Passage Position Reports; Tonga - New Zealand 2017

Up until recently we have only had an SMS capable Sat Phone account.  You could also call but no data.  My Dad John would be our shore support and weather router.  The way it used to work was I would SMS a short position report twice a day and Dad would run a Predict Wind route from our position, or sometimes if he was real busy take a quick look at  He would then SMS us back to let us know what to expect for the next 12-24hrs and a recommended course to steer.  Big thanks to Dad! 

For the last couple of passages we have had the ability to email and download our own weather reports so its a lot less onerous on Dad (or Andy if Dad is on board ROAM!)  The wish list for extra gear on ROAM is getting shorter and we are becoming as self sufficient as we can.   

We now write an email once a day to our family and friends letting them know how we are going and where we are etc.  Below the collection of emails from the last passage and some accompanying photos.  I probably get a bit carried away with the sailing descriptions.  Sailing really brings out the nerd in me...

Let us know if you would be interested in seeing these posted live to Facebook each day when we are underway  on passage  and I will see what I can sort out.

Cheers, Mick  

SENT: 1100hrs 7th Dec 2017

Hi All

We are at POS 21 28.3' S 175 02.5'W
COG = 180T
SOG = 7.0kts

Tonga has just gone over the horizon.

There is a area of very light air over Tonga so we are motoring South to meet the ESE winds forecasted from tomorrow.  High overcast and less than 3kts of wind right now.

The wind was not going to arrive in Tonga until the weekend and that would not give enough time to get to NZ before the wind went back to the South meaning headwinds for alot of the passage.

At this stage the routing has us arriving next Wednesday the 13th into Opua in light headwinds as the nest high fills in.  Also at this stage there are no southern ocean lows going to effect us with strong SW winds so looking good.

The ESE winds due over the weekend are forecast for 25knots so we will manage speed, comfort and safety whilst keeping an eye on the arrival weather to decide how fast we will sail.

So not too bad a forecast. We are happy with it.  Right now we are drying out after a few days of rain and settling back in to life at sea.  It's very calm and Liss is baking up our stock of seeds into crackers and muslie slice before we would have to surrender them to NZ Biosecuruty.

Had to change a impeller on the STbd engine this morning just after we left.  Lucky it was calm and easy job apart from working around a hot engine.  Also good thing for having 2 engines as we were right in the narrowest part of the channel with reef on each side,  quite a bit of current and no wind.

Big job washing the anchor and chain as we recovered it after 6 weeks on anchor.  That's a record for Roam.

OK well we will continue to burn fossils and head South.  Anyone have any news otherwise talk tomorrow.

Michael and Liss xx

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

SENT: 0900hrs 8th Dec 2017

Morning All

POS 23 44'S 175 21'W
COG 215T
SOG 9.0Kts

Two 3hr watches for Liss and one 4hr one for me in the middle last night.  Liss is having another sleep now to make up for it.

We found some breeze by midnight out of the ESE during my watch.  Liss was sleeping so I just unfurled the Genoa and beam reaching in 10-12 kts TWS we were making 6-7kts.  I did a weather update on Predictwind and we were forecasted for 15-20kts by just after dawn so we have kept the mainsail in the bag.

Right now we have 18-20kts and we are making 9kts right on course.  The forecast is for solid 25kts for 36hrs from mid day.  We will just have to see if we can maintain course or have to fall off as we expect the forecasted 25 will be likely we'll over 30. If it's too windy for the Genoa we will bare right away and run on the staysail until it starts to abate.

Yesterday we had 0-5kts of wind from almost every directing and a couple of rain squalls.  Otherwise it was hot and sunny with the least wind we have ever seen offshore on Roam. The first half of last night was amazing with almost full moon and glassy sea.

We are eating well as always.  A few general boat jobs and cleaning yesterday and no further engine events to report.  Both motors just coming up on 750hrs on them so they are due their 3rd filter service. Last one was in Fiji before we left last year so we have done 10,000Nm between services and a little over a year.

Have a good day
Liss and Michael

SENT: 0900hrs 9th Dec 2017

Morning All

POS = 26 01'S 178 35'W
COG = 235T
SOG = 9kts
Distance last 24hrs = 224Nm
DTG = 660NM

Hope everyone has a good Saturday.

Forecast was mostly very accurate. All day yesterday we had 20-25kts. By dark if filled in to 25-30. We kept Frank the Genoa up all night but fell off course by 20-25 degrees to keep the AWA aft of the beam and the AWS below 25kts on the gusts and squalls.

Right now we are still sailing 20deg low of the rumb line.  That's low relative to our wind angle. We are locked on 235T on the pilot and Cape Brett is 660Nm away at 212T.

Liss and I did one 5hr watch each last night and have been napping during the day as required.

Looks like we should have similar winds for another 24 hours or so before it lightens and tends more E then NE.  Will will continue to run on the Genoa overnight again then get the main out and tighten up on course tomorrow.

Temperature is just starting to drop and water temp is down by 3 degrees to 24C.

Dad asked yesterday about maintenance work over summer.  At this stage there is no actual repair work on the haul out list which is great.  The rest are just minor ones non critical mostly.

Right now the list reads:
Haul out and antifoul hulls,  change oil in sail drive legs.
Fill and touch up paint small ding in cockpit floor.
Service engines
Service genoa
Get Raymarine MFD fixed.  (touch screen on inside one is now working)
Install fan in fridge.  Improve insulation around fridge and freezer to reduce condensation and have compressor gas checked.
Permanently run cable for sat phone.
Make more hanging points in surf locker
Put bungee to hold toilet Chem bottles etc  in aft bathroom
Buy 2 new deck wash hoses
Buy new French flag
Get French Polynesia long stay visa's
Resplice dingy davit strop
Fit OC Tender to Roam
Service Dingy outboard
Look at getting a prop guard for outboard
Change battery in PLB EPIRB
Replace CO2 canisters in life jackets
Swap all 3 gas bottles
Buy a sleeping bag
Service Canon camera and buy new mic
Buy another can of Harken McLube
Install cabin fan in salon
Replace mast head wind indicator (not Raymarine one)
Buy non skid case for Samsung tablet.

Liss and Michael xx

SENT: 0900hrs 10th Dec 2017

Morning Everyone

POS = 28 03'S 178 23'E (we are back in the Eastern hemisphere!)
>COG = 230T
>SOG = 8kts
>Distance last 24hrs = 202Nm
>DTG = 475NM

Some good feedback on the job list. Removable swim ladder added thanks Jill.  There was some prelim discussion on design of this with John when he was last here.  Will continue to progress this one.

Well yesterday could have defiantly been considered lazy sailing.  We broad reached at about 110AWA on port for the full 24 hours on Genoa only.  Over that time I altered the locked heading on the pilot from 242T to 235T and put 6 turns of the handle into the winch as the wind eased slightly to around 25-28kts.  It was too wet to be outside as we occasionally get spray right through the cockpit.  One spray is almost or definitely enough to drench you depending on where you are standing and there is not a dry surface to sit on anywhere outside.  So we stayed inside and took turns keeping watch,  napping, listening to music and hanging out. Meanwhile the bright sun had the batteries charged before midday and the pilot could keep doing it's thing.  About 15hrs later I decided the wind had shifted left so pressed the 10deg button on the pilot once to a new locked heading of 225T.  Another 4hrs later Liss decided she was getting a shift back right so reset the locked heading to 23

And that has basically been our day.  1 5hr watch each overnight.

Hope your Saturday was a little more action packed.

Love Liss and Michael

P. S.  This far from land we are not wishing for action packed sailing.  We will take automated passage making any day over boat dramas :)

SENT: 0900hrs 11th Dec 2017

Morning Everyone

>POS = 31 12'S 175 57'E
>>COG = 205T
>>SOG = 10kts
>>Distance last 24hrs = 228Nm
>>DTG = 251NM

A quiet morning yesterday and Liss had a nice sleep in after her watch until 0700hrs before I woke her a little after 1000hrs to help get the main up.

We have settled into 1 big watch each overnight "Jack and Jude style" and is working well with a decent nap during the day.

Well with the main up with 1 reef in and 15-20 kts of TWS we began to bring the apparent wind fwd and take as much of the breeze as we were comfortable with.  The idea being as the breeze dropped over the next 24 hours we would keep accelerating the boat by tightening up on the breeze as it faded away.

Well we found out 2 things.  First was now that the TWS was under 20 the sea was quite flat already so no waves to worry about. This meant that a good angle was 080AWA.  This is quite a fast angle for Roam within 20 degrees of our fastest.

The second thing is the breeze was supposed to be nearly gone by now 24hrs later but right now we still have 18kts.

So we have been on a beautiful fast reach with our 24hr average at 10.0kts. We have pushed 1-2 knots of current the whole time too so if it wasn't for that we would have set our best day ever.

We will keep the pace on where we can as the breeze is nice and stable (not gusty or squally)  and if we drag our heels we will end up having to deal with a building Southerly change for the last day which wouldn't be much fun...  Forecast keeps calling for us to run out of wind soon so who knows.

John mentioned 2 other boats on the passage we are following.  All 3 are catamarans like Roam.

The first one is a French Outremer 45 owned by Marc and Anna (they had French spellings and pronunciations but they didn't even let us try and get them right ;) ) and their 3 kids who were doing their thing and we didn't get introduced. Very cool family though. Home schooling their way around the world.  Marc is a French professional sailor and has competed in the mini Transat and a couple of Round the World Jules Vern attempts.  Geronimo and the one right after Peter Blake's record on Ends. They left last Monday morning. He came over to check out Roam and was really happy with it.  Anna is a Physiotherapist.

The second is another Schionning.  Looks like a Waterline 1480 but it's registered in Nuka'alofa and headed off on the Wednesday arvo.  I didn't think it was leaving as we didn't see them at customs and no other boats left so must be them. Nice looking boat.  Didn't get a chance to meet them.

It's a little overcast this morning so hopefully we get enough sun to charge our batteries.  So far we have not had to start engines to make power.

Oh and I had to move the sat phone antenna to the other side of the boat as I couldn't get a signal this morning. The boom is right over it so that might have been it.  They have changed the Volvo Ocean Race rules and banned the use of carbon in the sails as it was interfeering with uploading media etc..

Have a good Monday.  I'm sure you will as I don't think anyone on this email works on a Monday?

Liss and Michael xx

SENT: 0900hrs 12th Dec 2017

Hi Everyone

>>POS = 34 02'S 174 57'E
>>>COG = 210T
>>>SOG = 6kts
>>>Distance last 24hrs = 178Nm
>>>DTG = 74NM

Well the nice reaching conditions continued yesterday with us making good progress with the average SOG well over 9kts.  As the day went on the breeze faded and tended NE as forecast.  By shortly after lunch we were sailing 100AWA on Spinnaker staysail and 1st reef main (we didn't bother to shake out the last reef).  By dark o'clock we had tightened up to 085AWA.

The difference between 100AWA and 085AWA is massive.  By keeping the apparent wind just forward of the beam you are actually building wind where as soon as the apparent wind angle is aft of the beam you are just taking a slice of the breeze.  Racing boats do this all the time and with the spinnaker up Roam is just light enough to do it.  Last night we had effectively changed the wind angle by 50 degrees and could keep the sails full with 7 knots of wind in 8-10 knots of breeze and sail at 7-8 knots with the true wind 40-45 degrees off the stern. Light air down wind has gone from our least favourite to most favourite point of sail with this spinnaker!

Any way we managed to keep this up until 0400hrs ghosting along magically at night in calm seas. Plenty of star gazing and relaxing under the night sky but it's chilly so we are in the wet weather gear and boots.  Doonas out for sleeping and water temp down to 20C.

So at 0400 we were within 100Nm of Cape Brett but our speed was down to 4kts and we had been lifted 40 degrees off course.  That's the end of that so motor on.

Well the "other" boat that you have been watching on Marine Traffic is not the Nuka'alofa catamaran "Wildlife". It's a 46' yacht called "White Hawk". We crossed in front of them about half an hour before we lost the wind and are now motoring along behind then by 3Nm. We didn't see them in Nuka'alofa so not sure where they started from.

Well Liss is having her morning nap and I have done a weather update and it does not look like we will see any breeze until after dark so it might be a day of motoring all the way in... While the engine is running we are making full tanks of water so we won't have to go into the marina for a wash down. We will still have over 50% diesel too so once we get cleared into NZ in the morning at Opua we will go straight to anchor,  wash the boat and with a quick supermarket run we will be back anchored in the islands.

Talk soon

SENT: 0900hrs 12th Dec 2017

Hi Everyone

Liss and I arrived at the Port Opua Quarantine Dock at 2200hrs last night.

We had a great day sailing in an 5-10knt NW wind that was unforcasted so we ended up arriving more than 12 hours ahead of the weather routing.

Currently we are anchored back in Paihia.  Customs and bio security complete and ready to go into town for lunch.

Overall we had a great passage and enjoyed the time alone together.  We had to motor the first 18 hours out of Tonga in some of the stillest conditions I have ever seen at sea as we couldn't wait any longer for the wind to fill in.  And we only had 6 hours under motor yesterday morning where it looked like we might have 24 hours.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us.

Basic passage stats:

Time underway = 5D 15Hr (Anchor up Nuka'alofa to lines on Opua)
Distance travelled = 1123Nm
Average SOG = 8.3kts
Slowest speed = 3.2kts
Fastest speed = 20.4kts
Time motoring = 24hrs
Diesel used = 70lts
Engine hours for making power = 0
Flying fish dead onboard = 3
Flying fish eaten = 0
Items broken or failed = 0
Good hand steering sessions = 4


We don't have a local number so we will try and find some Wi-Fi.

Talk soon.