We motored from 7 till 1, then from 2 till 5, nine hours sitting at the wheel and watching the compass or a cloud and keeping Sapphire on track, trundling at not much better than walking speed across the heaving featurelss plain of the sea, as a cloudless sky burned my back, two birds flew by and a flying fish swooped away across the low swell.The sea is remarkable in the way its appearanc and motion can change so much and always be somehow fascinating, but still sitting there with the drone of the Kubota in my ears was a tedious and frustrating way to spend the time. Occasionally I would spy a riffle of water and the hint of a suggestion of a suspicion of a possibility of a potential return of wind would arouse my hopes and twice I stopped and watched, and once raised sail and ghosted a few meters before stopping with sails listlessly waving back and forth, the breeze vanished....
So at 5, as planned I switched off . I checked the tank - we had used 10 litres in 9 hours at 2000 RPM and covered 42 miles. We were now 300 miles from Raiatea - 100 miles in three days - but only 20 of those in the first. For tea I cooked pasta with salmon and added tomato and basil sauce. I even had some Parmesan! As it was cooking I noticed a breeze and decided to try again - we ghosted a few metres and kept going, almost noislessly in the evening sea light, 2 knots then 3 and I sat eating my dinner to the sweet sound of water gliding past the boat at almost 4 knots, the ocean still almost flat. Some moments are worth waiting for - this was one of them - a kind of harmony between sea and yacht and sky .
Looking ahead a line of cloud was approaching and rain was falling from one of them and steadily the wind settled in and picked up. By the time I had done the dishes and tidied the cockpit of water bottles and food scraps and clothes I had to reef the mainsail, the wind was 15 knots and we were doing over 6 knots! - next there was thunder and pouring rain and 22 knots. So much for he harmony of sea yacht and sky now it was every man for himself.
SO the wind came in hard and strong from SSE, not at all what was predicted fot last evening or the next couple of days , but we were on the exact right heading for Raiatea so that at least was reassuring. However it was disconcerting as the next thing I fear will happen is a return to the typical tradewinds from the east again heading me and greatly slowing down the pace of our return. During the night it was rough and quite a bit of water over the boat - which I can truly say is much drier than it had been in similar weather last year so the leak sealing has made a diffference - but is easing again now and I will need to let out more sail once its light enough to see whats going on. The rain has stopped and theres much less cloud. Its nice not to have to steer. Position right now is 15 degrees 20 south, 155 degrees 44 west and 260 nm from Raiatea. We are battling on!
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