Passage to Niue after shortening the course
Position 19:03.22S 169:55.43W
Date 1840 (UTC -10) Tuesday 20 May 2014
Total since Bora Bora
Distance run – 1,096nm over the ground, 1,065nm through the water
Time from Bora Bora – 7 days 7hrs
Not the best chart in the world but it gives the general idea. Bora Bora is on the right, Suwarrow in the top middle, Niue half left on the marked line of longitude and Vava’u marked by the red symbol on the left. The distance of our course from Bora Bora to Niue is just under 1,100nm with a further 250nm on to Vava’u.
We maintained good winds for downwind sailing and at times a large following sea for most of the way to Niue and settled into the familiar passage routine getting some reasonable amounts of rest. Because we were making good speed our ETA dropped back and it became apparent that with a bit of luck we would make it in in daylight. The wind swung round towards the bow, as forecast and we disappeared into banks of torrential rain with the wind gusting to 30 knots. The radar and AIS indicated that there was nothing in the way, we hoped not as visibility was non-existent.
1700 saw us off the north end of Niue with 10 miles to go and two hours minimum of daylight. AIS showed on boat already on the moorings and that was Celebrate who had also shortened the course and headed directly for Niue.
We had been warned that we might encounter unlit fishing floats, some form of experimental breeding aid, and whilst we were given some possible locations this one was not one of them.
We would not have wished to have run into it in the dark.
Somewhat hazy but a general view into the Alofi, Niue, roadstead from the north west and very open to swell from that direction. The island is a remote limestone plateau some 12x8nm, 22x15km
By 1840 but 1740 new local time, and still with a good hour of daylight we were secured to one of the substantial mooring buoys provided by the Niue Yacht Club, more of the Club in the next diary entry. Having had seven days of easterlies the wind was now blowing from the North West directly into the roadstead and we hunkered down for a very rolly night. Lee cloths were required to keep us in our bunks as we rolled up to 15 degrees each way with the incoming swell.