Monday, June 30, 2014

Day 5 Sailing from Marshall Islands to North America (Ailuk atoll to Bikar)

July 1, 2014 @ 9:30am or (UTC June 30 @ 2130)

Day 5 LightSpeed Sailing from Marshall Islands to North America

Tags: Ailuk atoll to Bikar atoll.

Underway position: 11 58N 170 00E

98nm day/348nm total

Wind 17 ESE
Max wind speed 30+ knots in squalls
100 % Cloud cover with rain and squalls
Air Temp 86F

Seas: 2.5 meters and confused
Sea temp 86F

We sailed out of Ailuk atoll yesterday afternoon around 5pm after a lazy day of beach combing, swimming and naps. As we cleared the NW pass on Ailuk winds were light, but many large squalls loomed ominous on the horizon. With only 120 miles to sail we'd need to go fairly slow to meet our desired afternoon arrival time at Bikar, so I tucked in a double reef and unfurled our new tiny working/storm jib. The wind soon filled in with the first squall and didn't let up until sunrise. Controlling boat speed was the challenge. LightSpeed was skipping, jumping and slamming into the confused seas. It didn't help that the predicted ESE moved to ENE putting us close on the wind. In the most vigorous squalls the storm jib started to feel too big and I was wishing I'd rigged that third reef in the main. LightSpeed lived up to her name and we occasionally surpassed 10 knots going to weather. 10 knots was way too fast for the sea state and eventually I furled the tiny jib.

This morning the seas are still a bit confused and slapping us around a bit, but the wind is down to 15 and the jib is unfurled driving us at 6-7 knots. Needless to say we're going to arrive many hours earlier than anticipated at Bikar. I guess that will give us a chance to see the pass at low water and maybe a few hours of lying a hull for a nap before we decide if Bikar pass is tenable. We have 15 miles to go to Bikar.

At the first opportunity I'm going to repurpose the first and second reef lines to second and third reef lines. I'll loose the ability to fully hoist the main, but gain the ability to easily reef down to 3 reefs.

That's it for now.

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