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March 9, 2012 Captains Log

posted Mar 9, 2012, 7:17 PM by April Fountain

We are now on our way to Tabuaeran.  We are nearly full with cargo again after discharging  the orders on Kiritimati and filling up the ship with cargo bound for Tabuaeran (Fanning) and Teraina (Washington).   

The cargo is mostly from Punjas Store which is a large supplier  in Fiji  which sells food mostly for the Pacific Islands

We left Kiritimati on a rainy day of weather in the Line Islands (Central Pacific) which is more prone to changing weather in the winter time then other times of year.

For those who are not familiar, close to the equator is an area called  the ITCZ or Inter-tropical Convergence Zone.  This is an area where the Trade winds from the  NE meet up with the winds from the  SE  and what you get is a perpendicular flow of warm moist  air going up into the atmosphere and getting cold by the process. This meeting up of winds makes the two winds unhappy and when air is not happy you get problems usually in the form of rain showers and strong wind squalls.  

By a not so lucky chance we were forced to meet this condition 2 days before reaching landfall in Kiritimati and I never saw such nasty weather in this area. Winds of up to 40 knots and lots of rain.

We broke the Top Mast when it first started to blow and I pointed the ship downwind but not before the back stay wire clamps failed and  the jib went into the water. Five of the crew worked on pulling the jib out working hard in the wind and rain.  Everybody got soaked with rain and sea water and in the end it didn’t make any difference which kind of water it was.  

The jib was saved  from damage and I took the Main sail in for safety . In the afternoon the wind settled down to force 4 and we started to make better speed and have a smoother ride. We set the Main sail only to find out too late that there was a big patch in the sail where it had torn three times before and the sail just ripped apart. It is so sad to see such an important sail ripped as it is. One that has given us such good service for so many voyages and so many miles on our ship.

We are going to see if we can  do any repairs on the sail in Tabuaeran where we can get the man power to do the work.  Hopefully it can be re stitched and that will allow us to make the trip back North to Honolulu  much more efficiently and comfortably then we would be without it.  

We are due to arrive to Tabuaeran tomorrow morning March 10 (Hawaii date).

Once there we will work on getting the Mainsail fixed and discharge our cargo before departing for Teraina .

Captain Evy-