Stop press! - Next stop, Tuamotus

Rumpelteazer Pacific Crossing
Robert Holbrook
Sat 8 Mar 2008 20:32




We had our first serious Rumpelteazer EGM yesterday and came out with a major change of plan.  We are no longer heading for the Marquesas.  Robert calculated that, on our current plan, we would have a very short time in the Marquesas before needing to be on our way towards the Tuamotus, and from there to Tahiti by 23rd March.


By heading straight for Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, we will save 300 miles of distance and around 3 days of time, taking into account time required to sort immigration requirements in the Marquesas. Although we have made up a lot of time since the wind came in, we are still a few days behind our original schedule so a new plan has had to be made!  We hope to be at Rangiroa by Monday 17th March.


We sailed 184 miles at an average of 7.7 knots over the 24 hours until lunchtime yesterday, and at 1230 today we’d done another 191 miles, averaging 7.9 knots.


On Friday morning at 1.09am (Mountain time), we passed the half-way mark between San Cristobal in the Galapagos and the Marquesas – 1,507 miles from both.  At 12.00 noon today, we passed the half-way mark on our new route – to Rangiroa in the Tuamotus – 1,680 miles from each.  At least our change of plan has allowed us two ‘mid-Pacific’ celebrations!


The weather has been glorious for sailors – 16-22 knot winds from the south and south-east with reasonable, well-spaced, following seas on the port quarter.  For the past two days we have been doing a lot of hand-steering, which is quite an unusual activity on Rumpelteazer.  ‘George’ got a rest, our average boat speeds increased, and we have a new target to beat – yesterday Pippa got us surfing at 14.8 knots.


Communication with Kepa II continues to keep Robert and Andy amused – daily texts on Irridium telling us where we have each got to in the past 24 hours.  Glad to say that we are still well ahead of them – around190 miles.   We saw another sail on the horizon behind us on Friday – maybe the French cat we overtook a few days back is going a bit faster – but today it’s gone again.


Much more visible was a deep sea fishing vessel, travelling east, which passed us yesterday about 2 miles off our starboard beam. 


When the skies begin to lighten in the morning – around 6 am – whoever is on watch discovers a veritable battlefield of dead fish on the deck.  Yesterday we found several flying fish, and two small squids, some of which Max is using as bait to catch those elusive mahi mahi.  Tuna has been, by general request, off the menu for nearly a week despite having a lot of it still in the freezer. 

For those interested in our diet and provisioning, we have now seen the last of the avocados, water melon, cabbage, which had all lasted a lot longer than the broccoli, beans and salad.  We still have a few tomatoes, onions and celery stalks, and quite a bit of garlic and fast-ripening chillis.  Our potatoes have done incredibly well (including those sweeter waxy ones which are now growing long green stalks).  The banana tree in the dinghy on the stern came to an end today with those bananas worth keeping being popped in the freezer and the others destined for rapid eating or smoothie-making.  Our pineapples have been fantastic and we still have three left.  We reckon we have a day or so left before the tinnies come out - no chance of any scurvy.