Sept 30 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 15

1200 (2200Z)
position- N16deg36min/W150deg27min
day 14 run - 127 nm
avg speed - 5.3 kn
wind - NNE-NNW 6-8 kn
The evening sail was slow, and this morning at 0715 we put up our reacher/drifter. This is a very large light weight sail used in very light winds, and it pulls Infini along at 3.5-5 knots, depending on the gusts we get. We'll motor if we have to, but we're all agreed to sail into Hilo, even though it appears it may take us an extra day or so due to a high pressure weather system just north of Hawaii causing light winds in our vicinity for a while. We're doing 2 hour shifts each; 2 hours on, then 4 hours off, just enough to get some good sleep.

Sept 29 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 14

1200 (2200Z)
position - N15deg18min/W148deg47min
day 13 run - 132 nm
avg speed - 5.5 kn
course 305T
wind 10 NNE 10 knots
We had a slow night in gradually diminishing winds. Max and I had a battle of wills this morning. He felt I should do the steering, and I kept reminding him that was what he was paid to do as a bonafide member of the crew. His reply was that he just wanted the company, and felt better about things when I was hovering nearby, adding course corrections and tweaking lines. He had a complete change of attitude when I tightened up a shackle pin that had about fallen out (it wasn't wire tied...since corrected) which secures the steering lines to the shoulder of the vane, and voila, Max felt much better about everything. Winds are forecast to be 10-15 over the next few days, but we've long ago learned to heed what we get, not necessarily what the gribs or forecast calls for, although it's nice to know nothing serious wx wise is brewing.

Sept 28 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 13

1200 noon position - N14deg00min/W147deg01min
day 12 run - 165 nm
avg speed - 6.9 kn (we be surfin, mon)
winds - NNE, avg 15 knots; we saw 22 in the gusts last night.
seas - 6' - 8'
We had a wonderful day's run in fairly constant wind conditions; 15-18 knots on the beam (the side of the boat amidships); Infini likes that sort of sailing; reflected in our highest daily run of this passage. Max has, so far, been doing a great job steering, but occasionally needs attention. We're about 550 nm away from Hilo. All's well aboard.

Sept 27 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 12

1200 (2200Z) position - N12deg24min/W144deg47min
day 11 run - 123 nm
average speed - 5.1 kn
course - 300T
wind - NE 14-18; gusts to 22 knots
seas - 6'
We sailed most of the night, dodging rain squalls, and saw one ship (our first!) about 6 nm away from us. At 0515 we motored due to lack of wind, but found a good breeze about 0700, and have been flying down our rhumb line since. We have our full main and yankee jib out, and are sailing Infini like a big dinghy; with the higher gusts we fall off, or release the main sheet, or both, and adjust the boom vang in or out; thus allowing us to maintain our relative course fairly close. It's takes concentration and work! Waves are about 6' on the beam, but aren't rolling us too badly except for the occasional rogue wave that doesn't know how it should behave. The two boats ahead of us will make port at least 1-2 days in advance of us, and we plan on renting car(s) to tour the Big Island together upon our arrival. The sun is trying to poke its way out; the stars (though very briefly) were a welcome sight last night. All's well aboard.

Sept 26 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 11

1200 position - N10deg59.7min/W143deg29.8min
Day 10 run - 117 nm
course - 300T
speed - 4.5-5 kn
wind - NE 10-12
seas - 6'
Last night was a mixed bag. The wind died completely and we motored 9 hours in a frustrating swell, slatting around listening to the injection pump surging, hoping the engine wouldn't quit, in constant drizzle. Are we having fun yet? Finally, the wind came up in the early morning hours, and we've had a nice NE wind at 10-15 knots, allowing us to point, more or less, towards Hilo. We're still not quite out of the ITCZ, which we expect to be later tonight so we can see stars and clouds more easily. So far, it's been 100% cloud cover, and we've used the radar to look for and follow rain squalls. Right now we've actually got a bit of bright haze showing, and the crew celebrated by taking salt water bucket showers (followed by a sunshower fresh water rinse) on deck. Max is doing a good job, and all's well aboard.

Sat Sept 25 - Day 10 Enroute to Hawaii

1200 (2200Z) position - N09deg25min/W142deg33min
day 9 run - 108 nm
course - 335T
wind - NNE 14 kn; we've seen 20 in some higher gusts
speed - 5.5 kn
We're still in the ITCZ. It's been 100% overcast and drizzling most of the night and early morning. We finally found a NNE breeze last night after motoring for 6 hours in 5-6 knots of wind and confused seas, and were able to shut the engine and return to sailing. At 0500 I found our port jib sheet frayed thru, with just its core sheeted onto the winch. Oh boy. The NE, NNE winds were supposed to come up stronger, and having the jib sheet completely break wouldn't be a good thing. First, we furled the jib; I then took the starboard (lazy) sheet around and led it thru the turning and cheek blocks to the winch. I then found another long piece of line to attach with a carrick bend to the old jib sheet where had I cut it. It will be our lazy sheet; not an ideal solution, but it should get us to Hawaii, and we were putting together an order for new standing rigging anyway. Otherwise, the current in this patch of ocean is probably one knot against us. We're making a slow turn towards Hilo, and hoping to get thru the ITCZ sometime tonight or tomorrow, when we'll experience clear skies once again. Approximately 956 miles to go to Hilo.

Sept. 24 - Day 9 Enroute to Hawaii

1200 position - N07deg45min/W142deg04min
Day 8 run - 132 nm
avg speed - 5.5 kn
wind yesterday during the day and evening - South @ 15 kn; about an hour ago it shifted to SW @ 12-15
There was 100% cloud cover last night with a light drizzle. Right now it's bright, but not sunny. There's a 100% high cloud cover but no rain. We just gybed over to port tack and our course is 345T. Earlier, I had to go up the forestay to change out a chafed bowline knot on the jib sheet, which occurred when the pole topping lift strop gave way, hitting the bowline. Yesterday I went about a third of the way up the inner forestay to retrieve the errant pole lift halyard. When said strop let go, the halyard proceeded to wrap itself around the headstay, jib, and inner forestay, as well as jammed the Profurl at the top swivel, so immediate attention was needed. We were thankful it was still daylight. Sue took some pictures and videos of the maneuvers; we'll try to post them on the blog when we get internet in Hawaii. About 1045 nm to go to Hilo.

Sept. 23 - Enroute to Hawaii Day 8

Position: N05deg37min/W142deg00min
Day 7 run: 121 nm
Avg speed: 5.0 kn
Wind: SE 15 kn
Seas: SE 6'
Our seven day stats: Total miles - 915 nm; avg nm/24 hrs - 131; avg speed - 5.5 kn

We did a 0300 in the morning gybe as the adverse current was quite noticeable and pushing us the wrong way. This morning we put up a double reefed main; opposite the jib - wing and wing as it were, and with the yankee poled to windward, we're rolling but doing a respectable 5+ knots as well as going in the right direction. It appears we have a slot in the ITCZ directly in front of us that has much less convective activity, so we're trying to go due North asap. We have a few good weather sources reporting daily; and with comparing notes with Sherry on Soggy Paws...we're doing the best we can. So far it's been smooth sailing! Max (the wind vane) is steering fine, a bit by the lee, but we're making tracks.
It was a special day to have a huge pod of dolphins visit and play around the boat.

Wed Sept 22 - Day 7 Enroute to Hawaii

Position: 03deg57minN/141deg22minW
Day 6 run: 113 nm
Avg speed: 4.7 kn
Winds went very light during the night, hence our speed dropped and overall 24 hour run as above. We gybed over to port tack earlier this morning to gain some westing, and will gybe back later this afternoon to achieve more north direction. Tomorrow some time we should be able to once again gybe back to port tack and hold it more or less to Hilo. We'll have to dodge whatever storm cells pop up, play the wind shifts and motor thru the calms. We carry plenty of diesel but hope to sail for the most part. Right now we're doing about 6+/- knots with just our yankee jib poled out and the steering vane is doing it's job, which is pretty decent considering we're steering just about dead down wind, a point of sail most vanes are notoriously cranky about. We've decided to name our steering vane Max. Sue says he's got one of the most important jobs aboard. Oh yeh, I forgot to mention that sometime during the night we broke the shear pin on Max's vane rudder. If the shear pin breaks, the rudder will swing up (kind of like a Hobie cat's rudder); we don't know what we hit, and didn't hear anything, but obviously something serious enough to shear a 10mm nylon bolt! I replaced it with a SS bolt, but will get the proper 10mm nylon one once we're in Oahu. Max is doing fine.

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Mon Sept 21 - Day 6 Enroute to Hawaii

Day 5 run - 145 nm
Avg speed - 6.0 kn
Wind SE 13-15; it's on our starboard quarter right now
We passed into the northern hemisphere at 1528 (3:28pm) yesterday. Matt became a Shellback, and we had a small party and ceremony commemorating the event. He also received a signed and sealed certificate as well as a wallet card designating him as a Shellback! Of course, we took lots of pictures, and Matt made a video as well. Last night was another beautiful night of sailing, and today is sunny and breezy. It looks like we may get decent enough wind (8-9 knots is the present prediction) to sail right thru the ITCZ; we'll see in the next couple of days. What a blessing that would be. There are four boats checking in or emailing one another during this passage. One of them is a large, luxury Oyster sailing yacht; it's been having no wind and lots of rain as it motors on thru the ITCZ; we're hoping to avoid most of that scenario, but it's just a bit too early in the game to predict.

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Monday, Sept. 20 Attitude

Current Position: 00-17.5S / 141-05W
My family knows how important I think the "A" word is. I've even got the Latts & Atts sticker aboard still, as well as other writings on how our thoughts create our reality. So how can the thought of hand steering 2000 miles change how I look at everyday things....even the clouds in the sky? I've always tried to be an optomist and see the glass as half full, not half empty. So far this trip, we've had the most beautiful weather a sailor can ask for. Also add a great third watch mate; 2 hours on and 4 off doesn't sound horrible for a 2+ week trip. I guess the old saying goes...'you don't miss it as much if you've never had it' applies. It comes down to choices again. I don't think I'd choose to sail on a boat without self steering capabilities. So when things 'break' or you can't get them working....changing my attitude is more work for me....and seeing as I'd rather not work (I'm retired, right?), it's not always easy to practice what I preach. But hey....THE VANE IS WORKING FINE life is good once more...
Attitude: The difference between an adventure and an ordeal. It's still high on my list!
We'll have a "passing the equator" party soon....Matt will graduate from a polywog to a shellback. And I can't believe we've only had our own ceremony 7 months time flies when the sea miles pass under the keel. S

Mon Sept. 20 - Day 5 Enroute to Hawaii

Position: 00.17S/141.05W
Day 4 run - 134 nm
Avg speed - 5.6 kn
Winds - 13 knots right now; 8-15 over the last 24 hrs.
Of note: The wind vane is working great. We're watching a couple of low pressure areas north of the ITCZ around 11N/144W; we'll be at the equator later today - Matt will become a Shellback. Yay---party time!
The picture was taken using a timer....

Sun. Sept. 19 - Day 4 Enroute to Hawaii

Position: S02deg28min/W140deg57min
Day 3 run: 122 nm.
Avg speed 5.1 knots
Wind E 10 knots; seas E 4'-6'
Winds have definitely moderated, as well as swung further aft of the beam. We've had a hell of a time trying to get the wind vane to steer the boat, to release us from what I call "the tyranny of steering." We're still tweaking it and using various sail combinations, but hey, it's only another 1583 nm to Hilo....All in all, the weather has been beautiful; there's a slight coolness to the breeze, but the sun's shining and we expect to cross the equator tomorrow. All's well aboard. Our 3 person watch schedule is working out fine, and we all seem to be getting plenty of rest. The fishing lure's out, but we still haven't caught fish #2!

We use the PacSea Net to check in daily...

...the Pacific Seafarers Net is on 14300HZ USB at 0300 UTC, and we check in daily with them while on passage. The Net takes info from any vessel underway in the Pacific; it's really interesting to tune in and listen to other folks out there. My HAM call sign is KJ4IHF, and we can receive traffic (calls to us) via this Net. This is a HAM net, and you've got to have a HAM license to talk on that frequency, but in an emergency they'll take any calls. Any HAMS out there? 73's, Mike

Sat. Sept. 18 - Day 3 Enroute to Hawaii

Position S04deg27min/W140deg39min. Day 2 run: 131 nm. Avg speed: 5.5 knots. We had a beautiful afternoon and evening of sailing in 12-15 knots of wind and pretty flat seas. Winds are forecast to lighten up a bit to 10-12 knots. Don't know whether the Yotreps position dot is working or not on our "Find Where We Are" portion of our blog as the NMEA input into SailMail isn't working properly. Always something. Otherwise, all's well aboard and not much else new to report.

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Sept 17 - Enroute to Hawaii, Day 2

12 noon position: lat S06deg34min; longW140deg18min. Had a wonderful Day 1; our run was 134 nm, I think that's really good for having to get used to being at sea again. As usual, the wind vane is temperamental, maybe because it felt ignored for so long! At any rate, we're all doing fine. The day's highlight: Matt caught a 5-6 lb black fin tuna; perfect for sashimi!

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Sept. 16th - Day 1 Enroute to Hilo, Hawaii

Position: S08deg40min; W140deg03min
We departed Anaho Bay at 1100 and are doing 5-6 knots in 15 knots of ENE wind.Matt and Sue tossed their lei's into the the tradition to hope for a safe return visit some day. Seas are OK, and we're getting used to the motion of being at sea again, as well as trying to dial in the self steering. Lots to do this first day.

Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva Sept. 11, 2010

We've motorsailed six hours around the eastern side to a lovely bay on the NE coast of Nuku Hiva. We were entertained by two different schools of dolphins, and great scenery. Our friends on Soggy Paws traveled the western side and joined us here. The cliffs, peaks and valleys are very picturesque...and we look forward to exploring and walking the trails and over the ridge to Hatiheu. For now it's small boat projects; swimming with the huge feeding manta rays that frequent this bay...and relaxing. Matthew has the BBC 'Wild Pacific' series on hard drive, so we've had a few movie nights with our friends.

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Sept. 6 - Checking out of French Polynesia....

A few days ago we hiked to the southeast ridge of Taiohoe Bay and had wonderful views of the bay and ocean. Yesterday we explored a seldom visited site and visited a local marae called Paepae. It's a large ceremonial area with tikis from around the various islands of French Polynesia. (See updated photo album). Aboard, last minute preparations are underway to do final shopping, a final laundry, get our internet fix, and check out with the Gendarmerie. And, of course, we had to have our last cheeseburger (the best in the Marquesas!) at Babazouks, a waterfront roulette not to be missed, and run by our dear friends Laurent and Laetitia! It's hard to believe we've been in French Polynesia for almost six months! Hawaii here we come! We'll miss having daily wifi, but for anyone emailing us, please use our SailMail address and, again, no forwards or attachments please. With no internet until Hawaii, we won't be able to upload anymore pictures for a while, but Sue updated our picture albums yesterday, so enjoy! Our 2000 nm track to Hawaii can also be followed on Yotreps (KJ4IHF - Infini; note: we hope we've got Yotreps set up for proper position reporting!). Our next blog entries will be when we're underway, so our best to everyone and hope to hear from you!

Comptroller Bay, Nuku Hiva, Aug. 30

S08deg.52.8 / W140deg.02.7
We motored (after trying to motorsail) the 12 miles to windward to get to Comptroller Bay, where we anchored in the middle 'finger'- Hakahaa Bay; the closest to the village of Taipivai. The weather was overcast and rainy, but the beauty of the valley was not lost. We walked the 'horseshoe loop around the valley from one side of the bay, across the river, to the other side where we visited Bernard, a local artist who carves bone and shell. His wife makes jewelry out of the local seeds. We chose not to do extensive hiking to find the area Herman Melville hid out back in the 1840's, as Matt is recuperating from a sore ankle and 'nono' bites from our last walk. It still amazes me that one or two people out of a big group will get targeted for the kisses of the insect world. He inherits Michael's sensitivities for that. We spent one night before returning to Taiohae to join our friends on Soggy Paws again, and to do the last of our provisioning and get the last internet fix before Hawaii.
The picture is of Matt in his favorite spot on Infini.

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