Posted 26 February 2012, Lord Howe Island

Tomorrow, Monday, 27 Feb. Vida Nova will be sailing to New Zealand and I would like to share with you the way I go about preparing her and myself for the passage. From my perspective, the most important is the weather window and the forecast for the next 5 to 7 days,which at this stage predicts strong winds towards the end of the week, but as I progress on the voyage, the conditions certainly will change; its now a question of monitoring the weather with all available tools.

The next is food, because cooking at sea, with the boat bouncing around and a sailor with a weak stomach, the results will be mal de mer, which potentially can lead to disaster; consequently I have cook 5 meals in advance, salads prepared but not dressed, a dozen boiled eggs cooked, water and milk containers top up, in a little basket near the companionway there are motion sickness pills, different snacks, nuts and fruit to nibble on.

Down bellow, the boat is clean with everything on its place, tied and secure; the sea berths are made, galley clean with dishes in the racks and the sinks empty, fuel and water tanks are full, batteries are fully charged, engine oil, water and belts checked, fuel filters are cleaned and so are the bilges, with the pumps operational. The dinghy and outboard motor, clean, stored and secured
on the windlass, where the chain goes into the locker, I sealed it using moulding clay so water does not go into the chain locker, the sails are ready to hoist and reef when necessary, storm jib in place and the droge ready to deploy, the bottom is scrapped clean, propeller and shaft clean and polished, and zincs installed.

On the chart table, the course is plotted on the Ipad (poor sailor chart plotter) and so is a alternative course, all instruments are working and the barometer reads 1023.2 hpa and steady; she is ready and I stoped coffee, booze, fat and spice foods, drink lots of water and took 2 pills today and 1 tomorrow before departure, and after that only on need base.

Vida Nova is everything, she is the center of my life and she commands all aspects of it,in this new way of life, its imperative that I take care of her in harbour or at anchor, so she can take care of me in the ocean, consequently all my daily activities revolves around her needs, as a blue water vessel and my home as well.

She is a very demanding enterprise, but I am also a very willing participant.

Lord Howe Island

Posted Wednesday 22 February 2012
  31 31.43S by 159 03.06E

After an uneventful passage, which means a good one, I arrived in lord Howe, Tuesday 21 Feb. at about 0300 am local time and heave to 12 nm off the island waiting for day light to go through the pass.

When I woke up, I was greeted with strong NE winds, clocking 26 kn, so I had no choice but to beat to windward on a short but steep seas all the way to the pass, where a park ranger's boat was waiting to guide me to the mooring buoy as no anchoring is allowed; after securing Vida Nova with double warps, on a very shallow depth and I completed the arrival formalities, I sat down in the cockpit and admired the most beautiful island in the South Pacific. A World Heritage area and I could not help but to think, that like Chersterfield reefs in New Caledonia, Lord Howe is another wellcome oasis in a watery desert and with a low ceiling overcast sky and rising winds, I was certainly happy to be snugged in, instead of being bounce around outside.

Well, next morning I woke up being bounced around on the inside, as the wind backed to South west creating a very annoying vicious rolling, where everything has to be hold down or falls down, as it did my fresh brewed pot of coffee, making a big mess on the stove and floor. I am not exaggerating when I said, that I cleaned the stove more in two months, than Veronica in two years, not because she was dirtier but the opposite, confirming that a clean person is the one that doesn't mess.

I try my best to keep the boat acceptable, but it looks like that when I wake up, I have nothing to do, but I go to bed with half of the things done. Enough of domestics, now what I really need is for the weather to calm down, so I can launch the dinghy and go ashore to explore a bit.

On passage to Lord Howe island

Posted 19 Sunday 2012
  30 57 S by 155 31 E

I am at the present moment motor sailing towards Lord Howe, where I should arrive some time on Tuesday. I would rather be sailing, but at the same time I do not mind the motor as it gives me a chance to do emails, weather, position reports and basically getting use sailing alone. So far it has been good, but off course I did not payed my school fees to King Neptune as yet which will happen sooner or later.

Cirrus clouds aloft, coming from the South West moving to North East, which I believe will bring winds; the grib files confirm this. The seas are calm with a large ocean swell, less than half meter high, barely a ripple on the surface and the color, a deep blue, that one only encounters in high seas.

In this doldrums type of conditions, life is easy a bit boring, but I guess beats the alternative. I am steaming on the height of cyclone season, but so far this year staying away from the Tasman sea. The situation can change very quickly, consequently time and speed are essential.

Vida Nova is pressing on.