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Showing posts from June, 2016

Down by the River

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Author: Sarah
Date: June 30, 11:45am Vanuatu Time
Location: Aneityum
Conditions: Partly cloudy, 22C, 10-12ks SE

It was a new place for us, yet in many ways felt very familiar as we walked along the village footpaths on the Saturday morning after we arrived in Aneityum, Vanuatu. After months in first world New Zealand, we were suddenly plopped down in the remote Pacific Islands again. Time seemed to sludge to a halt. The tropical air was heavy with mist, alighting the skies with spontaneous rainbows more vivid than any we'd seen, and more complete in their arc from the sea and all the way back to the sea. From the shore wafted the smell of cooking fires, a sure sign that we were back in the islands.

Our first day ashore led to many friendly greetings, one of which would lead also to a quick friendship and many unforgettable experiences. We met Christopher and his family as he was tending his cassava crop just off the village footpath. After introductions, we found out t…

First Impressions

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Author: Mark
Date: June 20, 9am NZT
Location: 20 14.28 S - 169 46.68 E -- Aneityum, Vanuatu
Conditions: 10-20kts from the west, mostly cloudy skies with squalls

We arrived to Vanuatu Friday around noon. Needless to say we were happy to be out of the squashy seas and in a calm anchorage. The first impression of Vanuatu could only be good given the contrast of sloppy seas to a calm anchorage. Like most new islands we visit, we are eager to find ways to connect with the locals. We find that our experiences are much richer when we spend time walking the villages, talking to people and making new friends. It takes a lot of energy to put yourself into extrovert mode in foreign cultures, but the rewards can be amazing.

Looking back to our earlier sailing days (Caribbean, Brazil, Columbia), we were much more focused on meeting other like minded sailors than really connecting with the locals. That was a nice comfort zone. Sail in packs to an anchorage, fly your club burgee, get a happy…

Two for One

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Author: Mark
Date: June 16, 2pm NZT
Location: 22 44 S - 170 50 E
Conditions: 18-21kts @ 165 TWA, 340T COG, 7.5 kts AVG SOG, 3-4 m swell

We've had a great two days. Sailing has been excellent and the kids have been doing a lot of reading. The seas while still large have settled in their direction, making the ride MUCH more comfortable. Today has been the best day yet, with nice following seas, running at 165TWA, with genoa only. Once the wind drops a little more, I'll pop up the spinnaker or full code zero and let her rip. I just want to let the squally patches clear as I don't want to be snuffing the spinnaker in 30 knot gusts. If that were to happen it may be more like putting the pieces of the spinnaker back in the bag vs. snuffing...:-)

Everyone onboard is doing great. Sarah has been a little more tired than usual. She has had a harder time getting sleep with the strong roll we had during the trip. She is asleep now, so all is good with the commodore and crew.…

Two for One

Author: Mark
Date: June 16, 2pm NZT
Location: 22 44 S - 170 50 E
Conditions: 18-21kts @ 165 TWA, 340T COG, 7.5 kts AVG SOG, 3-4 m swell

We've had a great two days. Sailing has been excellent. The seas while still large have settled in their direction, making the ride MUCH more comfortable. Today has been the best day yet, with nice following seas, running at 165TWA, with genoa only. Once the wind drops a little more, I'll pop up the spinnaker or full code zero and let her rip. I just want to let the squally patches clear as I don't want to be snuffing the spinnaker in 30 knot gusts. If that were to happen it may be more like putting the pieces of the spinnaker back in the bag vs. snuffing...:-)

Everyone onboard is doing great. Sarah has been a little more tired than usual. She has had a harder time getting sleep with the strong roll we had during the trip. She is asleep now, so all is good with the commodore and crew. :) We plan on arriving to Vanuatu tomorrow. …

The Day After

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Author: Mark
Date: June 14, 11pm NZT
Location: 26 24 S - 172 03 E
Conditions: 18-21kts @ 145 TWA, 330T COG, 6 kts AVG SOG, 3-4 m swell

We unfortunately don't have any more news on the search for the MOB on s/v Platina, the boat that was knocked down yesterday at sea. The NZ rescue service had Orion planes searching for two days now, and the person has not been found. These weather systems can bring sudden surges of wind at times, and this is apparently what happened. We heard from our friends on s/v Rehua, that the winds were 75km/hr across the deck on Platina. That is serious wind. Knowing the wind was only 45nm from our position, a very sobering thought.

For Field Trip, we sail extremely conservatively in these type of conditions. When this knockdown occurred to Platina, we only had a Genoa flying, with 3 reefs. If we had that same wind hit our boat, it may have ripped the genoa, but there would have been no harm done to our vessel or crew. It can be frustrating to sail …

Tragedy at Sea

Author: Mark
Date: June 13, 11pm NZT
Location: 28 37 S - 173 32 E
Conditions: 23-25kts @ 150 TWA, 350T COG, 6.5 kts AVG SOG, 3-4 m swell

We had a very sobering day at sea today. We received a call for help from the NZ Rescue Orion airplane. A vessel was apparently knocked down (we don't know for sure), with 5 person on board (POB). 3 POB were injured, one is presumed dead, and the other was thrown overboard. At the time we were the closest vessel to the accident, about 45NM to the west. However, due to the time of day (2.30pm) we could not arrive to the location prior to sunset. We were told to hold our position and be on the lookout for a MOB in the water. Clearly not a good sign as we are just not close enough to help the vessel in distress. Another boat later this afternoon was able to get closer to help. They were apparently a motor vessel of some sort.

While we have not been the most comfortable during the passage today due to confused seas, we are safe, warm and fe…

We're Off to Vanuatu!

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Author: Mark
Date: June 12, noon NZT
Location: 32 35 S - 174 41 E
Conditions: 6-8kts @ 130 TWA, 10T COG, 6.7 kts AVG SOG, 2.0m swell

Finally! We grabbed a weather window and jumped off yesterday. It's not a perfect window. We will be running in 25kts+ of wind the last three days of passage. However, the wind will be from behind, at about 150 TWA with following seas, so we are expecting a fast, mostly comfortable ride. Lots of boats are still in NZ waiting for a better window. Follow our blog, and we'll keep you informed daily on our progress.

It was hard to leave New Zealand for probably the last time aboard Field Trip. We fell in love with the country and people over the past 18 months. If we were to settle away from our home in the US, NZ is top of our list.

Michael has been by far the most excited about the trip. He reminded me on Friday that we have been waiting 'five weeks' to leave, and he was ready to 'go'. Now, truth be told, it is less about …