Day 293, Year 1: Here Come the Squalls
Date: Sunday, August 6, 2006
Weather: Sunny with Frequent Squalls; ESE Winds Variable 15-25
Latitude: 19 degrees 56 minutes S
Longitude: 162 degrees 13 minutes W
Location: Passage from Rarotonga to American Samoa, Day 2
Miles to Go: 592 (out of 747)

Today has been filled with dealing with squally conditions, increasing but incredible fluky winds going from 10 knots to 30 and back down to 10-15 constantly, and increasing seas. In other words, a downwind sail that is not fun. I knew it was too much to ask for two good days in a row, but I had hoped . . .

We can’t seem to get the sails balanced for the constant changes and the auto pilot has been having a really tough time keeping us on course. It just gives up and goes to standby, so one of us has had to be on watch all day babysitting the auto pilot. We pole out the headsail, so at least it is not banging and flapping in the wind. Right now the winds have increased to a fairly steady 20-25 but they are coming from the east which is pretty much directly behind us. That, combined with the heavy seas, is causing Windbird to bounce around like a cork. It looks like we are back to that old time rock and roll. We have switched back to the wind vane steering and it is handling things for now. We aren’t exactly on course, but we’ll get there eventually.

Not much else to report today. Just another day in passage in a not so calm South Pacific.