Tonga 8 – Niue

May 29, 2019

It’s a beautiful night with consistent winds and calmer seas. Charm is quite happy and therefore so are the rest of us. It isn’t quite champagne sailing but at least I’m only getting drenched by the odd wave once an hour instead of every 20 minutes.

We did have another sail mishap early this morning. Joe called me up to help. Usually that’s not a good sign. I looked forward and our job had separated from its track on the forestry so the bottom four feet were unattached and flapping. Joe said he thought a shackle had broken but when he went up, he saw that the luff tape had detached from the sail. So I eased the sheet and he held it against the forestry while I tried to roll it up. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get it but thankfully I managed to get it rolled enough for Noe to let go of it and come back and help me. 

So we’re sailing with just our main and still doing a respectable 9 knots. We have had some miserable luck with sails but it could be worse. One of the boats in the fleet had to get a new water maker and then the hoses got hooked up wrong on the new one so it’s either non-functioning or dead. And poor Selene, a new boat to the fleet, still hasn’t reached Suwarrow. Their engine went out and they’ve had light winds so are making very slow progress. One day they averaged 1.5 knots. I don’t know what they will do when they get there because there will be no resources for them apart from any other boats that are there. They don’t have a watermaker on board so will have the water issue as well.

All things considered, I will take the sail issues!

I did figure out why the wind feels so much stronger than it is registering on our display. When we turned downwind to get the jib furled, there was a noticeable drop in the feel of the wind. I realized that we have been doing so much downwind sailing that I had forgotten how the other points of sail (like our current beam reach) feel. I am now calibrating my internal wind gauge for the future. Nikitoo still is reporting 5 knots more than we’re seeing. Maybe they just like to round up :). 

We just broke 50 miles to go! As usual, it looks like a night arrival for us. At least we have heard that it is fairly easy to enter Niue at night. It will be almost morning when we get there so we should be fine.

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