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Walkabout - Normal Service Is Resumed

S15:46 W153:56

We are up and running, and getting back into the passage making routine again.

After the first night at sea, many things are just the same as I remember them from previous passages.

The first thing is that Tom has his fishing licence back (perhaps briefly) as we caught a nice Mahi Mahi yesterday afternoon, so soon into our passage - the Fishing Club is doing well. That led to a rapid reassessment of the meal plans by the Catering Club. Off the menu for last night went the bolognese, and straight on came baked Mahi Mahi - very nice indeed - great job by both Clubs.

We went into the night with a plan - sail set up and heading. Discussed and agreed by the Governance and Strategy Sub-Committee. By midnight this was all looking a bit flakey. As ever, the wind gods hadn’t read the memo. Our sail set up was wing on wing - poled out Genoa to starboard and main with preventer to port. 2 reefs in the main and one and a half in the Genoa. This tied us pretty much to dead down wind, with not much wriggle room. The sea state is quite messy, with big swells rolling through at times. Bit by bit during the night the wind veered more and more to the south, pushing our heading onto an ever increasing northerly bearing. The rhum line to Niue is about 248 degrees, and by the end of the night we were sailing nearly 300 degrees. Not ideal, and putting us at the northern edge of the fleet and at the back of the pack.

We had a close encounter with a French yacht during the night - both of us sailing very similar courses and bit by bit getting closer together. Until Tom took decisive action, spoke to them on the radio and agreed that we would slow down and go behind them. This kept our distance to about a mile at the closest point.

The first night at sea is always difficult from a sleep point of view. I think we ahem all found it quite hard to get any decent rest. Now there are 4 of us on board we have changed our shift pattern to mainly 2 hours on, 6 hours off. There are a couple of 3 hour shifts during the day, so that the pattern moves on each day and we all take turns in doing each shift. Just doing a 2 hour watch during the night seems pretty civilised.

Sunrise has been as beautiful as ever, and we have the benefit of a big, bright moon all night over the next few days.

At 0700 I gybed the main and set us on a better course towards Niue (245 deg M). As we start to head south, it looks like we are going to have another close encounter with the French yacht…

And another bit of positive news - the fridge and freezer that have been giving us a lot of problems (switching off overnight) have both got through the night fully functioning!! Thanks to some work in Tahiti to rewire the power supply to both of them. Fingers crossed, it has done the trick. The Fishing Club will be pleased - there is a working freezer to pack with fish!

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