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Showing posts from August, 2014

Middle of Nowhere

Author: Mark
Date: August 23, 10:00pm MST
Location: 19 59.346 S - 167 46.000 W
Conditions: Anchored

It's six o'clock somewhere! Actually it's six o'clock here, in the middle of nowhere, anchored behind a submerged reef, with a beer in had as I type this. We sailed 868 nautical miles in just over six days. Not fast, but given the conditions, not terrible. A lot of boats averaged 3-4 kts a day with less wind, so we did pretty good considering the weather window.

There is only one other boat here, a buddy 'kid' boat called Moxie. It's almost surreal to be anchored here in the middle of the ocean, with calm conditions, turquoise blue water, no land in sight - and a 3m swell outside. This will probably be the most remote, unique anchorage we'll ever go to during our travels. It's amazing. Especially after being at sea for almost a week, to drop the hook, and still feel like we are in the wide open ocean, but...anchored.

OK, more later. We wanted…

Frontal System Arrived

Author: Mark
Date: August 22, 9.00pm MST
Location: 20 11.893 S - 165 18.436 W
Conditions: 18-22kts SW, 6.3kts SOG, confused seas, All is well

We are still in route to Beveridge Reef. We expect to be there tomorrow. All is going well aboard Field Trip. It will have been over 800NM crossing the 'Dangerous Middle' - with no major issues. We are currently getting a little clobbered with wind, but that was expected. We wanted to arrive early today, but the winds were lighter than anticipated so we were sailing slower. Now the wind has certainly picked up, with the sea state being real messy.

The biggest issue we had was today. We had to hove to for about six hours. Our Jefa autopilot motor gave us more problems. ARG. The Furuno has been rock solid, but the Jefa unit not so much. For the second time on a long passage the four mounting bolts somehow backed themselves out, the motor spun around shearing off the clutch wires. There is definitely something amiss with the fou…

Sailing to Beveridge Reef

Author: Mark
Date: August 19, 9.30pm MST
Location: 17 57.033 S - 159 22.310 W
Conditions: 18-22kts SSE, 9.3kts SOG, All is well

This is a quick update on Field Trip. We left our favorite spot in the Society Islands - Maupihaa - about 2.5 days ago. More on this little piece of paradise later. For now, we want to let everyone know all is well aboard and we are sailing during this weather window to Beveridge Reef near Niue. We decided to skip the Cook Islands all together due to the weather and head west 800NM. So far so good. We have been flying the past 24 hours averaging 9+ kts with good wind. The seas have been lumpy, but everyone is doing well aboard. We'll keep you posted on progress and details in the next day or two. We expect to arrive to the reef late Friday or early Saturday.

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Birthday Sail

Author: Mark
Date: August 12, 2am MST
Location: 16 46.659 S - 153 57.157 W
Conditions: 10-12kts ESE, Calm Anchorage

Sarah was very happy that her Birthday Sail was all that I had promised (huge grin). It was a great sail, light winds, calm seas and a full moon! We arrived safely to Maupihaa from Maupita, and were welcomed by six fellow kid boats. Wow! We were surprised to see so many friends in the same place getting ready to head west. It's great to be with a virtual floating community of like minded individuals.

We also caught up with our friends on Outsider, who we last saw in Panama. They've consistently been just ahead of us in our travels. It was great catching up today in this beautiful spot and get the scoop on diving, fishing and the local village (small, only three families live here).

Our plans are to stay here until the weekend as we wait for a good weather window to sail to Palmerston. The window is closed right now for us as we wait for the large swell th…

Bon Voyage French Polynesia!

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It’s time!Our visa for French Polynesia (90 days) expired; we’ve checked out of the country and are currently in Mauptiti – about 30NM west of Bora Bora.It’s bittersweet.We’re excited to see new islands, people and places, but not thrilled about leaving such a beautiful, friendly place – and sailing to the ‘Dangerous Middle’.
The Dangerous Middle is the stretch of ocean roughly between the Cook Islands and Tonga.It is here that strong weather systems from the south can move north, bringing heavy wind, rain and waves.Boats that have left before us have been bashed and battered with 50kts of wind, torn mainsails and one dismasting last week.This sounds more like the roaring 40’s than the tropical pacific.No doubt, it’s been a weird season with weather, as we are on the edge of an El Nino.This is even more reason for us to be cautious as we sail west.

The good news is we’re not going to leave until it’s calm.We’d rather sail slow in 10kts than fast in 30kts+.The key decision we have is …

Field Day - Polynesian Style!

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In my former life, I was an elementary school teacher.  (Technically, I guess I still am, just with fewer students!)  I remember the anticipation and excitement that could only accompany Field Day.  Kids were sent to school lathered with sunscreen and laden with hats, water bottles, and sneakers.  'Mrs. Silverstein' would be carrying her handy clipboard to monitor game rotation and the day’s agenda, toting a first aid backpack for skinned knees and bee stings.  Volunteer parents stood valiantly at their posts, whistles around their necks and stopwatches in their hands, to referee games like tug of war, water balloon toss, long jump, and three-legged race. Orange cones and hoola hoops transformed the playground into a battleground.


The students entered each event with the determination and fervor of Olympic athletes, ready to pummel the competition and claim the gold.It was a day of victory and defeat, pride and devastation, accomplishment and disappointment.Field Day wasn’t …

Volvo vs. MaxProp

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I’ve waited over a year before posting this blog.I wanted to be certain of my conclusions and test, verify and test again.Which props are the best -- the 3-blade Volvo or the 4-blade MaxProps??

Before I provide the answer, here is some background on the testing I’ve performed.
I have both props aboard Field Trip.I used the Volvo props for about a year, the MaxProps for about a year and I had one MaxProp and one Volvo on each shaft for six months.I know this is overkill, but I wanted to make sure I had a very good feel for the best answer to this question – and using them in different situations has given me a definitive answer for our sailing needs.
Our answer - we elected to stay with the Volvo props.  Below are several charts outlining the data we’ve gathered.  I’ve provided an explanation of each chart with more information behind the data.

The speed tests are not subjective.  We had a Volvo prop on the starboard shaft and a MaxProp on the port shaft.  The conditions were nearly i…