It's around here somewhere

Rich Carey
Tue 8 May 2018 15:34
09:21.700S 138:12.280W

Dramatic night of push push push.

Needed to get a trot on last night, to get into the daylight arrival window for Hiva Oa - a night time arrival being out of the question for the following reasons: No moon until 02:00; 25% moon and storm clouds; Unfamiliar territory; Trades blowing steadily; Anchoring single handed.
Needed to average 6.5 knots in a stiff breeze, so stayed at 1st reef - just within the safety window - so safe but dramatic night. Just before dark, I'd caught two 30 knot squals, which were amazing. They flattened the waves and the rain came at x86 like a thick moving carpet, from 4 miles away. One we needed to turn head-on for, the other clipped the back end, so we stayed on course and got a big push from behind - exciting stuff. There were several big squals in the night, but we were lucky, and threaded the needle on those.

At 06:00 (30 minutes ago from writing this), x86 sat 55nM from the target - if we can maintain a good clip, we'll have achieved the aim, and get to the anchorage by mid afternoon. The wind looks set, so it's looking good (the alternative would have been to heave-to offshore and wait out the night).

Today looks to be squal watching again, and I'm seeing a big one - on radar - coming in at the moment. The skies are very dramatic, with big dark clouds everywhere, 60% obscuring a blue sky.

Will be back to proper lookout watches today, as 'civilization' and the hard stuff are about to come back into play.

All's well on x86, bucking and blasting, hydrovane nodding.

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