The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 5 May 2015 20:57



27:09S  173:17E


So far we've done 490 miles with 470 miles to go - half way - Yahoo!  We did 115 miles in the past 24 hours. We've got 25% cloud cover, 20-25 knot ENE winds and 2 metre waves.  We're still bashing along on a close reach with the wind 70 degrees off our starboard bow, but the motion is better and touch wood, it looks like the worst is behind us.   Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


5 May 2015   New Zealand to Vanuatu (Day 4)

It's all turning into a blur now.  The 30 knot winds continued all day with the remorseless waves knocking us around.  There seem to be bands of clouds which we pass under for a few hours giving us gusty conditions and then the sun comes out for a few hours.


We've fallen into our normal routine, where Glenys has a nap in the morning and I sleep in the afternoon.  The motion of the boat has been so horrible and the cockpit so wet, that neither of us want to spend much time sitting in the cockpit, so we've both been sleeping as much as we can. Consequently, we only see each other for 30 minutes at meal times and for five minutes at the change of our three hour watches at night.


The weather forecast is another three days of 20-25 knot winds from the same direction and then we'll run into a low pressure trough as we approach Vanuatu.  It's a bit early to be certain, but I'm hoping that the trough will be weak and we won't be hammered too much.


By the evening, the wind had dropped to 25 knots and the seas looked a little less scary, so I let out a couple of wraps from our heavily reefed staysail.  Within an hour, I was rolling it away again as the wind picked up to 30+ knots and off we went again. By one o'clock, it had dropped again, so I let out a bit more staysail.


The wind continued to be frustrating for the rest of the night, dropping as low as 20 knots, then picking up to 30 knots.  We only have a small amount of sail out, so this 40% variation in wind speed has been radically altering our boat speed - sometimes we're hammering along at 7 knots and then ten minutes later, we're underpowered and only doing 4 knots or even less when we get stopped by the big waves.