We had one hour left on our last Internet pass when I woke up at 4 AM. I managed to get the latest weather, process E-mails, got a blog post out, and download a bunch of blogs I read. Then I continued prepping the boat for the passage, and took a fresh pre-passage shower.
Karen was awakened shortly before 7 AM and the crew of Threeships dropped by to pick up the weather data I had collected. Overall the prediction showed slightly lighter winds than our previous forecasts, otherwise it was the same.
The night before I took a white spherical fishing buoy to create our “mark” at the Direction Island shelter. Attached to several coconut trees were signs and other objects with the names of boats and the year they visited. In our case, I drew a detailed map of planet Earth making a 3D version of Google Earth. I then marked our location at Cocos and put “Tahina 2014” in red there. I also drew a blue line marking our track from North Carolina to Cocos. I also marked our starting point in 2009, and our URL. Here are a series of pictures showing the globe I created:
After a light squall passed through, we raised the hook at 8 AM with enough light to see the water depths. We followed our same route when we arrived out of the lagoon and motored past the northern island of Horsburgh. We had two dolphin come out and dance off our bows for a few minutes. I always consider it an honor and a good sign when they do this at the start of a passage. Once we were north of the island, we turned and raised our sails. We were then sailing west past the reefs on the north side of this small island.
Soon we were in the deep waters west of Cocos. The winds and seas picked up. We were soon making 8+ knots under sail! We had varying conditions between 15 and 30 knots of wind during the day. Fortunately for us, with our speeds we outran many of the squalls that were lined up behind us. We even had some sunshine for a while early in the day. We actually averaged over 8.8 knots for much of the day.
By 8 PM, after 12 hours of sailing, we had made 104 nautical miles – a 200+ mile/day average! We called both s/v Gryphon 2 and s/v Threeships on a mini-radio net to give each other our position and conditions. Winds have been varying during the night, and we’ve had a few squalls to contend with. We’ve had double reefs in the sails all night to reduce the risk of too much load on the rigging. Our average speed remains over 8 knots and we think we’ll make the 200 mile average for our first day! We expect some light winds on Saturday and Sunday, so our speeds will be lower then. We’ll probably do some drying out and maybe some fishing while we’re waiting for the winds to come back.