Tales from the Pacific – Day 11

Dawn and we are still motoring! I guess from that you know we played our wildcard yesterday evening and decided to invest some precious fuel in heading south-ish. One hundred nautical miles is at seven knots (5 from the engine plus two from the ubiquitous current) around 14 hours of motoring counting from 17:15 yesterday. The best thing that can be said is that moving at a slightly higher speed means the swell has less impact so making life a little less rolly.

The almost full moon set in a blaze of gold off our starboard bow as the dawn started to illuminate the whole horizon from abeam to astern off to port. No contest, the sun won for the sheer beauty of the new day pink on the clouds, palest of blue in the sky and silver on the water. Sunsets and sunrises are always amazing at sea.

Motoring Maths
Temptress fuel tank takes 240l of diesel plus we carry a further 120l in five cans on the side decks. 1.5l per hour for battery charging- so say 3 litre per day for 40 days plus a contingency of 50% (ie 20 more days at sea) = 60 x 3 = 180l. That leaves us 180l to cover any emergencies and get us into Atuona harbour and assumes this isolated isle has fuel stocks to spare when we arrive.

Motoring at five knots takes just over 3 litres per hour so 14 hours under engine will consume around 50 litres. We can do this but only once, hopefully the GRIB forecast is correct and tomorrow there will be a SE breeze between one and two degrees south, the fringes of the SE Trades. The aim is to find it and use it to dig deeper into the trades before turning west towards our destination.

Domestic Stuff
The cake was fab- a new crew favourite – a dense not too banana-ry banana bread,moist and scrummy – it won’t last long!

Today at noon was the hottest we have ever experienced, as the skipper commented even in the desert there is usually AC or a breeze. At noon with the sun directly over head our little weather station recorded 39.7 deg centigrade outside in the shade of the solar panel arch and not a puff of breeze. Keeping hydrated has become a full time preoccupation. I started polishing the cockpit seat backs but soon gave up, dripping more sweat on the polished surfaces than a little.

During the afternoon the breeze became a little more substantial and we flew the asymmetric kite for a bit to give us a knot or so of speed. Speed records were measured in terms of reaching half a knot,one knot or even steady on a dizzy two knots before we returned to drifting once more. Then late afternoon there was sufficient breeze for not just the full genoa but also to fill the main – the first time it had been hoisted for two whole days! And how we are thankful for the foresight to have ordered the largest possible sails that would fit our rig when we had this set made a few years ago – even in a light apparent breeze of say 5 knots Temptress sails happily if albeit it rather slower than her crew would like.

After supper Temptress settled down to a course of 155 deg not exactly the right direction but at least we were sailing somewhere south. By 10pm Temptress was gently beating south into a F2-3 SSE wind with the west going current helpfully making our course over the ground slightly more south westerly and giving us a two knot push as well.

So has our gamble paid off? Have we really reached the edge of the trades and escaped the clutches of the Doldrums? Tomorrow will tell.

All well on board with the crew noticeably happier not to be drifting for another night!

Noon to noon*: Through the water 87nm Over the ground 118nm
Noon position: 01 09.18S 097 12.62W

* this dramatic improvement was brought about by managing 98nm over the ground in our period under engine


  1. Isn’t comms technology brilliant – I love reading your posts! How are you doing for water, you haven’t mentioned it yet?


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