07 September 2014

Departing Savai'i

We had a few fits and starts departing Savai'i.

The wind in the bay where we were anchored kicked up to 20 knots and a
bit more about the time we wanted to leave. Fortunately we'd already
contacted Ian the fishing boat guy at the Va-i-moana resort on shore and
he led us out through the pass. It was a bit easier going out than
coming in, but there was still a significant "washing machine" swell and
a strong cross wind that was making holding a course difficult. The
reef edges were easy to see, however, and the channel appeared wider
coming out than going in. Ian pointed out (as we left the channel) that
our swim ladder was down, due to me having taken a swim this morning so
we hauled it up and continued sailing.

Strong NE winds on the north of Savai'i soon turned E and then a bit SE
so we were able to get some sail out. Once we did, of course, the wind
died off completely and the washing machine swell reappeared, as we
rounded the western tip of Samoa. So we had no option other than to
motor for a few more hours, in fairly uncomfortable conditions.

By 4pm (local time) today the swell had calmed down, and after an hour
or so of coming from every which direction the wind finally settled in
to a 10 or so knot SE wind, at about 120 degrees on our port side (wind
direction measured in degrees port or starboard from dead ahead).
That's a pretty good sailing angle for us so we're now making about 4
knots on the course we want. Not great speed but speed in the right
direction at least, and without having to use the engine.

Forecast for the next 24 to 48 hours is for much of the same so it
should be a slow-ish but comfortable passage to Vanuatu. If the wind
holds OK tomorrow we should be able to fly the spinnaker for a while to
get a bit more way on.

I've logged in with one of the HF radio nets -- Rag of the Air,
broadcast from Fiji, so there are a few other folks who know where we
are and will be keeping tabs. The sked is at 8am our time so I can eat
a bit of breakfast while listening to the radio.

Next stop Port Vila.