The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Wed 6 May 2015 20:52



24:54S  172:48E


So far we've done 635 miles with 350 miles to go, we did 135 miles in the past 24 hours. We've got 18-25 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 sun is shining and we've become used to life at an angle of 20 degrees.   Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


6 May 2015   New Zealand to Vanuatu (Day 5)

We passed the halfway mark this morning and it's getting noticeably warmer - there was even a flying fish on the deck which is a good sign.  The wind remained inconsistent for most of the day at 18-28 knots and there were no squalls.


The GRIB file forecasts that the low pressure trough is going to be stronger than I would like and we may be in for a rough ride in a couple of days.  This trough is being formed by the SPCZ bubbling southwards and covers a huge area about 500 miles wide, so it's difficult to avoid it.  Even if we hove-to where we are, it would come down and get us. 


Vanuatu is on a bearing of 335 degrees from our current position, so my current strategy is to keep heading as near to north as we can and then head west when the NE winds hit us.  I just hope that it's not too bad and there's no lightning, which always fills me with dread.


I had a bit of a scare in the afternoon.  I found about a gallon of water sloshing about in the bilge under the engine and another gallon in the main bilge.  At first I thought that the pipe that I'd replaced on the engine sea water strainer was leaking, but eventually traced it to water coming out of another bilge in the back of the boat. 


The mattress on my bed on the port side was wet and it looks like we've taken so much water over the decks that the aft lazarette has flooded and the water is slowly draining through to the bilge and also into a cupboard above my bed.  I've tightened the hatch for the aft lazarette and will keep an eye on it.


After dark the wind dropped to 18-23 knots, so I unfurled the main sail a little and let out all of the staysail.  We mostly had a very nice night because the waves reduced to 2 metres in the relatively light winds, but a couple of squalls came through giving 30 knot winds and forcing us to run downwind for ten minutes.  Glenys had a fright when a Flying Fish flew into the cockpit and flapped about - it made a right smelly mess of the cockpit floor.