Ciao is the champion

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 24 May 2010 00:59
Well done Ciao for winning the Tahiti Pearl regatta. Of the four races, they were twice placed second and twice placed first. Not bad for a yacht cruising the world. An amazing feat and a well deserved achievement!
Monday morning early we restocked at Raiatea with fresh fruit for the passage to the Cook islands and Niue. We had been advised that despite spending 2 nights in Bora Bora, it is not suitable for provisioning. We also refueled at the marina adjacent to where we had spent the night.
It was a down-wind sail to Bora Bora, unlike the day of the first race a few days ago. We were flying the parasailor and speeding along, arriving in time for the crew to participate in the dinghy race which was a very wet, fun-packed affair.
That evening, those boats which hadn't already left for Suwarrow congregated ashore for a barbecue and a prize giving for the dinghy race. Tucanon tied for third place with Ronja and received from Bora Bora Yacht club, half a ribbon for 3rd place, a certificate for taking place, membership of the yacht club and six beers. Well done chaps!
It was great to meet up again with Dreamcatcher who we had last seen in the Marquesas. They had to stay behind waiting for a representative of Halberg Rassey to arrive to fix the problems on their boat.
The couple aboard Chessie had flown in from Papeete where their boat was still waiting to be fixed, having supposedly already been repaired in Panama. We expect to catch up with them again in Tonga.
At least half of the fleet had already left for Suwarrow, in the Cook islands, deserted except for a caretaker and his family, who live there during the non-cyclone season. Those of us that took part in the Pearl regatta were unable to leave on the 16th with the first group. This was planned, to ensure that there would be adequate mooring buoys for each of the boats in the fleet, both at the yacht club in Bora Bora as well as anchorages in Suwarrow.. The first group will depart Suwarrow before our arrival.
We don't expect to be able to get any more provisions before we reach Niue. I understand that frozen meat should be available there but according to a chap who did the trip 2 years ago, there was nothing at all available when he visited the island.
We spent the following day preparing for the next leg. I baked all sorts of snacks for the crew and accessed from my under-floor stores, provisions which would be needed en-route. So much easier to have the items required, easily available from lockers and cupboards in the salon and galley, rather than have to lift floorboards during a passage, particularly if the sea is rough.
Dick re-stitched the UV strip on the genoa which had been damaged on the crosstrees and made a temporary repair to the parasailor which should suffice until we reach Fiji, if not Australia. He also met the agent ashore with the necessary documents to permit us to leave French Polynesia tomorrow and attended the skippers meeting mid afternoon.
The network supplier we have been using appears to be very unreliable. We had only 15 minutes left on our prepaid card, just enough for our requirements but when Dick tried to use it, on the day prior to leaving Bora Bora, he found that the credit had been taken away already by the providers. Then, when he bought more credit so that he could get on-line, the network was unavailable. Moe and Bev had over 7hours remaining on their prepaid card and that had also been taken away.
A ray jumped out of the water just 10 metres from our mooring. Wow! It was all too quick for us to get a photograph.
There has been a lot of interest in our catamaran from the monohull sailors. Several have said that they are going to change their boatl for a catamaran. The fly-bridge has been much admired as the vista from this position is brilliant. It has even won over other catamaran owners who had previously not bought this model because they didn't care for the idea of the fly-bridge. Having tried it in the real world they have become converts.
Leg 7 commenced at noon on the 19th May and we sailed out of the lagoon at Bora Bora under main and genoa. The following wind gave us an apparent wind of between 4 and 7 knots and although we raised the parasailor, we soon brought it back down again and resorted again to the genoa and mainsail.
There are only nine WARC boats en-route to Suwarrow, just under 700 nautical miles from Bora Bora. The other boats are making their way directly to Niue although two or three of the boats are going to Rarotonga first. Rarotongo is one of the two Cook islands which are lively as opposed to the quiet village life on the other populated islands. Most tourists visit the 2 main islands so we are especially privileged to have the opportunity to visit Suwarrow, particularly as they don't normally permit visitors there before June.
The day following our departure it was Tucanon's responsibility to be net controller. This involves an initial listening watch on channels 77 and 16 as well as on the SSB. That is followed by a call to each of our boats to obtain their position at a given time, 9am local time on this leg, as well as the wind conditions. Following the roll call, there is a further listening watch on 2 other SSB channels with a greater coverage area. The net is then open for general chat.
When I went on watch at midnight, there was a half moon, in the shape of a bowl, tilted slightly to the south. After 15minutes it became covered with cloud, 30 minutes after midnight it had disappeared altogether. The Milky way was magnificent, arching over our boat, in a south/north direction, looking like a handle on a huge basket.
Next morning, during my 10 till noon watch, the sky clouded over completely and from 12-15knots of wind, we were reduced to 2knots. The parasailor crumpled and it was a tough job to keep it airborne. After 20minutes we had 4knots of wind, still insufficient to keep the parasailor flying. It took nearly an hour for the cloud to disperse sufficiently and for the wind to reach 8-10knots. Within this hour, the boat that was three miles ahead increased their lead by a further three miles. Whether they had found wind that we had not or whether they had switched on their engines, we do not know.
Over the next two days we experienced mainly cloudy or squally weather and other than the squalls, very little wind. When we listen to the morning roll call, other boats seem to have more wind than us but that may not be the case other than at 9am when the details are logged. Because we are using the parasailor, we have been sailing in a more or less straight line whereas the other boats are tacking. The method utilized by the rest of the group seems to be producing better results on this leg.
The batch of flour that I am using at the moment appears to contain a lot of foreign bodies. I have picked out 4 critters that could be ants or weevils, as well as three maggots. At least they were dead. These were from a 300g pack, prepared earlier, ready for making a pizza, pie or cakes. Today I opened another 300g pack and from this one I picked out 3 LIVE critters. All dry goods which come aboard are subjected to 20seconds in the microwave to ensure that any eggs present are killed. 20 seconds was obviously not adequate on this last package.

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