Position Report on Thursday 10th April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Thu 10 Apr 2014 15:30

Position Report on Thursday 10th April 2014 at 0800


08:55.6S 120:55.61W


So far, we've done 1,965 miles with 1,075 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 168 miles – or best run so far.  We’re sailing at 6 knots in 6-8 foot, confused seas, still heading on a course of 265 degrees.  It's grey, dull day at the moment and we've just had some rain, but we're dry and keeping busy.  We've been at sea for two weeks now, and despite not talking to anyone else in all that time, Glenys hasn't killed me yet...  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


9 April 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 14)


We had a lovely day with bright sunshine.   Our course should have been 266 degrees, but with our twin headsail setup, we could only just manage to sail on a heading of 272 degrees.  We decided that was close enough - mostly because we couldn't be bothered to adjust the sails. The motion of the boat was pleasant and soporific, so we had some good naps.


A few months ago, we decided that we'd not bother going to Australia mostly because it's expensive and neither of us had a burning desire to go there.  Our plan was to sail  from New Zealand to Fiji next May and then sail past northern Australia to Indonesia in July.  However, if we went to Australia for the cyclone season, then we'd be able to spend 6 months in the area around Fiji instead of just 2 months, so I've been doing some reading up on Australia.


Sailing up the east coast from Brisbane inside the Great Barrier Reef sounds like a nice cruise with a variety of mainland anchorages and off-shore coral atolls.  I think that a good plan would be to sail from New Caledonia to Brisbane in November 2015, then spend the four month cyclone season around Brisbane, before starting to cruise north in April, aiming to arrive in Darwin in July.  From Darwin, we would join the Sail Indonesia rally and head up towards Singapore.


The only real downside to this plan is having to spend four months in Brisbane in their hot, humid summer.  However, we'd probably go back to the UK for a month; go on a road trip for a month and haul out, so I don't think that we'd be hanging around too long.  I'll do some more investigation, but it looks like a good plan to me - our next four years would look something like:


Apr 14 - Oct 14             South Pacific Islands

Nov 14 - Apr 15            New Zealand

May 15 - Oct 15            Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia

Nov 15 - Jul 16             Australia

Aug 16 - Oct 16            Indonesia

Nov 16 - Feb 18            Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand


The night wasn't as pleasant as the day.  Clouds built up during the afternoon and the seas became more confused.  The good news was that the wind backed a little allowing us to sail on the correct course to the Marquesas. 


On my 1-4 watch, the wind dropped to 15 knots and then started to gust up to 25 knots as we passed between two dark banks of clouds, so I rolled away the genoa and ran with just the stay sail.  Ten minutes later, the wind settled down, so I unrolled the genoa again.  It's a right faff to keep reefing like that, especially when nothing happens, but I can almost guarantee that the first time that I don't reef early, we'll be clobbered by 30 knot winds...