Starblazer - 09/09/2014 – Vanuatu
As John wrote in Sunday’s log, we had put two reefs in the main to slow us down.We were still going too fast and our ETA was creeping earlier and earlier.While going fast is normally a good thing, I know, we didn’t want to arrive in an unknown port, with dubious reliability of navigation lights, in the dark.We put the third reef in the main at 1800.At 2300, first watch changeover, we decided to alter course towards the southwest because we were making 6 knots with the smallest amount of sail unless we experimented with the storm sails!The course alteration would make our trip to Port Vila longer as it would involve another change of course to bring us back up towards our destination.By the 0500 watch change it was time to alter course again and I had strict instructions to wake John up. read more...
Starblazer - 07/09/2014 – Rock & Roll
I’ve been delegated to go below and write a blog as it’s very Rock & Roll today.We’ve been trying to keep our speed down to arrive after 0900 Monday to avoid overtime rates for an unknown number of officials taking an undefined length of time to clear us in to Port Vila, Vanuatu.Number of Officials (unknown) x Clearance Time in Hours (unknown) x £6.50, and that’s the Saturday rate.Sundays are more expensive.The wind speed was so low that we have had to motor.Until late yesterday, when it increased and we had to roll all of the genoa away and this morning put two reefs in the main to get down to 4-4.5 knots.At the moment (1530 local) we are making 5.3 knots in 23 knots of wind!Time to spill some more wind from the main.Soon after lunch yesterday a small tuna (1.8kg, 4lb) stopped by. read more...
Starblazer - 06/09/2014 – ‘the darkest hour’
Think Mammas and Pappas not a politician, is just before dawn. Yesterday the moon rose at 1402 and was Waxing Gibbous (68%) so took over lightening the sky as the sun set at 1804.Unfortunately, having bright moonlight throughout the first two night watches means the next two both have a period of very dark though the stars help!The moon set at 0219 and the first vestiges of dawn didn’t appear until about 0530 with sun rise at 0615 this morning.There is a fantastic app for the i-pad called Star Walk, we thoroughly recommend it.Yesterday was a hotter day than Thursday because there was no cloud cover, it was also an almost windless day followed by weak winds during the night. We did try to sail, 21/2 hours in the morning, when we even hoisted the spinnaker for 5 minutes, and 33/4 hours up. read more...
Starblazer - 05/09/2014 – Sailing!
Actually, the title is a bit of an exaggeration. The wind put in an appearance just before 0800, John rushed up on deck when he heard the engine revs reduce.We let out the main and pulled out the genoa and sailed for 81/2 hours, managing to average 5 knots until the wind died again.We have been motoring all night at just under 5 knots because we don’t want to arrive before 0830 on Monday morning.According to the information we have, overtime is charged for a minimum of 3 hours for each official required. Tonga and Fiji have each had 4 officials.Just for once, I am lost for words because we did nothing all day.We tried to get into hunter/gatherer mode and put out two fishing lines with no result, not even a nibble.My lure came back minus a hook but I’m sure it rusted through!Nature has. read more...
Starblazer - 04/09/2014 – Moce Fiji (Goodbye)
We decided not to rush to check out on Monday so completed quite a few jobs at a leisurelypace!John reinstalled the water pump on Sunday, a job which took quite a lot of the day, while I repaired the dinghy bag.The zip needed sewing back onto the tape it was attached to.Normally the problem arises with the stitching deteriorating but in this case it was the braid which had started to disintegrate in UV.I’ll have to make a new bag when we get to New Zealand. We had a very pleasant Sunday evening with Dennis and Sherry (Trillium) celebrating Sherry’s birthday a couple of days early because they were due to clear out on Monday.The GRIB files are predicting very little wind all week so we decided to delay our departure until Wednesday which gives us the best chance of arriving in Port Vila,. read more...