Tales from the Pacific Day 18

Eighteen days at sea – the longest even the skipper has done in a single passage! Odd that we miss very little of life on land except people to talk to and perhaps things to see other than the ocean view and the occasional flock of petrels.

Yesterday’s trade wind clouds had given way to more organised grey clouds astern this morning. Comfy sailing all night as per yesterday’s F4-5 ESE occ E winds. With the third reef in and half a jib Temptress is well balanced in the seas doing 5.5 – 6.5 knots through the water on a beam reach. More sail would mean more speed but we’d no longer have the mostly flat, slightly rolling platform on which to conduct our lives- we’ve traded speed for comfort. Life is a compromise.

However we are making good progress west 1580 nautical miles to go and the smart money is on making a landfall in the latter half of next week. Not confident enough to propose an actual date though as during the morning the wind eased off and in rapid succession we let off reef three and then reef two in a vain attempt to keep the speed above five knots. Temptress dawdled along at some 3-4 knots in a F2-3 from the east under a sky that increasingly covered in a thin layer of high cirrus cloud (aka cirro-stratus? Guess who has been reading the weather books on board!).

By late afternoon the wind had picked up again and normal trade wind cloud dotted the sky from horizon to horizon. Temptress picked up her skirts and romped along at 6 knots again – amazing how little extra wind is required to make her come alive. We flogged the clocks to UT-8 so the afternoon had an extra hour in it and it got dark seemingly very much earlier, and our stomachs were growling for something to eat by 5pm.

Fresh supplies are in a terminal decline – we ate the last of the mince for supper leaving only some frozen chicken for tomorrow before we are forced to a diet of tinned meatballs or chicken in white sauce for the foreseeable future.=, or at least until we reach Tahiti and its markets.

Noon to noon: through the water 140nm over the ground 153nm Noon position: 07 38.79S 112 30.65W