Wind noise – Lizard Island

It was a long and tiring trip from Cairns to Lizard Island. The wind was stronger than forecast gusting to 30 knots. But what made the trip particularly uncomfortable was the 6 to 10 foot waves on the beam. We rolled back and forth the entire way. Lizard Island is reputed to be a great anchorage. And it pretty much is. The “fetch” is short so the waves are low. But the wind has been howling non-stop through the rigging my entire stay. It is blowing 20 to 25 knots across the deck. Being outside is not comfortable. (Consider what the people launching aircraft on a carrier put up with all the time.) The strange thing is that other than its normal sailing around the anchor chain Reboot is just sitting quietly. Well, not quietly when you consider the wind noise. But stable. Very weird. Of course the other downside is that I single hand. Motoring thru an anchorage of 25 other boats to find the perfect spot is just not prudent. So the best spots usually go to others. Fair winds and following

After the wind

I pointed out yesterday the the weather forecast greatly underestimated the wind speed. It peaked at about 35 knots. The big concern is of course that the anchor will drag. To a lessor extent there is always the possibility that the ground tackle (anchor, etc.) will break. We dragged a couple of times in Pago Pago with 200 feet of chain and 150 feet of rode. Here I only have about 100 feet of chain out. But the water is only 10 – 20 feet deep depending on the tide. Well, we didn’t drag. Since we are in a river we are subject to the flow of the river in addition to the impact of the wind and tide. The current is from the west. The wind varies between the NE, E, and SE. This creates a constant wind against current impact of the waves in the river. They are, in a few words, short, steep, choppy, and ugly. When the wind is light the trip to the marina is unpleasant, When the wind is up the trip is very wet. Since there is no fetch the waves don’t get high, maybe a foot and one half at the

The long way

After several days of hiding from the wind and waves yesterday we decided that the wing had moderated enough to transit to Nanu inlet. We left in winds in the low 20 s and worked our way around the island. Waves were in the 4 foot range. We had set the third reef in the main and put out about 50% jib. This gave us the ability to point about 15 degrees higher. That would become important later as we had to tack our way around several reefs.Once we cleared the immediate reefs we aimed at Nanu. It was only about 23 nm and we were making 5.5 to 6.5 knots. Although uncomfortable from the 28 to 30 knot winds in the cockpit (since we were heading upwind the apparent wind was the true wind speed plus 80% of the boat speed) and the frequent boarding waves making us all wet the miles went quickly.From our sheeting angle it looked like we could sail direct. Except for the set from the waves. By the time we reached Nanu we were 4 nm off course. We had to tack to get back east. This put us back in


We departed Pago Pago in a wind that built to 20 knots close hauled. That was ok, it was the 4 meter (12 foot) waves on the beam that made the ride very uncomfortable. After 24 hours of discomfort but making great time the wind started to moderate and shift toward the beam. The waves dropped to about 1.5 meters and shifted toward the stern. After a night of rain the sun came out and we had a very pleasant sail. Unfortunately after 24 hours the wind continued to drop to about 7 knots. We found a hole in the ocean. The good news is the waves are now at about 0.5 meters. The bad news is we are making about 2 knots. We have the jib polled out as we are heading almost directly down wind. As I write this we are about 100 nm from Vava u, Northern Tonga, our destination. It is Friday on board but Vava u is both on the other side of the date line and in the next time zone. It is Saturday there and an hour earlier. This is not such a big deal because customs and immigration are closed on the we