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A pounding passage

Given the information we had available to us and what transpired for us and other vessels in the vicinity, our decision to leave at 9:30am yesterday seems to have been the right one. However, being the best option available didn’t make it a lot of fun. The forecast was for 20-25 knots of wind. What we had was 25-35 all day and night long.

We had the main double reefed and the head sail reefed in too. We had the regeneration on all day and night just to try and control our arrival time, hopefully making it in after dawn. Given that the distance was over 140nm it was a struggle to keep Dignity from doing the distance in under 20 hours.

The seas picked up to between 3 and 4 meters in height which gave us a pounding. At the best of time it was a wild ride. At times waves would crash over and sometimes it felt like we were being hit by a bus.

During Helen’s late night shift the head sail managed to get wrapped around itself back winding at the top and getting a bit tangled. I was sleeping in the cabin in case of any issues so I got the call. In 35 knots of wind and crashing seas I sorted out the head sail. We agreed we needed to get the main down which we’ve never done under such conditions. We managed it although it was a bit of a struggle. Afterward, with just the head sail out, the running was much more comfortable.

Dawn found us screaming around the corner of Niue where the seas picked up further. At one time we sustained a 16 knot surf down a huge wave. As we rounded the corner the winds subsided and the seas flattened. We contacted the officials to let them know we were arriving and we contacted the yacht club for a mooring. As it is Sunday here we can’t clear in but we can sit here for the day. I’ve had a few hours sleep to catch up on the little I had overnight. After all, we have nothing else to do. We’ve arranged for an internet connection but it’s taking time to set up. I think we may end up being lucky to get one today.

A few boats we know or at least have spoken to are here: Trim, Ile de Grace, Freezing Rain, Joule, Mariposa. Hopefully we’ll get to see some of these folks over the next few days. We’ve spoken to Ken on Trim and he’s already eaten at the one and only Indian Restaurant here. He says it is good so we’re now committed to going there on Helen’s birthday on Tuesday.