Starblazer - 19/07/2015 – Halfway to Australia
The rally set off from Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu at 1000 on Thursday for the 1,000+ miles to Australia.Our waypoint on the finish line took no account of the minor zigzags, to avoid the southwest corner of Efate, to give the Entrecasteaux Reef north of New Caledonia a wide berth and to avoid the Marion and Wansfell Reef close to the Hydrographers Passage.We passed the halfway point just after 1300 today, Sunday, after some interesting sailing.The first 35 hours was characterised by 15-20 knot winds on the port quarter, rear nearside if you drive a British car.This is a fast, fairly comfortable point of sail with the genoa poled out to windward and the main out the other side, tied forward with a gybe preventer.The problems arise when the wind backs (goes anti-clockwise) and gets. read more...
Starblazer - 15/07/2015 - A rushed few days in Vanuatu
We left Tanna on Friday afternoon to pay a fleeting visit to Avokh, one of the Maskelyne Islands which we visited last year.The problem with the trip was the timing, it's 230 miles and unsafe to arrive in the dark.Leaving at about 4.00 pm should have been OK but we flew along in rather confused seas.Saturday afternoon we anchored off the west coast of Efate for nearly 5 hours.We chose to anchor there because there were no hazards to avoid when we wished to leave after dark.We had another fantastic sail overnight and anchored north of Avokh Island at about 1000 on Sunday morning. George paddled alongside in his outrigger and asked if we could charge his mobile phone which he brought out to us late afternoon.Sunday is a day of rest, nobody was out fishing, no children came visiting and we. read more...
Starblazer - 11/07/2015 - The second part of the passage to Vanuatu.
No, we didn't get lost; life got in the way of log writing! .All day Monday we sailed well, averaging 7 knots, however we didn't want to go so fast because we didn't want a nighttime entry to a port where the electronic charts were frankly laughable.Both our electronic charting systems had the coast marked with straight lines and the entry to the bay completely covered with reefs whereas the chartlet provided by Hugh showed a clear entry with safe waypoints and a detailed jagged coast.Our paper charts are no better than the electronic ones.We bought a Cruising Guide and installed it on the laptop but have been unable to validate the download due to lack of reliable wi-fi..Monday evening we rolled away the genoa and slowed a bit, our eta at the finish line was creeping later, towards 0600. read more...
Starblazer - 06/07/2015 – Not quite ‘Champagne Sailing’
We were very fortunate to be allowed to clear out of Fiji on Saturday morning, having arrived in Musket Cove far too late to be cleared out on Friday. There were several problems we still had to sort out, the most important being the electric bilge pump in the saloon.One mucky hand confirmed it wasn’t blocked however one of the wires was dangling.This is a sealed unit and the wire had failed where it entered the body of the pump so John wired in the spare and we were up and running.We reached the start line about one minute late, I’ll gloss over the state of Starblazer down below; let’s just say it was lucky that it was almost a flat calm and lots of items could be stowed as we picked our way through the reefs surrounding Malolo and Fiji.Usually being late at the start means you just see. read more...
Starblazer - 30/06/2015 - Koro to Vuda Point Marina etc.
The resort in Dere Bay on Koro appeared to exist solely to house prospective purchasers of the building plots in the surrounding hills!There was absolutely nothing to keep us there so, with the threat of stronger winds arriving soon, we pressed on to Makogai.This is an interesting island which was home to a leprosarium until 1969.The remaining buildings are now used by a mariculture centre run by the government.We went ashore to do a sevusevu ceremony and had a guided tour of the grounds.The main creatures being cultivated appear to be giant clams.They start off life in a large pool, when they reach about an inch across they stick them on concrete slabs and move them to another pool.They are thinned out again to give them space to grow.Eventually the slabs are taken to marine reserves. read more...