Crossing from Cook Island to Niue

Sans Peur
Grete & Fred Vithen
Tue 9 Jul 2019 06:59

Alofi, Nuie  19 03 22S 169 55 40W

Crossing from Cook Island to Niue 

It was apparent that Alex and I needed some time to find our sea legs again, it was a bit hard in the beginning and we both felt a bit seasick but nothing too serious. There was a lot of winds, current and big waves. On mine and Alex’s first night watch I was seriously seasick and made a lot of offerings to the sea but still kept strong and finished the night watch until the end. We did manage to see bioluminescence plankton during the night watch which made it a little easier to manage. Mom and Dad I think had a lot of rough sea as well during their watch but the 2 yankees in the front does work pretty well when the winds are coming straight from behind. 

The first night we had winds up to 48 knots and it was so hard to sleep during the night due to being tossed around - up, down, back and forth in the bed. We did have very good speed but of course sometimes this means that our comfort is sometimes compromised. 

After 24 hours we had covered a total of 185 nm with an average speed of 7.7 knots - we had crazy good speed! Normally you count that you would do 120 nm in 24 hours with an average speed of 5 knots. Think about that for a second. 

Throughout the crossing we had some sun but also a lot of rain which is a bit sad as you cannot be outside in the cockpit. As a result we spent a considerable amount of time in the dry and warm deckhouse - it has been very useful as you still have an overview of what is happening outside when you are here. 

Due to the rough conditions you are also limited to what you can and cannot do as you do not want to hurt yourself inside or outside the boat so we had quite a lot of “lazy” time were we were all reading a book, listening to a podcast etc. Another challenge is to prepare food and mom does a great job when we are sailing through rough seas. I sometimes have a hard time to be in the galley due to seasickness but after 1 day (sometimes 2) I manage to help out in the kitchen as well. We mostly have our food in bowls to ensure nothing flies around and to ensure that we can hold on to the things once when we are eating. 

Our maximum wind speed was up to 58 knots and the Navionics on the Ipad calculated the maximum speed of 18 knots but we believe that this is when the boat surfs down the 9-10 meter waves. This can be quite scary as the boat behaves quite weird due to the brutal force of the sea - mom and dad also admitted that this was one of the craziest crossing they have done in terms of wind, speed and waves. 

Unfortunately, this crossing was not without challenges as you might have understood reading the above. The wind meter went berserk at one point and didn’t want to work. Not very good and dad realised that it could have been due to some water sipping into the instruments. Sailing instruments and they cannot handle a little water - hmmm!? Something we need to try to fix when we arrived to Niue. 

Land ahoy - finally we could see Niue! We could see land when we were around 20 nm away and we celebrated by having a small glass of wine despite the swells. Yes, you guessed it - we celebrated to early and were hit by a few squall with rain and strong winds. Not good, the wine had to wait and we had to bring in the 2 yankees in the front but in the opposite way. Meaning with the wind opposed to turning the boat against the wind which went well but is never ideal. it was fine and we just need to change that once we are closer to land.

Moreover, Dad had to hand steer due to the crazy winds and the force of the waves but it all went well and we finally arrived into the bay at around 5.00pm. It was nice to arrive before it was dark after this crazy day of sailing and we could see the buoys - thank the sailing gods. There were a lot of new looking buoys and 6 other sailing boats around the bay so we quickly moored against a buoy and could finally breath out. It was so nice to be in lee way with hardly no waves - time to relax and of course have a celebratory G&T. This was followed by wine and a good home cooked meal where we didn’t have to hold onto ourselves all the time to cook. So happy that we arrived safe and sound!

We crossed to Niue, a total of 631nm, in record time and arrived after 81 hours instead of the planned 126 hours. This meant that we did the crossing almost 2 days quicker compared to the original plan due to the average speed of 7.8nm. 

Can’t wait to explore this interesting looking mini country which is also know as “the rock of the South Pacific” - the smallest country of the world. 

Nuie flag.
We even have to reef the yankees.
Here we are now at Buoy 3, together with 6 other yachties.