July 2003 PagoPago
After 3 weeks in Napier the Sabb was finally repaired, a new battery charger installed and a secondary air charge system put into the main engine.
We set sail on the first of June with the square sails pulling us out of Hawkes Bay in front of a sunny nor’wester. Crossing the International Date Line we had two June seconds in a row. On the ninth day a northerly gale drove us down to 41 south. After 2 days becalmed the wind picked up from the sou’east. The afternoon gale became a storm by early evening.
We were hove to with only the fore stay sail set. The wind gusting to over 80 knots the surface of the sea was completely white with foam. Six to 8 meters over the surface was a mixture of wind and water. Despite the full moon visibility was down to 200 meters. That night we blew out 5 sails, the life raft was torn from its stand and swept away and our shore boat smashed to pieces on deck. Three times I was on deck and underwater. The third time a wave caught me on the after deck. I landed with my bum on the Taff Rail, both legs over the side and one arm around the Mizzen sheet; it was only blind luck that I caught the mizzen sheet. Several times that night we had both lower yard arms in the water.
The next morning the wind was down to a mere force 9, at just under 50 knots, it was a comparative walk in the park. The sun came out turning the sea a deep blue with long trails of white foam. The sea running at 8 meters and breaking it was still dangerous to be on deck without being tied to something strong. For 3 more days we were hove to until that low moved off to the east. We set sail again at 39 south and sailed on to the east.
By day 19 we were 950 miles east of Napier. Already several weeks late and with the Sabb generator and compressor out of action with a cracked head it became more prudent to sail north to American Samoa for repairs and to salvage the rest of the seasons itinerary.
The last week in June we were running before a 40 knot sou’wester with 6 meter seas. One needs to keep a careful lookout aft in order to hold on to something and not get washed off the after deck.
Becalmed at 26 south I was able to get the engine started. We motored through 4 days of calms to 19 degrees south where we picked up the trade winds for a pleasant week of sailing the rest of the way to Pago Pago.
Normally we anchor here in the Natural Harbor at Pago Pago, but without a shore boat or enough air in the tanks to start the main engine; the harbor master let us use the small marina dock to tie up until we can get the engine room back on line.
I did manage to get the Sabb running again, but it still needs an injector specialist. I have located another liferaft, but haven’t had any luck finding a dingy. The port fuel tank that had 1500 liters of diesel took on 500 liters of sea water during the storm. Seems it is going to cost $500 dollars just to pump it out and dispose of it. I don’t have half the money we need to cover the basics. And there is no one new joining us till we get to Apia.