Superb South Pacific Sailing

Day 11

And we passed the halfway mark last night with a little bubbly celebration, but are still hoping to arrive in the Marquesas around the 29/30th April.

This sailing is superb and so different from the Atlantic. We have had one squall where the wind increased to 33 knots very quickly, but it only lasted about 30 minutes, and shortly afterwards we were back to sunshine. It gets a bit damp during the night, but generally it is trousers and a couple of tops, as it gets cool on the 3-6 watch.

Yesterday we caught a 15 lb skipjack tuna, identifiable by the stripes on its belly. It put up quite a fight, took about 20 minutes to reel in, administer alcohol down its gills, gaff and net it and get on board. Fish blood everywhere! But we now have 37 filleted tuna steaks in the fridge and freezer. On top of the blue fin tuna and mahi mahi caught earlier in the week, we don’t think we are going to go hungry!

With big shoals of silvery flying fish all around, the question is when does a shoal become a flock??!!

After a brisk sail during the night, today is just superb. We are well into the SE’ly trade winds now, and are heading further south to try to remain with the stronger winds. We plan to sail about 240nm on our current SW’ly heading, and then alter course and switch to twin poled out headsails for the final run to landfall. Sunshine, pleasantly warm, and cracking along at 7.5 kn through the water, 8.5 kn SOG. Long Pacific swells are currently on our beam.

Though we are in SSB contact with three other yachts morning and evening each day, and two (Marionette IV and SuAn) are within 100 miles of Pipistrelle, we obviously can’t see them. What we have seen at close quarters are two large vessels – the first at night going across our stern about 1.5nm away and bound for the Magellan Straits. The second a container ship bound for Shanghai that passed about 2nm ahead of us!

Latest 24 hour run to midday today: 178nm

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