Through the trade winds all the way from South America to Australia

Blog Post 29 by Jon Sanders: Australia bound through the trade winds

In my last blog I mentioned running through the trade winds, all the way from South America to Australia, i.e.: sailing between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn.

I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia (a sizeable French elongated Island), both in the trade wind belt, and after Noumea New Caledonia on to Bundaberg where rum is made in Australia.

Going right way true. Trade winds, Nup. They stopped, so they did before I had sunk below the Tropic of Capricorn (close to 23 degrees south latitude).

Winter weather I guess. I ran into nothing. No wind at all. Swell died down, blue sky, blue oil calm sea. Nice.

Motor sailing at low revs. Good fuel economy. All day, all night, all day, all night…

The bloody thing is not an oil tanker.

When there was wind and when it came it was west and not a lot.

Wrong way wind. Must ration fuel and put up with going nowhere much.

I’m supposed to be in the trade winds!

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The South Pacific trade winds reach all the way across the Pacific

Blog Post 28 by Jon Sanders: The South Pacific trade winds…

The South Pacific trade winds reach all the way across the Pacific. Although, first one has to get into them from Panama, then you have them with maybe a lull here or there. In some years your sails might flop along in a light wind, but alas, the trade wind is there.

Soon after passing Tahiti one passes through the Cook Islands, an archipelago of scattered islands. Holding one’s course, you’re likely to see zero of them.

Seven times I have passed through the Cook Islands and stopped once at Rarotonga, with Nathan (hi Nathan), chief town or capital.

In this region I have always found the trade winds fresh; same again this year. Often 25/30 kts southeast. Broad reach. 2 reefs mainsail and 1/3 my normal small working jib. Nice.

Progress steady and good

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I’ve noticed that island regions influence wind strengths, often beginning at several hundreds of miles away

Blog Post 27 by Jon Sanders: Wind, Eggs and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Wind

I’ve noticed that island regions influence wind strengths, often beginning at several hundreds of miles away; generally, the effect is less wind, either up-wind or down-wind. Vision Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion islands and in the South Pacific: Tuamotus, Tahiti and Society islands. On the other hand, the Trades in the Caribbean (the Islands I visited or pass on route) are more reliable.

As I tend to sail with a shorter rig, it might look a wee bit strange departing Tahiti with my mainsail reefed and not much wind. Sure as eggs, as the distance gets longer the wind becomes greater. It’s lots easier tying the reef (neat as) when at the dock than it is at 2am.

Each day the swell gets bigger from the south, south-southwest and the southwest.

Something is down there!

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Taina Marina and the Oyster World Rally

Blog Post 26 by Jon Sanders: Taina Marina and the Oyster World Rally

The Hon. Ian Campbell, former Australian Senator and Federal Minister, has an Oyster 68 ft single mast yacht. It is said, and one believes, more material (not to forget, etc., etc.) goes into these UK built stock production cruising yachts to stand the ocean rigours. The Swan yachts in Finland appears to have a similar reputation, as they emphasise the ocean racing ability in their design. Perhaps their designers do not consult mother enough. All that aside, I am a Swan fan. Anyway, I am parked at Taina Marina, and

at the upgraded downtown Marina de Papeete there are lots of Oysters, though not the sort you eat

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A lot of years back France resumed underground nuclear testing at Mururoa, southeast of Tahiti

Blog Post 25 by Jon Sanders: Tahiti

Now Tahiti.

A lot of years back France resumed underground nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll (south-east of Tahiti) approximately 450 to 500 N Miles south-southeast of the track I took thru the northern portion of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

At the time of nucler testing, the amicable Polynesians rioted. The headline in the West Australian Newspaper (home) read “Something in Paradise” (I think “Chaos in Paradise”). It worked, France brought the testing to finish sooner.

So, here I am in Paradise

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Sails. Something I have not mentioned much is the things stuck up in the air

Blog Post 24 by Jon Sanders: Sails

Sails.

Something I have not mentioned much is the things stuck up in the air. No, it’s not the mast or the stainless steel Super Wind (turbine) support down the back (oops sorry) ‘aft’. The Rolly Tasker Sails built in Thailand.

I know Sven Cornelius CEO of Rolly Tasker Sails reads this. Poor bloke.

“Hey, Sven” (Kerry Tasker proprietor and much more). If you would like to write this into your Newsletter, I would be delighted.

When I was a wee lad, or at least decades younger, Kerry likewise; she was then the receptionist and Sailing Secretary Royal Perth Yacht Club (and me a member). Rolly Tasker AM would build my sails.

Later Kerry married Rolly. (Lucky man).

Rolly Tasker has built my sails since I was a teenager. First in Perth Western Australia and now Phuket Thailand.

A long time ago, Xmas 1984, my S&S34 was at the Cruising Club of Australia, Sydney, preparing for the Sydney Hobart Race.

I, at the bar, as one does, a beer or three with some crew of the more remarkable – at the time I reckoned they just ‘sat on rails’ – they acted more important and knowledgeable. The reality is they could shin a mast or climb out on a set spinnaker pole in 30 knots of wind (and much more). I could not.

Anyway, they were ribbing Rolly as competitors do. I remember saying to them.

“How many State titles have you won?”

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When Magellan entered the Pacific from the strait that bears his name it was pleasingly calm.

Blog Post 23 by Jon Sanders: Pacifico

When Ferdinand Magellan entered the Pacific from the strait that bears his name it was pleasingly calm. He named the Pacific. ‘Pacific’ (Pacifico). Anything but, it cannot be. – Except for today, yesterday and probably tomorrow.

Anything but, it cannot be.

Except for today, yesterday and probably tomorrow.

Frustrating. No, not at all.

A quiet gentle wind 7/8 knots, sometimes 9/10.

Paul Stratfold has routed me into the west-going current.

Yesterday I was making 3. 3 1/2 kts. Same wind today 4 to 4 1/2 kts, at times 5 to 6. Nearly all blue sky, a gentle sea. Broad reach. Cool to warm (extension of Peru current), the yacht has an 8-degree heel to starboard. That’s the right-hand side of the boat. (I mean yacht).

Days later (writing later), much the same as above with a little more wind and helpful current.

I am starved for any news of the world

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Grandma and Grandpa (and me) sailing conditions.

Blog Post 22 by Jon Sanders: I have cleared Galapagos

I have cleared Galapagos with Grandma and Grandpa (and me) sailing conditions.

My passage cleared to the north of the Galápagos Archipelago. Sailing on an obtuse angle, it was 3 days before I crossed the equator. (Nothing happened).

All the folks in the Old Testament, all the folks in the New Testament, all the folks in the Flat Earth Society they never knew there was an equator. The former were never told, and the latter don’t want to know about it.

If the likes of Galileo had told them there is one, they would probably have thought it would be the bleeding tipping edge of Earth itself. It isn’t. I know. I crossed the equator and never fell off the planet. I am still here! Pity some might say.

I crossed the equator and never fell off the planet

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Panama is in The Doldrums – weather wise that is.

Blog Post 21 by Jon Sanders: I am on my way to Tahiti

I am on my way to Tahiti

Panama is in The Doldrums – weather wise that is.

Seems to be going well otherwise. (As long as you don’t stroll into the wrong localities).

On departure there was no wind, none at all. Flat calm. Calm as calm.

Lots of flotsam and jetsam in the water (to bang into).

My engine is a Yanmar 4JH4AE – does that make sense?  Nup, me neither.

In other words, 50hp (at 3000 RPM). When asked I usually say 40hp. More reliable. More than adequate.  Installed 2008 (9 years back) by Neil Rock. (Hi Neil).

Now June 2017 it has chalked up 5460 hrs. It has never missed a beat. Starts instantly and never stops. Excepts when one pushes the stop button, of course.

I have had an air leak in the new in-line fuel filter; I couldn’t fix it. Took it off. Connected fuel line to each other and rely only on the fuel filter attached to the engine. Yanmar has two sizes fuel filter that fit. I use the large size.

All my refuelling is done by jerry cans (‘Jerry jugs’ BJ Caldwell calls them), I can then see if there is any dirt. (Never refuel from the fueling barge at Benoa Marina Bali. That nonsense has been going on for years).

I stick to service per manual, i.e.: Oil change and new oil filter every 250hrs, clean exhaust mixing elbow every 250hrs, go in neutral from slow to flat out 5 times in succession before turning the engine off, etc., etc. per manual.

The Panama Canal is an engine reliability canal, trust me.

Panama City, towns, roads, rivers, and canal are all built inside a rain forest – some debris ends up in the Gulf of Panama. Every several years Perie Banou II and Jon Sanders likewise. With the Yanma churning at 1500 RPM, I do 6 knots in a flat sea. Change course a little here, a little there to avoid city-made litter, or a sodden tree trunk, or foliage monkeys once climbed.

Into the night. I can’t see nothing! On and on…

What did I bang into?

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I was due to depart [for the Canal] Monday. Well, I didn’t, I went Tuesday

Blog Post 20 by Jon Sanders: Navigating The Panama Canal

As you are probably aware, I was due to depart, on Perie Banou 2, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon – Atlantic end of the canal – Monday 22nd May 2017.  Well, I didn’t, I went Tuesday.

Why? I don’t know. You get that. It was the same with two other yachts. All three yachts did the transit Tuesday.

The other yachts were a French-owned Lagoon 50 (ft) catamaran and a New Zealand owned Royal New Zealand Yacht Club 44.5 Beneteau. RNZYC is on North Island.

Paul Stratfold and his partner of eight years, Shiralee Fitzgerald, flew in from St Maarten Caribbean to manage and do the transit with me.

In Paul’s baggage were two oil filters and two fuel filters for Perie Banou’s 50hp Yanmar engine.

Paul did not declare them. Bad boy. (He is a good bloke – but then again I ain’t a Panamanian)

He got arrested! True

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