Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Rarotonga to Niue - Day 4

Position as at 1100 UTC
19 degrees, 55 minutes south
168 degrees, 25 minutes west
Distance travelled in last 24 hours: 130 nm
The latest computer weather models are amazing. The GRIB forecasts we downloaded yesterday suggested that we'd hit the frontal trough, with a big wind direction change, around early evening and sure enough at 8.00pm we sailed into a big black cloud, got rained on a bit and saw the wind swing round, very quickly, from NE to SW. We were able to tack and continue on our course, this time with the boat healing to starboard. The great thing was we were fully prepared for it so there was no drama; if we hadn't had the forecast it would have come as a bit of a shock.
The night's sailing wasn't great as the new wind direction was fighting with the old swell direction so it was quite lumpy and uncomfortable. The crews on Maunie and Stormvogel compared notes on the vhf this morning and both agreed it had been a bit of a crap night. However, today we're making better progress and are less than a mile apart, having lost sight of each other in the night. At the moment our speed and course will get us to Beveridge Reef at about 4.00am (which wouldn't be a good idea for an unlit reef that isn't where the charts say it should be) so we're making best speed now and then will heave-to (effectively parking the boat with the sails working against each other to hold us relatively still) tonight for a few hours to make sure of an arrival in good light. Ideally the sun should be reasonably high in the sky to allow us to spot shallow patches in the pass and lagoon. Our only concern at this stage is that the swell is relatively high (over 2m) so this may make an entrance to the reef too difficult, in which case we'll continue onwards to Niue.
Many thanks to those who sent us news updates on Syria – we now feel well-informed but, like everyone else, can't see a tidy solution in the offing. We'll go back to worrying about wind and waves!

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