Hawaii to Tahiti: Day 7. Life on a plane

18 Apr

On an inclined plane, that is. We’ve been going upwind and beating into waves since we started the trip. Despite the theoretical direction of the trade winds, which should allow us to reach, the reality is that the winds have been mostly from the SE, with big swell and current trying to carry us West. As a result we have to point higher than the direction we really want to go into, with the boat constantly leaning anywhere between 15 and about 35 degrees. The motion also varies depending on the strength of the wind and the accompanying waves, anywhere between a gentle up and down, similar to a ride on a modern cushy train, and a bucking-bronco, similar to a ride on a stability ball in a washing machine 😛 It’s been mostly high winds and big swell, so we’ve been more in the washing machine at 35 degrees case.

This is not abnormal for a sailboat, but when it happens for 7 days straight, it makes ‘normal’ day to day tasks a lot more difficult. All movement needs to be calculated, and bracing points thought of in advance. Let’s just say that I brush my teeth in the kitchen sink, because the bathroom is on one of the bronco-bucking sides, and we are very happy we provisioned with ham and cheese for a month straight. I can’t even imagine cooking in these conditions. We also just lounge a lot reading – we’re both catching up on our South Pacific primer Blue Latitudes.
Still, life offshore falls into a routine, just working itself around those challenges. Also, we have both noticed that our standards are constantly re-adjusting (downward): today we took a shower in a squall by just going outside during the heaviest part of the rain. Not that we don’t have water in the tanks, we made a couple of hours of of fresh water today, but it’s easier to sit in the cockpit than the shower downstairs with the motion of the boat. Of course, at the end of it a big salty wave came and sprayed me before going back down, while still in the hatch opening, so I still had to rinse off downstairs and wipe off all the salt water from the stairs. You sail, you learn.

We made good progress easting yesterday, but today it seems we are back in the clutches of the equatorial current which is slowing down our progress by approximately 2 knots. Hoping (again) to hit the countercurrent later tonight. Any time now…

Don’t forget to follow our position under the Map section of this blog, at svbellamarina.com/map/

Octavia and Petter

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