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Sailing To Fiji – Our Most Challenging Night On Board

After Wednesday’s weather turmoil, the next day dawned with a beautiful sunrise, the sea settled down and became quite flat with just a long running ground swell. You could even say it was pleasant!

Sadly, the wind was on the nose, so we had to motor, but were able to put the fishing rods out and also catch up on must-do chores including washing, cleaning and baking peanut butter cookies. It was a normal day.

Later, when Skipper downloaded the weather, he said the wind would be back by 9pm and we’d be sailing again (well he wasn’t wrong there)! We had been pre-warned by Met Bob, our passage weather router, that we were in for a windy night with rough seas as we crossed a passing trough (well he wasn’t wrong either)! The advance warning was much appreciated as we were able reef down the mainsail (make it smaller for bad weather), while it was still lovely and calm.

What followed was perhaps one of the most challe nging nights we’ve endured so far on Two Drifters – and we’ve sampled a few dodgy passages in our time.

At 9pm, Skipper joined me on the bridge just as the squalls started, the sea gathered force and the wind began. As the sea grew to a unrelenting three to four-metre swell, the waves pounded the boat as it lurched from side-to-side, complete with arse slides and corkscrew flicks.

We were sailing with two reefs in the main and a fully-reefed genoa, in a solid 25 to 35 knots of wind, gusting more at times. This had the boat careering off like a thoroughbred horse at Aintree and our average speed overnight was a fast 9kts.

Skipper kindly took over the rest of my shift, but if I thought it was better below deck, I was very wrong. As waves pummelled and battered the hull, the noise was deafening – even wearing earplugs. I wedged myself in bed to avoid being thrown around, but sleep was impossible. I was, perhaps, a tiny bit nervous, but had t otal faith in Skipper’s helming and the boat’s stability to carry us safely onwards.

At least I was warm and cosy, unlike Skipper, who I chatted to on the VHF radio throughout the night; he was in full wet-weather gear, with sweatshirt and jacket on, and was very wet and cold.

Up on the dawn shift, we compared notes as the odd meteor raced across the sky. Skipper declared the night was brutal and quite the way to enter the endurance phase of the journey.

As the sun rose, the wind and sea state calmed down a little, but it remains very choppy and rolly on board. Oh and we have this weather, thankfully with less squalls, until we reach Fiji.

And finally… Hope the sofa sailors aren’t feeling too seasick after reading this! Thank you for all the lovely comments and likes to the last few blogs. The land crew are keeping us totally updated and we’re loving the feedback 

Total miles sailed in 24 hours: 140 mile s
Total miles to SavuSavu, Fiji: 780
Date: Thursday 12 August
*****

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