Monday, October 24, 2011

Day Four - Tonga to New Zealand

Someday I'll learn. It's bound to happen. But, maybe not. It's not that I'm really lazy or really stupid but I'm sometimes too optimistic. Last night before sunset, Corie asked me if I was going to furl the mizzen before dark (she was remembering a previous night when I had to furl it in 20 knots of wind at midnight). I said, no, I think it will be alright. She pursed her lips and said nothing. So last night I'm on watch and a target appears on the radar - we're out in the middle of nowhere and a target - a bright spot on the radar screen - could be another boat, a ship or an aberration. This target turned out to be the formation of a squall, a series of them. So I called Ruthie up from her sleep and I fought with the mizzen to lower and furl it. Good thing I had installed bright deck lights before we left San Diego as the night was pitch black. Even though I'm tethered onto the boat securely with a heavy harness, there's only our thin life lines between me and the sea that's rushing past at 11 feet per second. Add to that a wind that blowing at about 20 knots and seas that won't stay still for a second and it can be interesting. Once the mizzen was secure, I tucked a reef into the main. This quieted the boat down, Ruthie went back to sleep and I resumed my watch duties.

We're buddy-boating with Sarah Jean II, a boat owned by a couple we met in Mexico and of whom we're very fond. Beth and Norm's Saga 43 is a beautiful boat, very well equipped and they're both excellent sailors. With a water line slightly longer than Rutea's but only displacing about half of Rutea's weight, we're almost the exact same speed. We've been within a few miles of each other the entire trip. Crewing on this passage for them is their daughter's boyfriend, Kyle.

Our conditions are almost perfect. We're on a close reach with about 16 knots of southeast wind, the seas are about 1.5 to 2 meters, the outside temperature is 65 and the sky is mostly clear. Our speed over ground is averaging over 7 knots per hour and we've already shaved an entire day off our original ETA. We just past our half way mark. In the past 24 hours we covered 175 miles. The forecast for the rest of the trip is excellent. Our spirits are good and Rutea is doing great.

Thanks again for all the supportive emails. They mean a lot.
At 10/24/2011 10:32 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 27°39.53'S 179°26.47'E

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