As we write (at 15.15 Vanuatu time on the 7th) we are at 16 degrees 54 minutes south and 164 degrees 27 minutes east, making 7 knots in the right direction. The wind is blowing about 26 knots (Force 6) from our port side so this beam reaching, as it's known, is our fastest point of sailing and Maunie is fairly racing along. The only downside is the sea state.
To recap, we left Luganville at 10.30 yesterday morning, motored for an hour to get clear of the island's wind shadow then flew the Irish Flag spinnaker for an hour until the wind built up to about 18-20 knots. After that we were back to white sails, the mainsail and the yankee and, by dusk had them reefed down as the wind increased to 28 knots. Unfortunately for us, there's a 2 to 2.5m southerly swell coming at us, together with wind-driven waves from the south east so the motion is very uncomfortable and the odd wave slaps Maunie's side to send spray over the whole boat. Neither of us felt much like cooking last night so a big bag of tortilla chips and some home made pawpaw bread did for supper and we both slept only fitfully off watch.
Thankfully, Winnie the Windpilot is coping with it all admirably so we don't have to hand steer and everything else seems to be working fine. Our progress was slowed a little by a 1 knot adverse current during the night but that seems to have dissipated now and we have averaged 7 knot for the past 12 hours. The forecast suggests that the wind and waves will drop a little on Sunday and we hope to arrive at Chesterfield Reef, which lies north west of New Caledonia, on Monday morning for a bit of rest before the remaining 3-day passage to Bundaberg.