St Lucia to Australia in the World ARC, H. Pilsworth

12/02/2018

RIYC Overseas Member Hugh Pilsworth was recently awarded the “Trophy of Australia ” by the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC).
This was in recognition of his completed circumnavigation on Blue Flyer and his encouragement and willingness to introduce crew to offshore cruising.

This is the log from onboard his boat the Blueflyer, when he sailed from St Lucia in the Caribbean to Australia in the World ARC of 2008.

Although it is now a few years old, it may still be of interest for sailors planning a long trip.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Leaving Rodney Bay Marina for Colon,   Panama.
Course is from the start line to a turning point off the west coast and thence to Colon, Shelter Bay Marina.  A distance of around 1200 miles.
Very pleasant sailing, 4 on board,  Hugh & Val Pilsworth, Rob Kyle and John Riordan. There is an ongoing problem with the Raymarine, it keeps dropping out and we have found a fuse that resets the system, but it loses all the data!  Several boats in company with us.
 
2 Yankee jibs out, one poled and one free flying.  The same set-up as the Atlantic, but much more pleasant. Speed of up to 13.5 knots. The Autohelm is fantastic and takes all the strain out of the steering.
Course is 263 true for the next few days.
 
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Course 266 true, twin jibs and all well.  Still several boats with us. 
 Speed up around 8 to 9 knots, 185 covered today. Sea is 2-3 metres swell with steady N.E. wind around force 4 to 5 and steady.  Reefing down at night for comfort and safety.
 
Friday, January 25,2008
Course between 271 and 250 true.  We are aiming for a new point off Venezuala so as to avoid any nasty weather, the joy of having a weather-router. Put on the 2nd jib pole today and steadied up the sail and the ship.
Small flying fish on board.  We are all on 3 hour solo watches at night, with instructions to call for help if needed.  Many birds around us today.
 
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Course 270 true and all is well. We are used to diving below to reset the Raymarine when it drops out. Hopefully it will be fixed in Panama.
Fishing began today.
Also today on the radio net we heard that there are 3 WARC boats ahead trying to rescue some fishermen from a broken down open boat. We will join in later on. There are now 6 WARC boats with us searching for 2 of the fishermen. They jumped into the sea when their boat caught fire. After 6 hours tracking in a row, we were stood down by the Dutch co-ordinating naval frigate, and resumed course.
 
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Course 245 true,  wind N.E. force 4 and steady. Glorious sailing weather. Early in the morning a merchantman passed us and flashed his lights. Still some yachts with us.
JR on the tin whistle when the wind went light! It must have worked as the wind rose steadily up to a force 5 and fantastic sailing.  VHF not working. There was a chat with “Harmonie” on SSB radio for a while.  Coming into more shipping as we approach Panama.
 
Monday, January 28, 2008
Course 245 true,  wind N.E. force 5 to 6.  Sea getting a bit sloppy and slowing us down.
Flying fish on deck, but nothing on the line.  We seem to average about 170 to 180 miles a day without trying under just the 2 jibs. This is a really good downwind set up as there is no Mainsail up to gybe and the rolling is self limiting, unfortunately not eliminated.
 
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Course 230 true,  wind N.E.,  force 4 and steady.  Put out full jibs as sea state is improving all day. Some 10 or 12 flying fish on deck.  Around noon we put up the Main and went onto a broad reach.
Panama coast in view and another yacht off to port.
 
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Course variable,  wind N.E.,  force 2 to 4.  All conditions being confused by the proximity of land. 
2 ships passed to port & starboard of us, and Rob had to set off a white flare to warn off a cruise liner aiming for our transom. There was no reply on VHF or to flashing his bridge. Even after the flare we had to call him up on the VHF. A very irate Scottish officer replied and altered course away from us. The flares are taped onto the 2 back stays.
At 0950 we tied up in Shelter Bay Marina having sailed almost into the Marina.  A small but lovely Marina with superb facilities ashore.
During the stay here we collected 1st prize for our class on this leg. Panama is hot and sticky, but we are anticipating the Canal soon.
 
Friday, February 1, 2008
We left the Marina at 1630 to collect  the  pilot that all transiting boats require. We had a long wait on anchor, not unusual, and he turned up on the pilot boat at 1930 in the dark. On with the engine and lights and we set off up the shipping channel for the Canal entrance. 
The pilot who is called an advisor as we are less than 70 feet length, took us up along the starboard bank of the channel. The channel is well lit but you definitely need a guide. The first  lock is lit up like a Christmas tree as you approach it and is quite dazzling at night. We joined up with a French catamaran and a wooden boat from Tallin. We  had moored alongside him in Rodney Bay. All 3 of us entered the huge lock, its 1000 feet long, and then tied to each other and the 2 outer boats took the ropes thrown by the handlers on the quay side some 40 feet above us.
Once there were 4 sets of boats in the lock, the gates were closed and the flooding started. It was quite amazing to be there, watching a ship in the next door dock going down as we went up. The turbulence was not excessive (we were later informed that the flow rate had been halved for all the yachts). We all rose 30 feet vertically, taking in the slack as we did so. Rob was on the bow line and Neils, a loan from another boat, was on the stern. We had to keep all 3 boats from hitting the port wall and  Martha, the Tallin boat, had the same task to keep us off the starboard wall. All went well. It was the same for the other locks and eventually we were some 90 feet above sea level, the highest BlueFlyer has ever been!
By this time it was about 0100 and we motored into Gatun Lake to tie up alongside another WARC boat for a few hours sleep. Our advisor was taken off.
 
Saturday, February 2, 2008
There was a real tropical rainstorm as we were securing for the night. Everyone got soaked.
At 0650 Oswald, our next advisor, turned up and off we went again. 7 knots under engine through Gatun Lake and down the short cut called The Banana Channel, huge dense forest on both sides with crocodiles dozing in the heat, no swimming allowed.
Next along the trip was the Gaillard Cut, what a sight, and as with all the Canal, it is being widened, mainly by blasting. We had a delay whilst a new section was blasted. On the trip through the Cut we met several ships going the other way, not worrying about any speed limits, and were overtaken by ships as well. Plenty of room. The Pedro Miguel lock was the 1st down one. Going down is a little more difficult as the ropes, which are 1” diameter and rented, have to be let out as we drop, but not too much or Martha might hit the wall. So we went through both locks and then out into the estuary. At 1325 we passed under The Bridge of the Americas and were now in the Pacific Ocean! Oswald left us here and we went around the headland and into Flamenco Bay Marina, lovely name but not a great marina. We would remain here until the departure on the 10th.
 
Sunday, February 10, 2008
1215 and out at the start line for the leg south to La Libertad in Ecuador. 1st of all though as we were leaving the dock the generator sucked in a huge plastic sheet and blew the impellor. That was fixed before we left. Hoisted the Main and Jib on the way to the line and started 15 minutes late.
Course was 190 true with a N. To N.W. wind, force 3 to 4 and steady as we headed down the Colombian coast, keeping 50 to 100 miles offshore for security. Sea is flat and easy to motor sail as we had furled the genoa.
Unfortunately it proved impossible to have the Raymarine equipment seen to, so we will struggle on. Next agent is in Cairns, Australia!
 
Monday, February 11, 2008
Course 190 true, slack variable winds, motor sailing at 7 knots. 3 ships passed during the day, but no other yachts visible.  Topped off the fuel tank from the on deck Jerry Cans.  205 miles with the engine helping.
 
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
0930 and all well.  Course of 185 true,  variable slack winds and still motor sailing.  Dolphin pod beside us for a while.  Very hot. Seas still calm to slight and wind gradually turning westerly and building to a 3.  On the nose of course.
 
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Course still 185 true,  wind quiet again at around force 2,  going westerly to south westerly. 
On Val’s watch in the very early morning a blue flashing light was seen. All crew up on deck and by the time we were all up the light had changed to 2, and they were circling us at about ½ mile range. Nothing was heard on the radio so we flew the Irish flag. The lights then left us, heading North. It turned out to be a Colombian patrol vessel which boarded and thoroughly searched another WARC yacht later.
We furled the genoa as the wind was on the nose and continued with our motor sailing. This is The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone after all (I prefer The Doldrums as a name).
 
At 1315 we stopped the boat. Great celebrations and swimming at the Equator.  Crossed it 3 times as we were swimming. Position of 00.00.00 north or south and 080 51.0 west. Celebration with Champagne and an “Upside-down cake” from Val. Spent 90 minutes later avoiding large floating fishing nets. Spoke to Kasuje on radio.
 
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Course still 280 true, slack S.E. winds, under Main and engine.   Many fishing boats around.  Certain important birthday today. Young feathered passenger sitting on the Genneker bag at the bow.
0930 arrived into La Libertad. What a filthy dirty oily port.  Small marina with constant surge. We tied up as required outside, Mediterranean style. As soon as the white warps touched the water they were destroyed by the floating oil. We later took a berth in the marina for security as the warps were being snatched constantly. Good on shore facilities. Customs, etc arrived in black patent shoes and spotless white uniforms!
 
Sunday, February 24, 2008
1330 Leaving port having had the scores on the transom repaired. These were from the marina frames after the boat was moved in our absence. Filled all the fuel we could and topped off the water. All done by cans in the heat and humidity. New crew on board- Daire O’Connell from Wicklow and Marcel Schwager  from Davos in Switzerland, with his surfboard!
At 1600 course 282 true, flat calm wind and flat seas.  Engine and Main only.  Motor sailing well with the slight breeze helping.  Saving diesel all the time. Spotted a Pilot Whale just before dark.
 
Monday, February 25, 2008
Course still 280 true,  wind West to S.  West around force 1. Current of about 3 knots WSW, definitely not helping at all! Made water and cleaned the intakes.  Passed Ideal and Northern Sky. Removed Flying Fish from the deck.  Motor-sailing all the time as the Doldrums are in good form!
 
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Course 280 true,  wind S to SW, force 2 at times, otherwise less than 1. Current is still westerly around 2.5 knots, still pushing us backwards. Approx. 400 miles to reach The Galapagos Islands and the fuel state is looking good.
1700 hours and a large pod of Whales ahead and around us.  Slowed down and changed course to avoid and photograph them.
 
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Course 280 true, wind westerly, force 1 to 0, current easterly around 2 knots and all is well. Refilled fuel tank and was passed by Jus Do It. Sea is flat calm.  Another bird aboard,  in the cockpit this time.
Around 1800 heavy rain.  2 ships and 2 yachts around. Current is finally helping us, obviously it had not seen the Pacific Planner chart up to now.
 
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Course 280 true, wind 0, and current SE around 1.5 knots.  All well and still motor-sailing toward San Cristobal.
1500 and land is sighted, just where it is supposed to be!
 
Friday, February 29, 2008
Course now 298 true,  wind force 2-4 NE. Heading for Santa Cruz and Academy Bay. 0230 stopped engine and drifted until dawn hiding behind an island, then got going again. 0800 anchored fore & aft in Academy Bay, as close inshore as possible.
100 engine hours this leg.  Motoring the whole way!
 
Sunday, March 9, 2008
1200 and across the start line on time.  Heading to Marquesa Islands, some 3200 miles away. 
New crew on board - Paul Ebrill from Waterford and Shinawa Terasawa from Japan. 
Main and Genoa up sailing nicely in a force 3 Easterly breeze, but the forecast is for very light winds.
 
Monday, March 10, 2008
Course settled on 239 true, wind SE, force 4. Boat is creaming along at around 7+ knots. All is well. Listening to New Years Day concert on CD. Sea is a bit lumpy but good wind.
 
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Course 239 true,  wind SE force 2.  Thunder away to NE, with lightning. Not near us. Charging batteries for a few hours with the generator and topping off the water supply as well. All OK on board.
At 1200 the head of the Genneker fell down and into the water. The halyard had not been secured properly and so Shin went up the mast and rescued it, with some bangs and bruises. 
Later we found the leach line pocket was tearing on the Genoa so it came down and was hand stitched up.  Surrounded by Dolphins in the late afternoon.
1730 we put away the Genneker and hoisted the Genoa. Motor-sailing again.
 
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Course 237 true,  wind East to SE, force 1 to 2.  Motor sailing under Main and engine.  Flat sea. Phone call in from Australia made a welcome break. It is very hot out here and a lot of suncream is being used.
1800 we refilled the fuel tank, engine being very economic, around 3 litres per hour. No fish yet, but several lures gone.
 
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Course 241 true, wind SE and small. 1030 heavy rain
1430 turned off the engine and sailed under Main and Genoa toward Hiva Oa our destination on this leg.  Wind rising to force 4, all on board hope that this is the Trade Wind at last.
1800 found Spanish Lasagne sheets covered in bugs so they all went over the side.
 
Friday, March 14, 2008
Course 256 true,  wind SE force 4 to 5. It must be Trade Wind sailing at last.   Very pleasant and on course.
0300 reefed main and put a couple of rolls in the Genoa. For comfort only. Flying Fish landed in the footwell with great flapping and noise. Threw it back again, but they do leave a strong smell behind.
 
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Course 260 true,  wind SE force 4. Sea not so flat and at 0930 Paul’s berth was soaked by a wave in through an open port.  Another fishing lure bitten off. Having worked on a  St.Patrick’s Day quiz, we sent it out to the fleet by email.  Answers on St.Patrick’s Day. All questions are on an Irish theme.
Have emptied both forward water tanks, ½ ton out of the bow is always welcome.  Topped up generator tank.
 
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Course 263 true,  wind SE 4 to 5. Put reef in Genoa for comfort.  Large moon giving lots of light.  Sea getting rolly, put reef in Main also. Still no fish, but 3 more lures gone. Score of 6 to nil in favour of the fish!
 
Monday, March 17, 2008
Course 256 true, wind ESE force 3 rising to 5 later. 
St Patricks Day in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, who would ever have thought it would happen? Ran generator to charge batteries,  no fish, but going well at 7.6 knots in the right direction.  Changed over the gas bottle.
Crew decorated with shamrocks and the log book treated similarily.
 
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Course 258 true,  wind SE force 4 and steady sailing conditions.  Ran generator to charge batteries. These have been disappointing all the way since leaving Las Palmas and will have to be replaced at some stage. Not too soon I hope as all things are expensive in the Pacific.
0830 went into stern locker and checked over the steering, all OK. At 1800 we had 45 miles to the ½ way point, only 1550 miles to go.
 
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Course 258 true and wind ESE force 4. 0000 rolled in more Genoa. Shin could not wake anyone to stand their watch, so stayed up till 0630, not good. However we have less to go than to return now.
There are English lessons each day for Shin and Scrabble as well.
Big full moon tonight.
 
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Course 246 true, wind ESE force 4. Course is a little to South for my liking but acceptable all the same. Speed is good at 7.5 knots and all is well on board. At 1130 changed course to 270 true and running downwind with Main out to Starboard and the Genoa polled out to Port, a more comfortable arrangement.
 
Friday, March 21, 2008
Course 268 true,  wind E to SE force 3.  Under 1000 miles to go. Wind is too light and the progress is slow with flapping sails, no pole out. At 1200 polled out the Genoa and the wind picked up to a force 4 and off we went again after a slow night.
 
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Course 268 true, wind E to SE and force 3. Not enough wind to drive us downwind, progress is slow again. Picked up in the afternoon to 4 and we moved along again.
 
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Course 275 true, wind ESE force 4. Good speed at 7.5 knots on Easter Sunday. How is it in Ireland?
Changed watch time again. We do this to keep in time with the sun. Also it means that we don’t have a big time jump on our arrival at our destination.
Wind rising to a 5 so put a reef in the Main at around midnight.
 
Monday, March 24, 2008
Course 274, wind ESE to E force 4 and steady. Its amazing to see the Trade Wind clouds all the time, and a great comfort too.  Nothing too nasty in them,  and good sailing conditions.  Filled the aft water tank to be safe.  602 miles to run at 1200 hours.  All is well on board.
 
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Course 269 true, wind ESE force 4 to 5 and bowling us along nicely. 500 miles to go. Shin caught a Dorado, but then lost it from the cockpit, he was upset!
Put a night time reef in the Main and 2 rolls in the Genoa.
 
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Course 269 true,  wind E to SE force 4.  Full Main and Genoa.  Changed another gas bottle.  No moon tonight and spent a quiet day just sailing along, all alone on the big ocean.
 
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Course 270 true,  wind E force 3 to 4. Quiet day until 2100 when land was spotted at 20 degrees on the Starboard bow, what great joy! Not only had we found land, but we hadn’t hit it!
 
Friday, March 28, 2008
Course 271 true,  wind E force 3. Main gybed to port and the inflatable was blown up. At 0200 put away the sails, too much flapping around.
0600 Hiva  Oa 1 mile to Starboard and approaching Atuona Bay.
0700 at anchor.
Went ashore to check in with  Customs, etc, but the Police station was shut!  Left that to another day. Found that it is cheaper to rent a car than use a taxi!
 
Monday, March 31, 2008
We left the anchorage at 1430 and travelled the 8 miles to Fantanu Bay for the night on anchor. Spent 2 nights here with a BBQ on the beach the 2nd night.
 
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
We motored in company with Tallulah Ruby, another Jeanneau 49, to Ivaivaiti Bay for lunch. Then on to Nuka Hiva at Baie Vaitahu. We anchored for lunch and went ashore to look around. As there was no cafe we returned to the boat and ate on board. Hugh helped a village fisherman repair his Cummins diesel.
At 1715 we upped anchor and with full Main, Genoa and engine set off for  Taoihae Bay on Nuka Hiva.
Sailing along at around 7.5 knots all night with other boat lights visible., and at dawn Nuka Hiva was in sight. We arrived at the anchorage with lots of dolphins at 1600 on the 7th after a wonderful sail.
 
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
At 1800 we departed Nuka Hiva and Taohai Bay with 3 or 4 Manta Rays alongside as we left the headland under engine.
0000 course 220 true and wind SE force 4. We have decided to visit The Tuomoyu Archipeligo instead of going straight to Tahiti. These are also known as The Dangerous Islands due to their tricky reef passes and the fact that the highest part is the nearest Palm tree! 
So our course is for Rangiroa.
 
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Course 230 true,  wind Easterly force 3 to 4 and a favourable 1 knot current. Some rain showers and travelling under Main and engine giving about 6.5 knots through the water.
 
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Course 230 true, wind Easterly force 2 to 3 with an east going current of 2 to 3 knots, not so good. Spent much of the under engine only, then put out the Main for stability and got the watermaker running again so showers all round. Turned off the engine at 1000,  peace again. 
Chentelle, a Beneteau 41.7 was with us. 1800 a very heavy rainstorm hit us, and then at 1930, dinner time, Shin caught a large Wahoo. We stopped to land the fish and for Shin to prepare it. Sushi and Sashimi all round.
 
Friday, April 11, 2008
Course 230,  wind Easterly force 4.  Sailing with full main & genoa.  Weather warning of a  squall line to the south of our route.
 
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Course 230 true, wind easterly force 4 and dropping. Full sail up and doing around 7 knots. Rangiroa ahead and we can see the entrance as described in the books. Bright sunshine, light winds and slack water, we got it right!  No problems entering although 2 wrecked boats on the beach did not inspire confidence!
1100 at anchor,  along with Chantelle.
 
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
We upped anchor in the lagoon and went sailing with the crew from Chantelle on board. Spent all day and did not even see the other side of this big lagoon. Returned to our spot and anchored again.
 
Saturday, April 19, 2008
1100 and up anchor to head for Tahiti,  220 miles only. We left through the Avatoru Pass to the north of our entrance, and again admired the wrecks on that entrance as well. We left in good conditions and headed north around the atoll.
1230, course 210 true,  wind SE to E force 2 to 3. Several boat lights were seen and the fishing lines were out again.  Sailing under full Main and engine.  Heavy rain showers around.
 
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Course 220 true,  wind SE going ESE, force 4 gusting to 6.  3 reefs in the  Genoa and 1 in the Main. Tahiti sighted at 1115. Water hit the 220 volt AC panel causing some smoke and smell. Inverter tripped out. Removed and dried the panel, no damage seen. 
At 1600 we tied up alongside at Taina Marina, Papeete after an interesting journey inside the reef. As you enter the pass you must get clearance to go to the West as this takes you a few metres off the end of the airport runway. You are not supposed to hit planes taking off or landing with your mast.
Had the 220 volt electrics checked and all OK.
 
Saturday, May 3, 2008
1230 and we left the Marina in Papeete under engine, with permission to clear the runway again. Once out of the pass we turned to port and headed to Cook Bay in Moorea, the neighbouring island about 15 miles away. Filled the forward water tanks with the watermaker on the way and anchored at 1200 along with the cruise liner “Paul Gaugin”, a tall ship and about 10 other yachts in the tranquil bay.
 
Monday, May 5, 2008
Upped anchor at 1630 to head for Huahini Island and Farerea Bay.
Course 305 true, wind easterly force 1, so engine and Main all night. Tallulah Ruby, Kasuje and Lady Kay left with us and Jus do It joined en-route.
 
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Course 305 true,  wind easterly force 1.  Engine and Main only. At 0600 the island is in sight.,  and at 0815 we anchored in the bay and were joined by Nutella.
 
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
1015 we left Farerea Bay and engine over to Raiatea Island and tied up stern to at 1515.
 
Friday, May 9, 2008
Entered the Tahiti Pearl Regatta. What a fantastic way to race your boat, tropical waters and touring around the lagoon inside the reef under full sail. Not enough wind to finish unfortunately. All this circumnavigation of the island was inside the reef. The colour contrast between shallow reef water and deeper water in quite marked.
 
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Race 2 of the Regatta.  Race around Taha. Beat Tallulah Ruby, having been joined by Sam from Into the Blue via a ship to ship jump during the race. 
 
Sunday, May 11, 2008
3 rd race in the series,  Taha to Bora Bora. We went out through the pass at PaiPai on Taha under full main and genneker at about 12 knots. The wind then died off as we headed across the ocean so down with the sails and on with the engine. Another DNF but we didn’t mind at all.
 
We had to leave the boat there as Hugh had to fly to Melbourne for major back surgery, and so we had the boat delivered to Fiji so as to rejoin the WARC and finish the trip we had signed up to do.
 
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
We leave Suva Harbour having spent 3 days getting the boat cleared into Fiji and then out again. We are heading to Port Vila in Vanuatu, about 650 miles.
Course 275 true and the wind is SE force 5 and growing. We are sailing with the main and genoa up. That night there is a small moon out and not much light. Our new crew Darryn is sleeping through so as to get him acclimatised.
 
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Course 276 true and wind SE force 7 to 8. 2 reefs in the main and we are doing 8.5+ knots. At 1700 hours we gybed .
 
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Course 276 true,  wind ESE 5 to 6. Tramping along.  Nothing to report on this day.
 
Friday, July 11, 2008
Course 276 true,  wind ESE force 5 to 6. Boat speed good at 8,2 knots. Eating up the miles!  2 reefs in the Main and engine on for charging. Sea is very rolly again.
1800 and land is spotted, not the ideal time of day, but the entrance is well charted.
2330 we are anchored close to the quarantine buoy and will await official visitors in the morning.
 
Wednesday, July 17, 2008
0730 and we are departing Port Vila. Due to my leg situation after the operation we were allowed to tie-up to the fuel dock and use the shore power while we were in Port Vila. Great as the batteries are really dying now.
1200 and the wind is easterly force 4, both sails up and in company with Tallulah Ruby, Northern Sky and Strega. We are all heading to Epi Island.  At 1630 we anchored in a little bay on Epi, Reseleau Bay.
 
Thursday, July 18, 2008
1230 we left Epi and sailed over to Ambryn Island. Wind force 4 and we averaged 8 knots on this wonderful sail.  Anchored at 1600 in Porto Vato,  a small indent in the coast line. Val, Andy from Tallulah and Isolde from Northern Sky went ashore to a good welcome. There are 3 villages in this area, no power and 1 van for their produce.
 
Friday, July 19, 2008
Still at anchor, everyone goes ashore except Hugh as the surf is too high. They visit all 3 villages, each one a different religion!  All spotless and self- governing. The chief, Jimmy and his son visit BlueFlyer and receive our gifts if fishing line, pencils and books.
At 1200 we raise the anchor and sail over to Malakula Island for the night. At 1730 we anchored in Bushmans Bay.  Stayed on board.
 
Saturday, July 20, 2008
0620 and away for Luganville/Porto Santo. Full main and poled out Genoa, speed of 11.5 knots in lovely sailing until the rain squalls. The sea gets lumpy as well. At 1200 we arrived and anchored in an open rode along with about 20 other yachts. The open beach is a little rough and everyone gets wet landing ashore. This is our final stop before Cairns, Australia.
We take a taxi into town and fill all 12 gerry cans with fuel for the trip of about 1300 miles.
 
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
1230 and the WARC fleet is on its way to Cairns.  We all motor sail out of the Segond Channel and out into the Coral Sea.  Sails are up and the engine is off. 
Course is 260 true, the wind is ESE force 4 to 6 and we’re doing 7.6 knots. 
 
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Course 264 true,  wind ESE force 4 to 6. 1 reef in the main, no genoa, speed 7 to 8 knots. 199 miles today.  Put out ½  the genoa later for balance. All well on board.
 
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Course 261 true,  wind SE force 6. Speed 6.5 knots.  2 reefs in Main and ¼ of the genoa out.  Lots of rolling but good progress.  Sea gradually settling and becoming more pleasant.
1200 and full main and a lot more genoa out.  Beginning to rain again.  Not pleasant in the very wetting rain.
 
Friday, July 25, 2008
Course 275,  wind ENE force 5 to 6. Full main and rolled genoa up, however we are approx. 10 deg off track and so change course to 300 true. Twister passed behind us about 100 metres away. All sails away but what else can you do? No problem in the end.
1200 and Wizard announced on the roll call that  she dismasted this morning at 0900.  Very unfortunate for them.  Call for any spare diesel to be presented to them as they have about 600 miles to motor. As we were behind them by about 20 miles we arranged a rendezvous in a couple of days. In the meantime other boats were giving them fuel.
 
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Course 280 true,  wind SE to SW force 4 to 5 and lumpy still. 2 reefs in Main and furled away the Genoa. Slowly coming back on track and nearing Wizard. All well on board.
1200 out with the genoa and full main again.  Wizard 32 miles ahead.
1800 running the watermaker  and Wizard now 20 miles away.
 
 
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Course variable,  wind SE force 4. 0830 met up with Wizard. Almost didn’t see each other at ½ mile distance. A bare hull disappears in the waves, even small ones of less than 2 metres. We sent over 100 litres diesel, a bottle of Whiskey and 2 packs of sweets. The sweets were the most welcome! We stayed in their company for a couple of days as the wind was dying away.
 
Monday, July 28, 2008
Course 264 true,  wind SE force 1 to 2.  Still with Wizard. The MV Thermes crossed our track at 1830, not having seen either of us. However he altered away as soon as we spoke on the VHF. Engine and watermaker on with full sails set. Closed to within 400 metres of us, and he never saw Wizard at all.
Little or no wind,  motor-sailing along.
 
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Course 265 true,   wind NE initially, then South, force 5.  2 reefs in the Main and small amount of genoa out.
AC circuits trip out again with flash, bang and smoke at the panel again! No fire fortunately. Also found one of the Main batten cars had broken in the night, nothing to be done out at sea.
Left Wizard behind as he is happy with his diesel supplies now.
1630 passed through the Magdelaine Cays, keeping a sharp eye out for the reefs, nothing seen.
1930  2 reefs in the Main and 1 in the Genoa.
 
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Course 265 true,  wind Easterly force 2 to 3. 2 reefs in Main and Genoa, motor-sailing into the breeze again.
Sea calming down,  no other boats in sight.
1200 full sails up wind gone SE and sailing. Passed Eliza Mary Shoal and Holmes Reef,  all in the Australian waters, but not the Barrier Reef.
 
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Course 267 true,  wind SE force 3. Full sails and engine as well.
0000 Euston Light in sight at 10 miles, this is in the Grafton Channel through the Great Barrier Reef.
0115 Euston light abeam, 2.5 miles to port.
0135 turned to port into channel with Fitzroy Island light ahead.
0340 turned to starboard towards the port entrance.  New course 273 true.
0730 picked up a mooring buoy outside the Marina to await Customs and quarantine permission to enter the marina. Its bloody cold!!
 
We’ve arrived safely, finally.