Day 182, Year 2: First Day of Passage to Australia
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Weather: Overcast and Rainy; Winds E 25-30 Knots
Latitude: S 22 degrees 32.661
Longitude: E 165 degrees 27.630
Location: On Passage to Australia

New Zealand’s weather guru, Bob McDavitt, says weather is a combination of pattern and chaos. I have decided that there is no pattern. It is simply chaos. From all models, today’s winds should have been in the teens. Well, we see the teens once in a while, but we have had on average 25 knot winds all day, sometimes with gusts to 35. That sounds like a lot of wind, but it is coming from behind us which causes us to rock and roll, but not lean over. Now add to the winds a very rainy beginning
to the day and temps in the low seventies. It has been a cold and damp day, but as evening is approaching the rain has gone away and there is a little break in the clouds to the west in front of us. The passage from New Caledonia to Australia is pretty much directly west, so each morning the sun will rise behind us and set in front of us. This is the week of the full moon, so if the skies clear, the light of moon will guide us at night. The seas are six to nine feet right now, but I expect they
will settle in the next day or so as the high winds settle down. We were expecting low winds starting tomorrow, but we will just have to wait and see if that happens.

Before leaving Noumea, we went to the fuel dock in the pouring rain. It was not the smoothest departure we have ever had. We got absolutely soaked and we had a little mishap as we tried to pull ourselves off the fuel dock with the strong winds blowing us on. Our dinghy outboard motor travels on the outside of the stern rail and as we pulled away, the wings on the bottom of the motor shaft caught on the dock and we lost one wing and part of the metal on the shaft that was the attachment. The motor
is old, but it is a good one, and we will see if there is a way to repair this when we reach Australia. As soon as we left the fuel dock, we foolishly changed into dry clothes. Then we had to get the sails set and we got soaked again. We finally wised up and put on our foul weather gear. We haven’t had to wear that since leaving the east coast of the US in late November of 2005, but I have no more places to hang wet clothes. So until some things dry out, we’ll stick with the foul weather gear
when it is raining.

We know from traffic on the radio that many other boats left today, but we have seen no one out here. Scot Free II left a couple of hours before we did, so they are ahead of us. I think most other boats, the ones with a little common sense, waited until the rain settled a bit before leaving, so they are behind us. Ranger had to have some work done on their prop this morning, so they are probably two to three hours behind us. We are all expecting the passage to take six to eight days, depending
on weather and boat speed, but we should all arrive before the end of the month. So Australia, get ready. Here we come!