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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Suwarrow atoll or Apia, Western Samoa? Equipement issues... very few.

May 25, 2013
Underway position: 15°18'S 158°22'W at 1900UTC
Evaluating weather for the sail to Suwarrow atoll or continuing on to Apia, Western Samoa?


First we were underway for Aitutaki, Cook Islands, then we altered course to Suwarrow atoll to harmonize with the wind and swell. Now we're looking at the possibility of going direct to Apia, Western Samoa about 800nm distant.

Three primary factors weigh in favor of continuing on to Apia.

One, they have a great fruit and veggie market and we're running preciously low of fresh items. I think we have one cucumber, one carrot and a tiny bit of cabbage remaining and so Kathy has ramped up our sprout production to three trays of broccoli sprouts.

Two, the weather forecast looks good to keep moving to west and north. A huge high pressure system is moving in and if we keep a heading toward Apia, Western Samoa we'll skirt the edge of the strong winds with just enough to keep moving fast, but not so much as to become uncomfortable. We're looking ahead five days at this point, so today's plan is subject to change.

Three, we're motivated to keep moving west as we have lots of activities planned for Fiji. Topping the list is hauling the boat for an anti-fouling paint job which requires we find a yard that can haul the boat, source paint, and perform all the work. None of which are small tasks. Obtaining visas and permits from both the Indonesian and Papua New Guinea consulates will no doubt require several visits over many weeks. Fiji will also be our last good place to shop for almost a year while we venture far off the beaten path, so lots of provisioning runs. Throw in two groups of guests visiting while in Fiji and a few months will pass in a flash of activity.

We've had a spinnaker up for the last 24 hours. Super big spinnaker during the day and small squall proof spinnaker at night. Good easy sailing, but for the swell which is out of sync with the wind speed and the fact that it's hot as hell with very little apparent wind to move through the cabin.

Knock on wood we've had almost no issues with equipment on the boat the last several years. Looking back just minor repairs: A union on the 15 year old Furlex furler foil was loose and I tapped in a few new bolts. Dito with the furler drum. The pump head on our Spectra water maker mag-pump wore out, but I already had the $600 spare onboard. A major bearing failed last year on the windlass, but Maxwell was quick to send me a replacement shaft assembly at no cost. Luckily we were near Tahiti to receive the shipment. We had a small leak around a dorade vent that required some epoxy work to the core. The lazy jacks have broken a few times, but this is expected after three years of using too small of line to minimize wind resistance. We have a cracked window from the main sheet block hitting the corner of the glass, but have a spare window onboard. A switch on the propane system wore out, but easy to fix. A hatch hinge broke, but we have every spare possible on board for the hatches. One of my Gori folding propellers is getting some play in the internal bushing that will need evaluation in Fiji where I plan to replace seals in the Yanmar saildrives. Again, knock on wood, but all minor issues considering something like 13,000 nautical miles on the major systems since our last major haulout in 2010. This morning I sent Kathy half way up the mast to retrieve a busted lazy jack.

That's it for now.

Dave & Kathy
s/v LightSpeed