Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
At Sea - Suwarrow to Western Samoa - Sailing the Dangerous Middle
Passage - 8 to 12 September 2010
8/09 - (13.15.00N-163.06.50W)
We were concerned with weather for this part of the trip so we again contracted Bob McDavitt for advice. The boats that left 2 days ahead of us had a tough start of their trip with lots of squalls and thunderstorms. We left behind the passing front hoping to reach Samoa before the next front. The pattern had been fronts passing every 5 to 6 days.
To our surprise the pass out of Suwarrow was the worst so far with 4 kn of current and almost 30 kn head winds. I hid behind the computer screen following our progress in the chart as Oscar took us thru the tough pass, I guess I decided to take the panic glasses approach (the no see, no problem approach). Once out of the pass we are in 15 to 20 knots East winds going well.
During the afternoon we find seas are high and uncomfortable.
9/09 - (13.17.00N-165.25.00W) - 138 miles on day 1
Seas did not subside as expected and we got lots of squalls during the night. Winds are still at 15 to 18 from the ESE outside the squalls.
10/09 - (13.29.00N-167.55.00W) - 146 miles on day 2
It is very uncomfortable and wet. Winds have increased to 20 to 25 from the ESE. We did a change in the rigging so that we could use the 3rd reef with a better sail set up. So far, we had rarely used the 3rd reef, and now we felt we need it. We set up the sails on 3rd reed for the night.
11/09 - (13.36.00N-169.58.00W) - 120 miles on day 3
We need to slow down as at this pace we will arrive in the middle of the night. Conditions are a bit better, winds are now from E at 15 to 20 knots.
12/09 - (13.50.00N-171.46.00W) - 108 miles on day 3
We decided to do the last part of the trip motoring to slow down and wait for day light before entering port. We finally arrived. It is not possible to anchor here and a little boat from the marina comes to show us the way in and help us to tie up at the docks. We find many friends already here and it is catch up time.