Position Report on Tuesday 8th April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 8 Apr 2014 15:34

Position Report on Tuesday 8th April 2014 at 0800


08:44.4S  115:31.0W


So far, we've done 1,640 miles with 1,400 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 150 miles.  We’re sailing at 6.5 knots in 8-10 foot seas, still heading on a course of 260 degrees.  It’s a nice sunny day and we’re both feeling good, but a little weary of the constant rolling.  Here’s what we did yesterday and overnight.


7 April 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 12)


It was a very grey morning.  The rest of the day was mixed with periods of blue skies and one heavy rain shower.  The wind was still trying to sneak behind us, but we managed to stay on a broad reach.  At two o'clock in the afternoon, we reach our half way point - yahoo!  Only 1,520 miles to go.


Over the past few days, the roller reefing on the staysail has been getting stiffer and sticking on each revolution of the reefing drum.  I dug out the manual, inspected the reefing drum and decided that the luff extrusion had dropped down.  There was no way that I could move it with the sail in place, so we ran downwind and dropped the sail onto the deck.  I was then able to lift the extrusion using the halyard,  line up the holes in the extrusion with the holes in reefing drum and screw in the locking bolts.  Sorted!  


While I was up at the bow, I had a look at the genoa roller reefing and found that the extrusion was too high - when we raised the genoa yesterday we must have dragged the extrusion up.  I unscrewed the retaining screws and managed to move the extrusion and align the fixing holes without having to drop the genoa.  I serviced both roller reefing units just before we left Ecuador, but I obviously didn't tighten the locking bolts properly.


I've been reading up on the Marquesas and trying to wrap my head around the strange names for the islands and the even stranger Polynesian pronunciation.  There are islands like Fatu Hiva (Fa-too-Eee-va),  Hiva Oa (Eee-va-oh-a) and Oa Pou (Oh-a-poe-oo).  Most of the names of the anchorages and towns are worse.  On the small island of Tahuata (Ta-oo-aa-ta) there are anchorages called Ivaiva Nui (Eee-va-Eee-va-nu-ee) and Hanamoenoa (A-na-mo-eh-no-a).  Phew!


There has been some debate on the radio net about whether to stop at the island of Fatu Hiva.  From a sailing point of view, it's logical to stop there first, then sail downwind to the other islands.   Unfortunately, there's only a small village on the island, so there's nowhere to clear in and the authorities frown upon boats stopping before clearing in at Hiva Oa.  In the past, a Coast Guard boat has gone around the anchorage and levied a fine of $200 on boats that haven't reported in at Hiva Oa. 


This is a pity because the "Bay of Virgins" at Fatu Hiva is supposed to be one of the most beautiful anchorages in the world, with steep sided hills cascading down to the sea.  Glenys and I can't make up our minds what to do - we don't want to get on the wrong side of the authorities, but we also don't fancy a 45 mile bash to windward to get back to Fatu Hiva from Hiva Oa.  Mike from "Shakti"  has been talking on the radio to a number of boats who are a week ahead of us and some of them are planning to stop at Fatu Hiva, so we'll wait to see what happens to them.


Glenys made a delicious Dorado Lasagne for dinner, then we sorted ourselves out for our night watches.  I had my normal wander around the deck and for a change didn't find anything amiss apart from having to reroute the genoa halyard which was rubbing on the starboard guard rail. 


We had a very rolly night because we had to sail almost directly downwind.  Thank goodness for the new lee-cloth in the back cabin, it's working well and we're getting our sleep.  Even on this point of sail, the wind has forced us 15 miles south of the rhumb line, so we really need to be sailing wing-on-wing now.