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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 5th, 2010 - NZ to Fiji, Day 5

Today, Wednesday, marks day 5 of our passage to Fiji. Yesterday began with very erratic wind conditions that continued through much of the early part of the day. Our goal is to stop at Minerva Reef for a couple of days on the way up if we can get into position to enter the narrow pass at the entrance. It is like threading a needle, and if we do not get a good angle for approach early on, then it will be a "beat" to get there. We can't afford that right now with limited use of the engine, therefore, paying attention to wind and wave forecasts and proper planning is paramount for this undertaking. That is not my department, but Frank is very adept at this. Our present goal is to "east" as far as possible from the rhumb line so that when the predicted winds do shift we will be able to ride them to the entrance.
Right. So the better part of our morning was spent easting with little or no wind. Occasionally we would enjoy microbursts that would give us a little push. Dead calm would generally follow such a burst, which is hell on a boat that has no use of the engine with a sea state that is quite choppy, lending to whipping of the sails and slamming as the boom tries to fight its preventer. It certainly jars the soul and leaves one feeling entirely helpless. We steadily persisted pursuing what bits of wind we could capture.
Finally, the winds freshened and we were able to get going by mid afternoon. We sang praises and prayed that this would keep up right on through. Frank took the early watch, waking me at 10:00. He said to awaken him at 01:00. I knew he was running on sleep deprivation, and was getting dangerously close to exhaustion. He said it was a good night for sailing, although he had encountered a couple of squalls. It seems the minute he fell into the bed I began to encounter the march of the squalls. They would appear on the radar looking ominous, and thankfully, they consistently marched toward us from the east, giving us a much needed lift. Throughout the next 5 hours, like clockwork they came, blasting Destiny with 20-30 knots of sustained winds for approximately 15 - 30 minutes, followed by depleted winds of 4-5 knots and flat calm. On and off, up and down almost like clockwork I'd reef the sails and release the sails. I was into a good rhythm and too energized to sleep so I stayed on until 03:00, when finally I was tired of fighting the calms which much harder to deal with than the high winds, and turned the helm over to Frank.
Today has been pretty much of the same as last night, although on a smaller scale and with less frequency. We are enjoying it tremendously appreciating the winds and feeling thankful that we have not had to fret over our inability to use the engine. The Good Lord has heard all the prayers coming our way! 199 miles to go to the entrance of North Minerva, as of 2:30 PM (14:30 hours).

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