Aiming at a Tiny Island

Tuesday Morning, 9/13/2016
Position Latitude 17°46.7 S Longitude 158°18.7 W

Today finds good trade winds from the SE at 12-15 knots with moderate following seas. It is sunny with a few puffy cumulus clouds around. Classic trade winds sky. Sunday and Monday were marked by a large and very long swell from the SW, generated by a storm days ago south of New Zealand. Fortunately, as swells get long (measured by the period between swell crests in seconds: above 9 is good) they get much less uncomfortable. Those storm swells are now past us and gone.

We are sailing fast, for Velic, at around 5.75 knots, broad reaching on a port tack (wind coming over the left side of the boat, sails to the right side). The Yankee jib is poled out to leeward and the main has a single reef. This a stable and powerful sail configuration in the trade winds when the sailing angles will allow for broad reaching.

Last night was spent hove to. This is putting the boat in quiet and docile position to drift for a few hours. We needed to ‘burn off’ about 12 hours in order to time our arrival at Aitutaki for Wednesday morning. I did not want to arrive at dusk today and attempt the pass through coral near sunset. Yikes! Better to drift out at sea, far away from other ships and boat-eating coral. We’re now on a better schedule and expect to arrive tomorrow about mid-morning.

In other good news: The Vesper AIS (Automatic Identification System) is back at work. We are now broadcasting our position, to be ‘seen’ by other vessels within about a 20 mile radius. This also means that the primary GPS receiver is working (they go together), and that we can easily see any other vessels transmitting their AIS signals in the vicinity. None are to be seen anywhere around, so far. It’s a giant ocean and there is little (no) traffic out here. The backup Garmin GPS hand held device that we were using has been put back on the bench. Using the Garmin was a good exercise in alternatives and backups that is now over. And so we have Velic’s position automatically displaying on the electronic charts. Very convenient again.

The Fishing News: Trolling with a ‘meat hook’ continuously now. The night before last we had a strike right at sunset, but lost a good old lure because the leader was nylon; it was very heavy ocean monofilament, but also old. Whatever hit bit right through the leader. I will use only stainless steel wire leader from now on. And a longer leader appears better, 3 meters seems good. I get few strikes on 1 meter leader, but it’s hard to lengthen after the guy in the store cuts it.

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2 thoughts on “Aiming at a Tiny Island

  1. Aloha, By the time you receive this I think you will be in Aitutaki. Hope all goes well. It is such a beautiful location. Also glad that you have the Vesper AIS working. Sounds much safer even though you are in a huge ocean. Thanks for this note. Have fun exploring. Love, Mom

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