This passage is progressing as the most pleasant we have enjoyed to date. The wind has been light and forward of the beam but just enough to allow the monitor windvane to steer a perfect course. The swells are small and the wind waves less than 2 feet. We are sailing as hard on the wind as we can since it has become more southerly. If the wind stays southerly and doesn’t clock easterly tonight then we may not make Vava’u on this tack. We need about 30 more degrees of east in the wind by tonight or we may have to use the iron genoa (engine) to make Vava’u before the SE blow.
I tried to fix the autopilot yesterday but the damage is irreparable. That is the second wheel pilot we have broken since Hawaii. They are such pieces of plastic crap and do not belong on an ocean-going yacht. I have exhausted my spares inventory and do not have the parts onboard to fix it this time. The plastic wheel that holds the stainless ball bearings snapped in half – this is the same way our other wheel pilot died. We will most likely be having a new unit sent to Tonga – an expensive proposition, but we are not fans of hand steering and we still have 2,000 miles to cover before we reach Australia.
Today we are making water, filling our tanks and taking much needed showers. We left Pago with only 10 gallons of water in our tanks. We didn’t want to run the watermaker in that dirty bay full of dirt and oil. As a result, the Princess’ shower schedule has been affected and from previous posts we know the dangers of messing with the ability to shower. Rest assured though, we should have full tanks and a happy First Mate by sunset.
Hopefully our next update is from a few miles off Vavau.
Lewis & Alyssa
July 19, 2015
220nm SW of Tutuila, Samoa
100nm NE of Vavau, Tonga
17 06.2 S
173 03.2 W
2-3 FT Seas
12 KTS Wind from 135T