Cruising the South Pacific with Tackless II
Tackless II, along with her two captains, Don and Gwen, cruise from Fiji to Australia
Sunday, October 26, 2008
25 October 2008 - Day 5 on the Road to Oz
Today was a good day. The wind last night continued to back right when we needed it to, and we were able to clear the shallower peaks of the mid ocean ridge that runs south of Chesterfield Reef. You might wonder what the big deal is about crossing these submarine mountain ranges. Well, sometimes, all that ocean, suddenly encountering uw obstacles can mound up worsening surface conditions, which you may remember were bad enough on their own. Our experience, however, was that the time we were actually over the ridge (via one of the deeper "passes") was the calmest sea of the day! Once we were clear of that area, we shut the engine down, relieved to poke along at 3-4 knots and try to catch up on our sleep.

The next morning -- this morning -- the wind speeds were down and the seas were down quite a bit as well. Refreshed by some sleep yet faced with 400 miles still to travel without our big headsail, Don came up with a plan to replace the furling line with an old one and rehoist the sail. The first tricky part involved perching on the bow and winding the furling line back into the drum. The second tricky part was getting the many folds of the sail sorted out on a moving deck filled with dinghy and fuel jugs. In getting the sail down the day before in the big winds and seas, things had gotten a bit twisted up! The third tricky part was getting the sail rehoisted. The hero in this whole endeavor was the team of Otto and Perky who between them kept the boat steadily into the wind while the two of us were out wrestling things on the foredeck. Probably the biggest pain was trying to keep our harnesses clipped in while we needed to be first here and then there on the deck. We kept reminding ourselves that sailors used to change sails this way all the time in the days before roller furling! All went according to plan...well, the second time... and you never saw such pleased campers as these two Captains to have our sail back. We promptly shook out the reefs in the main and set the genoa and were off like a proper sailboat.

It's been grand sailing again today, the wind at a nice moderate 9-14 knots off the beam, while the large southern ocean swell runs by with a long period beneath us, lifting us smoothly from our port side and passing on away under us to starboard. This running swell is what I imagined we'd see all across the Pacific, but in fact it's the first one like this I remember.

By the way, we are not actually in the Pacific anymore. We are officially transiting the Coral Sea! So exotic!

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