Nearly Niue

Tue 16 Sep 2014 01:23
19:02.9S 168:27.1W

Imagine you're at point A, some distance from a point B. You are able to split the distance, get to point C, half way between them. Now you're at C, going to B still, and you make it to the point D, half way between C and B (you are now 3/4 of the way to B from A), then from there you get to E, half way from D to B, and so it continues, each time getting to half way between where you've got to and your end point. You seem to be getting where you want to, you're making good progress, but there comes a moment when you realise that you will NEVER actually get to B...

That's what it felt like these last couple of days. Every time we looked at the GPS module it predicted it would take us longer to get there. We'd sail for hours and feel like we were no closer. The nearer we got to Niue, the less and less wind we got, (and the further North it went, instead of the good steady Pacific Trade Wind from the South East as advertised by the pilot guides!)so the slower and slower we went. We put sails up: we went slowly. We took them down and put different sails up: we went slower, and this time in the wrong direction. We took those sails down and put the original ones up, but this time on the other side, with a spinnaker pole to boot: we went even slower.

Eventually, with 4 knots of true wind*, going 1 1/2 knots in a rather rolly way as the swell rode under us (think 'This is the way the farmer rides: hobble-de-hoy, hobble-de-hoy, hobbled-de-hoy..'), we gave in, pulled them all down, or in, and put on the engine. Which is noisy and horrid. But less horrid than that feeling that you'll never actually get there.

True wind is the wind that's truly there. That may seem obvious but think of a dog in a car on a still day. He sticks his head out of the window and apparently there's a storm force wind blowing. That's just apparent wind, not true wind. And think of a riding in a balloon high in the sky, being blown along with the breeze. As long as you're in the basket apparently there's no wind, because you're moving at the same speed as it. But someone on the ground watching you zoom over head knows that, truly, there's loads of wind blowing you along. There, now, if you didn't know already, you understand the difference between True and Apparent wind. Just keep reading and we'll make a sailor of you!

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