Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So Close...

In the 24 hours till noon today we made 112 miles - I am deliberately trying to slow down so since late yesterday have only had a reefed mainsail out, and now its down to 2 reefs but still Sapphire is too fast! We need to slow down so that we arent approaching Suwarrow in the dark - a potentially dangerous "lee shore" which is to say, a shore which wind and waves will blow the boat onto if I am not careful - hence the need to approach it in daylight. I was never going to be able to get there by nightfall tonight, so it will be daybreak tomorrow. GPS tells us exactly where we are all the time but sometimes islands and rocks and reefs are not where they are supposed to be - hence the need to rely on the tried and true Mark One Eyeball - but it is non-functional at night. Ive been trying to work out the best approach and have decided to heave-to in about an hour - we will be 50nm from Suwarrow - and I shall wait 6 or 7 hours before setting off again, planning to be about 10 miles off at daybreak. High tide is about 7.30 so it all works in nicely...but I am quite nervous . Charlie's Charts says "Several large coral heads extend across part of the passage near Northeast reef....Entry should only be made in good weather with calm seas because the seas break over the shoal with any swell causing turbulence in the entrance..." And of course out here there are no Beacons or Buoys or Marks to guide you in. I am hoping there will be some other yachts there - it would be nice to have some company, but I believe a caretaker lives there in the sailing season so he at least must be an interesting fellow.

There have been several showers of rain today interspersed with bright sunshine, but otherwise the steady tradwind conditions are more or less as before. Overnight a ship of some sort went by in the opposite direction with lots of bright lights but I couldn't make out a red Port navigation light, and the ship didnt show up on the AIS. I spotted it at one of my regular checks way off the port bow but it quickly disappeared behind - I just wished it had been day time because it would have been nice to look at something other than sea and sky for a change. Somehow I think the vessel was a trawler or some sort of large fishing boat. A light I saw another night thinking it was a ship turned out to be a star low on the Horizon. And also, yes Melva theres a new moon rising and not far from it an incredibly bright object, a Planet I suspect, quite amazing early in the morning.

One last thing : Youre reading this so obviously the SailMail programme on my computer worked OK but I had some trouble earlier and wondered if I was going to be able to get it to work. If it does malfunction and be unfixable it will mean I cant send messages to the Blog or send emails. This could happen tomorrow or at any time in the next few weeks awhile I am on board. And you will be left wondering what is going on : the answer is that he most likely thing thats happened is that I am fine and the computer is playing up. Please do not ring authorities or Search and rescue or whoever you can think of if a Blog Post doesnt happen or I do not reply to your email. Just wait patiently and eventually I will get back to you but it might be a week or two. My next port of call will be Niue Island, 5 days sail away, where there is internet, and after that, Tonga, a further 2 or 3 days sail. Stay calm everyone, the Boat and I are doing fine.

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