The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 18 Jul 2015 21:35



11:01S   149:52E


So far we've done 155 miles with 210 miles to go. We’ve got 100% cloud cover, with 18-22 knot SSE winds.  It’s a dark and gloomy day, but we’re making good progress.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


18 July 2015  Panasia to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (Day 1)

The weather was a lot brighter this morning, but the skies were still overcast.  The anchor came up without any problems, so the fenders on the chain did their job well.  The light was poor but, we found a way through the reef and out into 2 metre waves and 25 knot winds - quite a shock after the relative calm of the anchorage.


Our route to the pass next to Uruba Reef was very hard on the wind, so we motor-sailed for three hours, only achieving 4 knots because we were constantly stopped by the large head-on waves.  We cleared the pass by half past eleven and were finally able to ease the sheets a little. But it was still tough for a few hours because the wind was 25 knots at 60 degrees off our port bow.


As the afternoon progressed, the wind settled down to 15-20 knots and backed, so by sunset we were on a pleasant broad reach doing 6-7 knots.  To get to Port Moresby, we’re following the south coast of Papua New Guinea, aiming to stay 20 miles offshore and, for some of the night, we picked up a favourable ½ - 1 knot current, which is pushing us along nicely.  We have to sail 365 miles and if we get lucky with the current, and average 6.5 knots, then we might be able to make it with just 2 nights’ sailing.


Apart from dodging a few ships, the night was pleasant, but very, very dark with no moon - at least we’ll have a new moon when we do the next leg, after staying in Port Moresby for a few days.