Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vanuatu to Australia - Day Four

In anticipation of our arrival at Chesterfield Reef, our calculations showed that we'd arrive sometime in the middle of the night at our current speed. The decision we faced was whether to slow down and hopefully time our arrival for the morning or whether to proceed and just heave to once we got there. As it turns out, we did both.

We reduced sail to just a double-reefed main - no head sails or mizzen - but even so, we were still making almost 5 knots. Poor Rutea! I could feel her disappointment as it was a beautiful day and here she was, being exposed to the indignity of sailing with a double reefed main when she should have had all sails up, romping to a distant destination. I later tucked a third reef into the main and whereas that slowed us down more, we still arrived at the entrance to the reef at midnight. I furled the main and hoisted the mizzen, put the wheel hard over and Rutea tucked her head under her wings and went to sleep. We don't often heave to but this was a classic application for the maneuver. For the next seven hours, we all got caught up on some much needed sleep while our boat slipped sideways at about 1 knot per hour.

We dropped the anchor in Chesterfield Reef at 1000, local time. I'll write more about that tomorrow.
At 10/30/2012 00:07 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 19°52.97'S 159°27.88'E

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