Bula everyone - and is it great to be here in the sunny tropics where the sun shines each day and the water temperature is 25 degrees! Absolute bliss to Camara AND her crew :-)
We‘ve been here nearly a week already but as it goes after an ocean passage like that from New Zealand to the islands, the first day or two are taken up with formalities and reprovisioning, followed by days of sorting, cleaning and acclimatising!
Camara‘s ‘Maiden Voyage’ went well and we are absolutely thrilled with her sailing performance and more so the comfort she offers while sailing. As this was her first offshore passage after the refit, we kept our eyes peeled for an ‘easy’ weather window, meaning not racing big low pressure systems etc.
We knew we would leave with strong winds forecast to lighten up by the evening and as we were going downwind it wasn’t too much of a concern for us. As it turned out the forecast 30- 35kts where a steady 30-40kts with gusts up to 56kts. We ran with just a staysail up and were super comfortable while still making progress at 6-8kts. By the late afternoon/evening the winds calmed down enough to change to the genoa.
Unfortunately the winds got really light not long after, to the point of no wind at all - as beautiful as the ocean looks all glassy and calm...it wasn’t much fun in terms of sailing and slowed our progress right down. Furthermore we picked up an issue with our fuel tanks which meant motoring wasn’t the solution to our no-wind-dilemma. This was compounded by the fact that the sailmaker never added slides to the reef points on the main sail resulting in a nice tear during our light wind period and meant we had to have he main fully reefed from then on to avoid any further tears or damage.
Saying that, she was sailing nicely as soon as she had more than 8kts. Luckily the remaining time we had winds between 15-26kts in which she took off like a freight train averaging at ease between 8-11kts.
As it goes with long passages like that, you come across any issues there may be and one of those was how the play in the helm affected our autopilot. Despite the hydraulics only turning the rudder ever so little, as soon as it went through the ‘dead play’ in he helm it would just turn into a vicious motion on the helm. Our short term ‘cure’ was for whoever was on shift to literally hold hands with the helm to avoid the helm doing its thing. It meant we couldn’t just sit there and relax while on shift but it sure as hell beat hand steering! The solution is easy - we just have to set up a locking/disengage for the helm to use while the autopilot is on or while we are on anchor.
Over all it was a good trip, a shame about the lack of wind at times but much better than racing or sailing through low pressure systems, especially on our first offshore trip with her! It took us longer than anticipated but I kept busy cooking English breakfasts and delicious feasts out there which certainly kept everyone happy and content along the way :-)
Below is a short video of our trip for anyone keen or who hasn’t seen it on our Facebook page yet.
Stay tunes for more exciting updates in the coming weeks and months - so long xx