Baie Maa, New Caledonia > Coffs Harbour, Australia Day 4 (2014-11-30 01:00 UTC - 28:23.5S 154:45.8E - DTF 143 nm)
One of those days each passage seems to require: a lousy one. Not only the winds dropped, which was expected, but all of a sudden the current started to run against us at up to 2.5 kn in a NE direction, whereas we are heading SW: not good and no clue whether we could easily escape from it by heading either NW or SE, either direction bringing us further from our destination. This was not predicted in any pilot or guide, we were supposed to get the usual South setting current, which can run up to 3 kn, and which our sailing tactics of staying N of the rhumb line during this passage were based on. Even when we started motoring in the evening as the winds dropped further, we were only doing some 5kn towards our destination. Adding insult to injury our mainsail did not completely furl into the mast. The hydraulic furler worked well, but the sail got blocked inside the mast after it was furled in some 2/3rds. Luckily the winds were light, so we could fiddle around a little without the sail flapping too much, but after several attempts we decided to call it a day, leave it partially out and check the next morning in good daylight. That night I realised the cause might be one of the connecting pieces of a vertical batten to have come undone, the upper part of the batten sliding down next to the lower part in the pocket and creating the blockage. This morning that scenario was confirmed, we took most of the batten out and are now able to stow the mainsail again. With the light winds expected to continue for the day we hoisted the gennaker, switched off the engine and after some 24 hrs finally the currents switched almost suddenly in our favour again, from 1.5 to 2 kn NE to 1 kn S setting.
To compensate for this misery and lift the spirits Daph prepared a delicious tournedos, which did indeed do wonders for the morale.
ETA Coffs Harbour still sometime tomorrow 1 December.