The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Thu 4 Sep 2014 18:33



11:39S 161:26W


So far, we've done 258 miles with 642 miles to go to Samoa. We’re on a broad reach with 15 knots of wind and 6 foot seas, heading towards Samoa.  We’ve got 75% cloud cover with showers lurking about. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


3 September 2014 Penrhyn to Apia, Samoa (Day 2)

The morning continued with 15 knot winds and fluffy clouds in a blue sky.  I checked the weather forecast and the GRIB showed that the wind should increase to 20 knots over the next few days and the SPCZ is hopefully going to stay above us.  We're going to stick to our strategy of heading south-west which will give us more of a downwind run to Samoa when the stronger winds arrive.


We've easily slipped into our three hour watches, starting at seven o'clock in the evening when Glenys goes to bed.  There's not much to do apart from reading and gazing at the horizon.  The motion is okay, but very soporific, so it's hard to stay awake even in the middle of the day.


Our main excitement this morning was spotting a buoy about 1/2 mile away.  We immediately sailed over to investigate and we think that it was a weather station drifting to monitor the wind and waves in mid-Pacific.  As we sailed past it, we hooked a nice little Horse-eye Jack which I soon landed and filleted for dinner.


Unfortunately, the gimbal mechanism on the cooker failed sometime during the afternoon.  It looks like the pin that holds up one side has broken off and the whole cooker was hanging just by the other side.  I don't fancy disconnecting the gas and removing the cooker while we're rocking and rolling, so I've propped it up with a few thick books and locked it in a fixed position. 


It means that Glenys can't use the oven and has to stand holding the pans in place on the top burners while cooking, but we'll survive until we get to Samoa where hopefully, I'll be able to fix something up.


The wind veered 20 degrees towards the south during the day, so we were hard on the wind for a few hours, but as night fell, the wind backed to the south-east again, putting us back on a close reach.  At our change of watch at one o'clock in the morning, we entered a band of squalls marching remorselessly west, which made life a bit more unpleasant.


Thankfully, there wasn't any lightning in the squalls, but each one made the wind vary in direction by 60 degrees; dropping the wind speed down to below 10 knots then increasing it to up to 25 knots,  which is just plain irritating.  Rather than keep changing the sails, we reefed the sails to cope with 25 knots of wind and then suffered the rolling and the slating sails when the wind dropped.