t bother with the lines in the water. Just napped a bit, cooked up our last bacon before Fiji. It seems Fiji has adopted some the Galapagos rules, no outside meat, veggies, cheese, etc can be brought in. So we just finish our supply of not allowed items. It’s kinda strange to me, because I would venture to ‘guess’ that a lot of the meats/veggies in Fiji come from New Zealand which is also where French Polynesia gets some of its meets (there are local and from France too) ..

Since we are getting closer, I did have to ask if the ‘local beer’ was drinkable for a few months or were we going to have to cut our stay short. Short answer was, “I won’t starve”.

All good on board, counting down the miles.

374 miles to go. Probably 3 more sleeps on the moving boat before picking up a mooring and getting violated with a cotton swab to prove that we are not infectious.

Pic: Moon setting under the spinnaker at 3am

[tag Live,Passage,underway]