Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tonga to Fiji, Day Two

The winds began to fill in at dawn and we were finally able to shut off the engine. What a relief! Our boat has exceptional light air performance, and with only 10 knots of wind, we soon began to pull away from Sorceress. By early afternoon, she had dropped over the horizon. By late afternoon, the wind had strengthened to the point that we reefed the main and partially furled the jib. Just before nightfall, with squalls on the horizon, I put in a second reef. This turned out to be a miserable night. The seas were not large, perhaps 1.5 meters, but very confused, making the motion of the boat quite uncomfortable. Rain was heavy, and we got soaked standing watch, even hunkered down in the companionway. The wind increased up to 30 knots, with higher gusts, and I was forced to drop the main entirely. Our Hydrovane wind vane will not work with only a headsail. The only consolation was that our old mechanical autopilot, an Autohelm 4000, did function, and uncharacteristically, it kept on working through the night. We were very thankful that we did not have to steer by hand in these conditions!

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