Bye, Bye, Savusavu

Well, we left. We’ve waited long enough. My faux brother, Dirk, likes the phrase; Analysis Paralysis. And it seems to me while we look at the wx, look at the predictions and wait for the “perfect window”, all we do is wait longer. The perfect window never comes and pointoint in time we’re tired of waiting and we leave.

It wasn’t a bad window. Or so we thought. Winds were the right speed out of the NE turning W later in the day. By then we hoped to be in Makogai. Our course put us 25 nm SW and then WSW. Unfortunately; I overlooked how even a small contrary breeze against a current can mess up water. The end result is a wet ride. We were never in any danger. We were uncomfortable for a few hours.

The NE wind was lighter then hoped for. Often with wx predictions the offshore winds are greater than stated. Sometimes forcasters are getting right on. Anyway we sailed for bit with a full main and Yankee jib. Then the winds started to increase and we put a reef in the main. As we turned for Makogai we couldn’t hold enough Westerly. We did sail the course as long as we could but eventually dropped all sail to round the top of the island and head for the anchorage. We couldn’t round the bottom of the island as the reef extends for about 20 miles further S.

There was a minor / major discover while sailing. The shaft lock didn’t function. This is the item that locks the shaft and allow the propellor to feather creating less drag. I ended up having to put a vice grip on the shaft to keep the propellor from spinning and to let the prop blade furl.

We tried out some new stuff on the boat. In NZ the drone landing pad we had made was to carry the dinghy for day hops. It’s actually an arch with two big solar panels on it. But; carrying the dinghy on the arch means that we can’t use the wind vane as a wind vane. So we use an electronic autopilot. While off the wind where the angle of attack isn’t all that important, it works fine. When on the wind the sailing angle is critical and an electronic pilot is a PITA. A few degrees smaller wind angle and the sail wants to stall and the boat will luff. A greater angle the boat will simply heal more and work harder. With a wind vane we would have taken advantage of the lifts and no doubt cleared the top of Makogai. We would have gotten to our anchorage a couple of hours earlier.

But; it takes less than an hour to use the arch to haul the dinghy up and stored, it takes roughly three hours to deflate it, cover it, and store it on deck. And the reverse is about an hour to put the dinghy back in the water, on from the davits. The engine and fuel tank only a couple of minutes. From the deck it is a 2-3 hour job. That is with the electric air pump we bought to inflate it and deflate the dinghy.

We were looking forward to nice calm anchorage. By now the winds had clocked to W NW, the exact opening of the anchorage. And while there is a fringing reef at Makogai, it was not large enough to break all the waves. Many made it through and in the anchorage we we spending a lot of time going up and down. Neither of us were happy.

W/ warmed up some food she had prepared ahead of time and Mother Nature must have felt sorry for us. She put out a beautiful Sunset. By the time evening was upon us the up and down motion was abating. Sleep was near and by the am we were in a calm anchorage.

A Treat after a Rough day

The following day we chose as a rest layover day. Yesterday took it out of us. We cleaned up the boat and emptied the locker out that is over the shaft lock. Bingo, I found the spring and the Nylon nut that tensions the lock. Put it back together and we’re ready to go… again. Just one issue, Something is still missing.

By all appearances it seems that only a shim is missing so I fashioned one out of a piece of hose and things seemed to work. Put it back together and re packed the locker. The rest of the day we hung out, read, Watched a movie and went to bed early in a nice calm anchorage.

Go Slow
Stay Long
Sail Far

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