Last night the wind gods had their fun with us.
We were sailing on a fast comfortable deep reach on a course just north of west. I was expecting the wind to clock a bit more to the south to set up our final approach to the channel between O’ahu and Moloka’i. At about 10pm it happened! The wind went from 60 degrees to 90 degrees, setting us up for a fast and comfortable reach straight in. All we needed to do was gybe and set off on port tack.
Now gybing a boat like the Fetchin’ Ketch with a shorthand crew, a poled-out jib, at night, in 30 knots of wind, in 8 to 12 foot seas is not something you do on a whim. Quite a bit needs to happen right and in the right order to do it safely. So after the wind shifted, I held off, following the shift, taking us farther from our destination, holding off to be sure it wasn’t a short term fluke.
After about twenty minutes I decided to go for it. A quarter hour later I had the boat settled in on port tack on a shallow broad reach aimed right where we wanted to go. I was so pleased with my weather forecasting skills. Everything happened just like it was supposed to… Yeah, right.
Within 15 minutes the wind backed to its original angle, leaving us sailing on a course further east than we had hoped, with two more gybes in our future. Arrrrgh! Never get too pleased with yourself!
Over the course of today, the wind did ultimately shift around, although not as far as I hoped. We are now on a dead run, on a good course. The wind is blowing fast enough that we are making hull speed, so we’d gain no time by heading up a bit. To get there faster we’ll take the straight on downwind course and suffer the rolling that comes with that.
Even with the dog leg in our course last night, our straight line 24 hour distance was 147 miles, with 282 left to go. By this time tomorrow we should have the highest peaks on Maui above the horizon. Our first sight of land in 17 days.