Passage to Brisbane: First two days

November 11, 2008 10:20 am local time

We left the fuel dock in Noumea at 12:30 pm Monday, well ahead of our planned Tuesday morning departure. There is a storm forecast to come up the east coast of Australia from the south that should reach Brisbane late Sunday night. We wanted to be sure that we were in Bribane before the storm arrived, so we left early.

In spite of the forecast of light winds for Monday, we had a terrific sail coming out of New Caledonia. As soon as we left Petite Passe and entered the huge lagoon of New Caledonia, we were making 8.5 knots under sail. We entered the ocean through Passe Dumbea, about 10 miles away. The ocean swells were light and the wind was great. We kept up 8.0 – 8.5 knots in flat seas until 10 pm. Then the wind just died. We motored Monday night in clear skies and an almost full moon.

Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, we set poles and set our genoa to port, but when we tried to set our ballooner (spinnaker) to starboard the head of the sail ripped, rendering it unusable. It would have been the perfect sail for much of the day. We improvised by sailing wing-on-wing with the genoa and main. We had to motor a few more hours during the day, but just before sunset the wind came up a bit and we were able to sail all night, although at only 5 knots. The wind has moved forward of the beam this morning and we are motor-sailing in 6 knot winds from NNW and seas less than 1 meter. Skies and clear and the air is warm.

Our position at 10:30 am Nov 11 (Local time) is:

S23 degrees 41.93 minutes
E161 degrees 51.43 minutes

We are making 6.3 knots on a course of 239 degrees magnetic.

The other good news is that I cannot find any trace of water in the transmission, so the repair we undertook in Noumea seems to have fixed the problem.

Both Laura and I heard whales surface near the boat last night but by the time we looked for them, they were gone. I wish they would stay and visit with us for awhile.

We left Noumea just two hours before Cardea with Jim and Kevin aboard, and 20 hours before Sol Searcher with Ray and Peggy. We have an informal SSB net with Carea and Sol Searcher every evening. Magnum (Uwe, Anne, and Kara) joins in the net as well even though they are still hanging out in Iles des Pines waiting for more wind.


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