11th Sept - Day 9&10

SY Saphir -
Jeff & Doreen
Sat 10 Sep 2022 23:37
15:24s 177:11w

Missed yesterdays blog so two days in one today!

We finally crossed the date line at 00.40 local on Friday 9th which became Sat 10th so now we are ahead of everyone at home which is a first on this voyage!

Our two consecutive noon to noon runs have been 162.3 & 162.8 so very close to a 6.8kt average over two days. I think without really pushing it that is probably our upper limit which for making passages is OK. Certainly well above the 1000nm per week target I set when we started back in Lanzarote! Distance to go now is 438nm so we should be in early Wednesday morning local time without too much trouble. Hopefully we can get cleared in quite quickly, provisioned up and over to Musket Cove.

The sailing these past 48 hours has followed the same pattern for more or less the whole trip, at least since we gybed on Day 4, ESE winds of between 15 & 20 knots with some stronger periods which are generally not for long. We have had some rain squalls from time to time, but generally these do not have much wind only rain, however largely it has been clear blue skys and ideal conditions.

This means we have been using a mixture of our Jib poled to windward AND OR the Code 0 to leeward which is our favourite downwind combination together with the main. The boat is very stable and balanced when we can use all three sails at the same time. It needs to be less than 14 knots apparent wind for this to work well and also an apparent wind angle of between 120 and 150. Anyway that is the technical bit - Less technically - it has been amazing sailing….

Early this morning we passed fairly close to a bank called the Rochambeau Bank. The sea level went from circa 1500m to, in one place, 25m deep over a distance of approx 5nm. That is a pretty big underwater mountain, but the Pacific is full of them and you certainly have to pay good attention to the charts and zoom in to check for obstacles that may not be immediately obvious. I think we all learned that from the Volvo 70 that hit the reef in the Indian Ocean several years ago with a full professional crew aboard!

As indicated earlier in the trip our route from here will take us in a straight line to the NW corner of Vanua Levu which we should reach in the early hours of Tuesday morning and then we will skirt around the reef eventually approaching a pass called he Malolo passage just off the west corner of Vitu Levu. Then a short run into a marina at Denerau which is a port of entry.

That is all for now, enjoy the weekend - WE WILL!