09:58:769S 138:28:589W Day 18 - the taming of the beast
After motor sailing through the night we were pretty determined not to have to continue with the engine all day. The sea was flat with just long rolling waves. The grib files were showing the wind coming up later in the day. So despite the lack of wind, Matt once again rigged the pole for the spinnaker. In dong so the bell housing fitting broke – disaster – that’s the 2nd time it had broken. But fortunately the last time it broke, Matt was able to engineer a patch and we had bought a spare one. Once the spare was fitted we were ready to go.
When we thought the wind was getting up a bit we decided to get the beast out the bag. We had spent time in the Galapagos untwisting and re-stringing the spinnaker inside the sock – thank goodness we did. Anyway up it went in all it’s glory! Came out of the sock without too much hassle. But there was a distinct lack of wind so the pole was lowered, raised, the guy brought back, put forward, the sheet in and out with limited success – we could not get the thing to fly nicely, but it was pulling! A very frustrating morning but we kept it up and were doing around 3.5 to 4 knots. It was mid afternoon before the wind filled and the beast was tamed! After that it was great – very comfortable and very quiet, ghosting along at 7 knots plus with about the same apparent wind. We decided to keep it up all night but both stayed in the cockpit and did 2 hour watches. We were lucky – it was another star-lit night and the beast didn’t really need that much attention throughout the night. At 5.30am we had a bit of a squall with the wind going ahead and reaching 20 knots – we were haring along at 10 knots but a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to get the beast down if the wind got up any more as we had no main sail to hide it behind. Fortunately there was a slight drop in the wind, so a quick bear away and we got it down – it behaved very well and went quietly into it’s sock! It’s now stowed away in the locker and we’re on a 2 sail reach on starboard tack doing 8 knots. As we got all the lines sorted we finally looked up and low and behold there was land. The high mountains of Fata Hive to the south west, Tahuata and Hiva Ou to the west. – 6.30am on our 19th day! Fantastic. Only 33 miles to go.
24 hour distance:139 miles Position: S09.58.769 W138.28.589