After leaving Reao Atoll, we sailed four nights en route to Fatu Hiva, the southernmost island of the Marquesas’ archipelago.
True to the forecast, the wind turned light (5-9 knots) from the NE. To make any speed in these light winds we had to use our big blue Reacher headsail. Because the Reacher is a more “billowy” sail, we can only steer 65 degrees off the wind. This forced us to steer further west of our course than we hoped. (Our Genoa is a flatter-cut sail, allowing us to steer closer, up to 45 degrees; However, the Genoa needs 10+ knots to really start working, so it remained in its sail bag.)
As a result of using our bigger sail to keep up speed, we ended up 30nm off course to the west at one point. Nevertheless, it was still a close reach (ie. going slightly “upwind”) meaning that the waves rolled the boat from the side, causing an uncomfortable motion. Ironically, the veteran sailors on board (Spence, Sabrina, and I) were all feeling queasy, while the greenhand (Deena) was doing just fine! She also did fantastic steering by hand. When we are tight on the wind, the autopilot doesn’t work as well, so we hand steered a lot during the first day or two.
Deena had been on board Aldebaran twice before, but they were both short stints of 3-4 days. She had expressed concern about this open ocean passage, especially about being miserably seasick. But she proved to be a super crew member – especially after getting a little help from a scopolamine patch 😉
Deena has the best attributes one can have as a crew member on a boat — staying positive and helpful — despite the fantastic blasts of water that bashed the bottom of her bunk, interrupting her sleep. She’s also a super star in the galley, creating many mouth-watering amazing meals under way. This girl proved she can handle some seas!