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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pacific crossing (Peter)

Our Pacific crossing adventure began with a bus ride with our “Puddle Jump” friends to the airport to clear out of Mexico.

westbound immigration visit at airport

Then it was off to sea!

We were lucky with wind and sailed right out to the NE Trades, and had a quick and bumpy two week ride west.

surfing with staysl

Most of this segment of the passage was spent under reefed (usually double reefed) main and jib on a broad reach. We had more wind than we could use one night, and ran under storm stays’l alone. It was exhilarating sailing, but wet and tiring.

cooking in a seaway

Cooking was difficult.

We were relieved to reach the first squalls of the doldrums, and turn south into dark, ominous looking cloud cover. We were again lucky with wind, and sailed right on south. We encountered several squalls of about 30 kts, and shifty winds, but nothing severe. We knew we were out of the zone when the skies cleared and a nice steady SE breeze sprang up.

Next goal: the equator and party time!

The equator party

pineapple rum punch

After the appropriate salute to Neptune, we changed from polliwogs to shellbacks. Ginger was just as pretty after her transformation.

radio time

As communications officer onboard Marcy, Ginger took her duties seriously. She handled the daily net, reporting position and weather info clearly and accurately. After relaying for weaker stations, she became a favorite of the net control operators. It was exciting and comforting to hear the other boats on passage, as well as the land stations concerned with our welfare.

bailing the bilge

The muffler hole

wind vane repair day

The strain of weeks at sea was beginning to show. A muffler repair, line chafe, rudderpost bearings, and a mysterious leak were all demanding attention at once. Our alternator failed, limiting radio time and requiring conservation measures for us.

The conditions were benign: sun, easy light breeze, small waves. Time to start fishing!

That's a big fish!

OK, time to stop fishing. Time for sushi, sashimi, baked wahoo, sauteed fish roe, steamed wahoo.

Ginger and spinnaker at sunset

Marcy now encountered two days of calm, barely making steerage way. A cyclonic disturbance south of us had sucked all the wind out of the area. We had to use the autopilot, unfortunately for power conservation, because there wasn’t enough wind for the wind vane. We watched our daily mileage dwindle from 180’s to 120’s, and there was a current that accounted for a lot of that. We found that the sail of choice in these conditions was spinnaker alone, as the main and jib wouldn’t fill, slamming and slatting in the swell incessantly. Here you can see the chute struggling to stay filled, the boat has rolled the wind out of the sail and will roll back in a second. The chute will fill with a bang and the cycle will start all over again.

waves and spinnaker

Thankfully the SE trades restarted with gusto, and we flew on to our destination.

Life on watch

hot days on watch

Land appeared, in the afternoon, and after an easy approach and radar-guided entry to Taiohae Bay, we dropped the hook at midnight! It seems that after most of our longer passages, we arrive in the dark.

Land ho! Ua Huka

ready the anchor 1

Ginger uncovers the windlass and readies the ground tackle.

We awoke the next day to the sound of doves, the heady smell of frangipani, and the sight of the glorious green of the Marquesas. Our passage had been a quick 19 days and 19 hours to cover 2963 nautical miles, and with only 9 hours on the motor.

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