The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Wed 8 Jul 2015 21:06



13:59S  162:08E


So far we've done 315 miles with 585 miles to go. We did 110 miles in the past 24 hours. We're on a course of 290°, have 50% cloud cover and a 6-9 knot SSE wind pushing us along on a broad reach at 4-5 knots. This passage isn’t going to break any speed records, but at least it’s very comfortable.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


8 July 2015  Luganville to Papua New Guinea (Day 3)

Dawn brought blue skies with 25% cloud cover and a fantastic 12-15 knot NNE wind pushing us along on a beam reach at 6 knots.  We had a fabulous sail all day with blue skies and 3 foot seas.


Unfortunately, the wind died at sunset, so we motored for a couple of hours; then the wind came up again, so we sailed for another four hours; then the wind died, so we motored for an hour.  Then strangely, on my 1-4 watch, the wind switched 180 degrees and went to 4-8 knots from the south, so we motored again.


It takes up to twenty minutes to sort out sails with the pole and main preventer and I’m getting weary of changing the sail plan all the time, so I was lazy and motor-sailed for a couple of hours to let the wind settle down.  Just before our watch change at 0400, the wind direction seemed to be stable, coming over our port quarter at 45 degrees, so I poled the genoa to port, with the main out to starboard. I like this sail plan – we’re wing on wing, with the genoa pulled out to the windward side of the boat.  There’s a chance of the genoa backing, but normally the genoa gets much cleaner air and, especially in light winds, works well with the wind up to 60 degrees off our stern.


Gradually, the wind picked up and by dawn we had a 6-9 knot SSE wind pushing us along on a broad reach at 4-5 knots.  We appear to have a steady 1 knot current with us now, so we’re doing 6 knots over the ground, which is okay.