Saturday, 23 July 2011

Enroute to Darwin

The last day has been very pleasant sailing. Yesterday afternoon we changed from the No 3 (small) to the No 1 (big) headsail on the furler. Quite fun changing the sail at sea in a 2m seaway but we got it done. We could then drop the main and sail under the big headsail alone. This is our "trade winds" sailing configuration and we wanted to try it out for real. The sail sets very well when furled down to a No 2 size and we were still doing 7 knots in a 20 knot breeze. We can also run dead downwind without fear of gybing.

Tradewinds Rig
We've now done nearly 700nm on this passage. The long passage has encouraged us to start thinking about the sailing as an "end" rather then it being a "means" to get somewhere in a day or three. For ocean passages we need to enjoy the passage, not just the destination! We're doing a lot more reading and listening to audio books, and making the daytime watch system less strict (although one of us is always "it").

Just another sunset
Yesterday and today the CoastWatch aircraft buzzed us - that's four days in a row. We had a mostly clear night and are continuing to improve our knowledge of the stars. Handy if we ever need to get out the sextant. Saw a satellite and several shooting stars too.

Earlier today we saw a sea snake in the water, and we've seen several turtles during the passage. Right now we're moving into shallower water as we approach the Coburg Peninsula. That's reducing the waves and giving us a much more comfortable ride.

Tonight the winds have gone very light as we approach the land. We're ghosting along at 3.5 knots with full main and No 1.

On arrival in Darwin sometime Sunday night or Monday we expect to initially anchor off the sailing club. We'll move into Tipperary Waters Marina a day or two later.

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