John and Brian, who are crew for the Hawaii to Seattle passage, flew in to Honolulu a few days ago. Provisioning was one of the main tasks and since the passage could take 25 days or more, we did a big shop at Costco. We also increased our fuel capacity by adding 3 more jerry cans on deck, so we now carry a total of 145 gallons of diesel. Other projects included getting the wind vane back on the boat with the new rudder and control lines, re-installing the masthead windex, re-filling the propane tanks, and stowing everything in the cabin.
A little friendly competition among the different crew for the 4 passages between Fiji and Seattle (bold indicates winners so far):
Christmas Island, Kiribati to Honolulu, Hawaii:
- Distance traveled: 1282nm
- Distance (straight line): 987nm
- Route Efficiency: 0.77
- Fuel Consumed: 66 gal
- Sail-to-motor Ratio: 2.9
- Passage Time: 10 days, 10 hours
- Moving Avg: 5.13 kts
- Fish Caught: 2
Apia, Samoa to Christmas Island, Kiribati:
- Distance traveled: 1627nm
- Distance (straight line): 1277nm
- Route Efficiency: 0.78
- Fuel Consumed: 60 gal
- Sail-to-motor Ratio: 4.4
- Passage Time: 14 days, 5 hours
- Moving Avg: 4.78 kts
- Fish Caught: 4
Savu Savu, Fiji to Apia, Samoa:
- Distance traveled: 680nm
- Distance (straight line): 611nm
- Route Efficiency: 0.90
- Fuel Consumed: 20 gal
- Sail-to-motor Ratio: 5.8
- Passage Time: 5 days, 21 hours
- Moving Avg: 4.84 kts
- Fish Caught: 0
Christmas Island to Hilo, Hawaii is a 1080nm passage (direct line) on a 9 degree heading. The predominant wind is NE, making it another close-hauled slog. Our plan was to sail 2-1/2 degrees of longitude (150nm) further east from the direct path in the first half of the passage to set us up for the stronger NE trades further north. We figured that we could always make landfall in Maui or Oahu if the wind shifted more north. In the end, we decided on Oahu due to the schedule and convenience of flights for crew. Since we went went so far east earlier, this added about 300 miles to the direct path to Honolulu.
Here are 2 blog updates from sea on day 5 and day 9:
Update from Sea–17deg N, 156deg W
Today begins our 5th day at sea on the Christmas Island to Hawaii passage. We’ve seen everything from doldrums to squalls, but light air the majority of the time. And no sea-sickness among the crew for a change! Justin and Andi are doing great at picking up all the things required for passagemaking–sail trim & reefing, weather watching, boat maintenance, etc. They are also amazing in the galley and are avid “birders”, so I’m learning a lot about the different sea birds flying around us. We pulled in a large Wahoo on our 2nd day out and just finished eating it yesterday. It had some large upper teeth (like a small dog) and mostly small, sharp lowers, so we were careful handling it! The Hawaiian name for Wahoo is Ono, which means “delicious”. I think we drug it on the handline awhile since it was tired when we finally pulled it on deck. Justin and Andi made fish tacos, seared fish with couscous, and seared Mediterranean-style. We covered about 210 nm of easting during the first 4 days to set us up with a straight-line route into Hilo. If things change, we could check in at Maui or even Honolulu. We expect to reach the half-way point sometime tomorrow. Fuel is always a concern on long passages and so far we used up 48 out of 130 gallons. There was some remaining issues with bottom of the tank dirt clogging up the diesel filters, but seems to be better now after numerous filter bowl cleanings and filter changes. We pass time during the day with crossword puzzles, fishing, bird watching, eating, and resting. We have a special treat at Captains Hour when time allows and we’re not fighting squalls. We lost a critical part from Ian, the Fleming self-steering windvane. During the night, a 6 inch stainless steel rod that allows the vane to pivot on the servo arm disappeared into the deep, dark blue. I was surprised when I saw it since we count on Ian to keep us from hand-steering all the time. I was able to jury-rig a fix using a 10″ ss rod (fishing gear) that is slightly smaller in diameter. It’s held in place with 2 small set-screws, but for added insurance I used rescue tape on both ends to keep the pin from sliding out. So far it is working! After Samoa and especially Christmas Island, I’m really looking forward to landfall in Hawaii and being able to buy food and supplies just like in the rest of the states!
Update from Sea–8deg28min N, 154deg01min W
Today we are in day 9 of the passage from Christmas Island to Hawaii. We’re currently 260nm from Honolulu. We decided not to go to Hilo for check-in to make it easier and quicker for the Justin and Andi to get to Maui for their flight back to Seattle. Another unexpected and unfortunate thing happened to Ian, our self-steering wind vane. After loosing the pivot pin a few days ago, a more serious break happened–the wind vane rudder vanished into the deep, dark blue! It looks like a weld broke and a tether, whose purpose was to pull and pivot the rudder up and out of the water when not in use, was no match for dragging something that big in the water at 6 knots. This rendered the wind vane completely useless, so good thing we were only about 4 days from landfall. We used a combination of hand-steering and balancing the boat via the 4 sails so she would steer herself on a constant course. I contacted the wind vane manufacturer (Fleming from Australia) and will have a new rudder shipped to Hawaii. Brian, who is crewing from Hawaii to Seattle, is machining a pin to match the one that fell out, so Ian should be back to working condition when we depart from Hawaii. After getting through the doldrums and a huge, half-day rain storm, we finally broke out into the trade winds. We’ve now been sailing for the past 6 days covering 24-hour distances of 109, 94, 119, 116, 140, and 143nm. With 2 days left, we should pull into Honolulu with almost 3/4ths of the fuel still in the tanks. The past few nights have been moonless so the stars have been amazing. We finally spotted Ursa Minor about 2 nights ago and Polaris has been rising higher by about 2 degrees (angular height above the horizon) each night, since we cover about 2 deg of latitude (120nm) daily. We are on a 0 deg. true heading, so Polaris is straight ahead and we can still see the Southern Cross at 180 deg. getting lower and lower. Last night we used an iPad app. to identify Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and bright stars and constellations in the dark sky. Another repair at sea involved the steering system after I noticed there was about a 1″ play in the wheel. I had visions of the wheel coming completely off the binnacle. To gain access to the upper steering connection, we had to remove the compass and mounting board. Then it was obvious that all that was needed was to tighten the large nut threaded onto the steering axle.
In the final day and a half, we saw both extremes of wind. Once we got in the lee of the big island of Hawaii with its tall volcanoes, there was no wind at all and we motored for about 12 hours. I never realized how big the island was until we had to motor along it. From tip to tip, it stretches about 80 miles, the same distance from Seattle to the Canadian border! At the closest, we were just 40 miles off the south-west coast, yet we never once spotted it due to the haze. We finally broke out of the wind shadow as we got closer to Maui, which was the first land we spotted. From there to Oahu, we had plenty of wind and had to reduce sail to keep the boat from heeling so much. We pulled in a small bluefin tuna as the hotels of Honolulu and Waikiki got closer. Right after that a group of about 20 dolphins swam beside us, giving us a fantastic show. Some were obviously showing off as they lept completely out of the water. Our arrival after dark forced us to hove-to (with stays’l and main) until dawn, since we would be tying Tahitian-style to a dock and mooring buoy at the Ala Wai marina. When I got up at 5am, I pulled out the genoa and sailed east past Waikiki and Diamond Head for some photos.
We spent 10 days of Christmas Island (Kiritimati Island) while waiting for new crew to fly in. We arrived on a Monday and flights only come in once a week on Wednesdays, but we had to wait for the following week for the crew exchange (Doug and Adam flew out the same day Andi and Justin flew in). London is the main village on the island and consists of a few small grocery stores (with very limited food), 2 gas stations, a bank, a school, and not much more. At 2 degrees north of the equator, it was very hot and mostly dry. Here are some pictures taken during our stay: