On Schedule, Believe It or Not.

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 15 Dec 2013 03:52
Noon Position: 05 00.2 S 152 58.9 E
Course: Drifting Speed: 0 knots
Wind: Calm
Sea: calm Swell: North east 0.5 meters
Weather: overcast, warm, and humid
Day’s run: 51 nm

After twenty four hours of near constant, though by no means consistent,
wind, the occasional thunderhead with heavy showers, and the odd patch of
calm, we have cracked a day’s run of fifty miles. Hooray!

Our persistence is prevailing. Not that one has much choice but to persist
once one leaves port on a major ocean passage of course. Indeed, this is
part of the magnificence of voyaging under sail, it holds a self contained
level of commitment few other endeavours quite match, though undoubtedly
most other cruisers would have motored across the Solomon Sea and have been
here, where we are now are, days ago, but where is the fun in that I ask

Interestingly, I have just compared today’s noon position with that
predicted my passage planning software (Visual Passage Planner 2) and was
quite surprised to find that we are in fact thirty miles in front of where
it reckons we would be based on Sylph’s speed profile and the climate data
for the month of December, so that is pleasing. VPP2 reckons we will arrive
at Naha, Okinawa late on 6 January, so, seeing as I won’t enter an
unfamiliar port at night, let us call it 7 January. It will be interesting
to see how close we come.

But now it is a total calm. The seas are glass smooth, the Australian flag
hangs limp from the backstay, the sails are down, and we drift. The barely
perceptible swell is now definitely coming from the north east, as opposed
to the south east as it has been since leaving Cairns. I sense the
influence of a new ocean ahead. Cape St George, the southern most point of
the island of New Ireland, lies ten miles to the north west. If it has not
moved by sunset I might motor for a bit, in the cool of the evening, to see
if we can put the Solomon Sea behind us.

In the meantime I amuse myself reading my first D.H. Lawrence novel and
dipping into Don Patterson’s very readable, and often amusing, “Reading
Shakespeare’s Sonnets”. Just finished reading Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”;
difficult, like my sailing, often slow going but well worth the effort.

All is well.