Day 166, Year 2: Overnight Passage to Isle of Pines
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2007
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Winds ESE 15
Latitude: S 21 degrees 19.262 minutes
Longitude: E 166 degrees 33.600 minutes
Location: On Passage from Loyalty Islands to Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

So far we are having a rather uneventful passage to the Isle of Pines. New Caledonia is comprised of the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands of Ouvea, Lifou, and Mare, and the Isle of Pines. Grande Terre is long and thin and lies northwest to southeast. The Loyalties lie in a row in the same direction to the east of Grande Terre. And if you think of New Caledonia as an exclamation mark, the Isle of Pines is the dot at the bottom of the mark. It is an island that is surrounded by
many small islets and is renowned for its beautiful waters and tall Araucaria pines. We are looking forward to our arrival tomorrow afternoon, but for now southeast is the theme. We are headed basically in that direction and the winds are coming from that direction. The winds are less than yesterday and the seas seemed to have calmed, so even though we are sailing as directly into the wind as possible, it is not a bad ride. The winds have steadily declined since this morning, however, so at some
point we will probably have to motor sail. For now, however. we are enjoying a nice day of sailing.

On passage, reading is a favorite activity. The last three books I have read had to do with sailing, but now I am reading a novel by Mark Mills, Amagansett. It is a mystery set on the eastern end of Long Island. The book I just finished was “Over the Edge of the World” by Laurence Bergreen. This was about Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. Before that I read Tania Aebi’s “I’ve Been Around.” Tania circumnavigated the globe back in the 1980’s as a teenager. Her book about the circumnavigation,
“Maiden Voyage”, was spell-binding, but I must say this recent book was not as interesting. The book before that was Beth Leonard’s “Following Seas” outlining her circumnavigation with her partner Erik Starzinger in the 1990’s. Magellan’s circumnavigation was in the 1500’s. I have been struck with the differences in sailing around the world then and now. Magellan had a compass of sorts, but used celestial navigation and dead reckoning to find his way. In the 1980’s Tania Aebi did exactly the
same. Even though she had a brand new boat, she had no GPS as it was not available, and no auto pilot. Even in the early 1990’s, Beth Leonard had no GPS, but she did have an auto pilot. As I mentioned in a log a couple of days ago, a few of us were together for the evening and we had a discussion on what is essential for sailing around the world today. The answer to that question all depends on your requirements. It is totally possible to circumnavigate single-handed with just a compass using
celestial navigation and a windvane for self-steering. This is what Tania did, but we have not met one boat out here today without a GPS. We made the decision early on that we were not heading out here to camp out or do a bare bones circumnavigation. So what is essential for us? A boat you can trust with good sails, rigging, and ground tackle is essential–not even on the list because you can’t begin without this level. From there . . .

Number 1: A Reliable Engine
Number 2: Auto Pilot
Number 3: GPS and Navigation Instruments for Wind, Depth, and Speed
Number 4: Ham Radio for Communication
Number 5: Multiple Computers–One for navigation and storage of photos, one for general use, and one for back-up. Most people have only one computer, but we seemed to be more plugged in than most.
Number 6: Reliable Dinghy and Dinghy Motor–This is your transportation to and from land and is very important. There are some hard core sailors out here that have only a rowing dinghy, no motor, but that is not for us.
Number 7: Refrigeration and Freezer–Unlike in Magellan’s time, we no longer need to depend on just hardtack and wine for our provisions. We could do without the freezer, but definitely not without the refrigerator. And the freezer just makes life so much easier.
Number 8: A cockpit enclosure to keep dry (and warm when it is chilly)
Number 9: Watermaker–We could do without, but we like the convenience.
Number 10: A Sense of Adventure!

I’ve written this list very quickly and might find that I need to adjust it, but I just wanted to get it down before I forgot what is important and what is not for Windbird.
while I’m at it, there is one thing we have that is not very important to us – radar. We almost never use it.

If you have questions or thoughts on the matter, please send us a comment. We will try to get back to you when we reach Noumea late next week.