Passage to Tonga: Barefoot

We are down to light shorts and bare feet. The cabin temperature is 25°C. The sea temperature is 26°C. Now motor sailing into a very light breeze coming from exactly the direction we want to go, and the boat is generally upright. What a change a day can make.

Forty eight hours ago we were close hauled in boisterous seas in Force 5 winds from the northeast, sailing under a deeply reefed main and the staysail into the wind. It had been eight days of close sailing in strong winds, with waves slamming against the boat, washing over the lifelines and down the side decks. Every on-deck venture meant layering up in complete foulies and harnesses, a ritual akin to donning vestments. Activity below was minimal. Basically, we could read, sleep, eat (out of mug or deep bowl), make log entries, talk. And keep a “prairie dog” lookout, dodging spray. Then yesterday the weather started to change. Cloud cover increased to a thick, grey batting overhead, and the wind lightened and became intermittent – dying away, then rising again. By afternoon we were wallowing in leftover waves, slowly, very slowly, sailing NW when the wind backed more to the North setting us more west. We don’t want to go west. It was time to tack. Even if that meant not sailing north towards Tonga, sailing due east was good. Eventually the SE trade winds, which are predominant, will show up. We want to be east of Tonga when that happens, with the winds behind us for the final run.

Today the wind has continued light. We sailed until it died completely, then motor sailed. We are watching the formation of a high over New Zealand slowly move eastward. It’s leading edge should bring southwest, then south winds, favorable for sailing north to Tonga.

It was settled enough onboard that Ruth made a batch of yogurt. The cabin sole and most hard surfaces got a good rinse with fresh water and a splash of bleach. This mops up the salt accumulated over the past week and keeps molds and mildew at bay. Life feels ever so much better aboard.


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