28 April 2012 3:16:00 AM AEST

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thanks,for comment,, it just got ten times worse... facing three days of near gale winds to Niue. Bad night..
300 plus miles to get on west side of island and out of the wind. good news is it is racing me straight there.

Forecast for Niue:

Friday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain, then thunderstorms in the afternoon. High of 29C with a heat index of 33C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 25 to 30 km/h. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 3.0 mm possible.

Friday night: Overcast with thunderstorms. Low of 23C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 30 to 35 km/h. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 10.7 mm possible.

Saturday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. High of 28C with a heat index of 31C. Windy. Winds from the East at 25 to 30 km/h. Chance of rain 50% with rainfall amounts near 0.5 mm possible.

Saturday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. Low of 22C. Windy. Winds from the East at 25 to 30 km/h. Chance of rain 50% with rainfall amounts near 1.0 mm possible.

Sunday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. High of 29C with a heat index of 33C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 25 to 30 km/h. Chance of rain 20%.

Sunday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. Low of 23C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 25 to 35 km/h. Chance of rain 40% with rainfall amounts near 0.8 mm possible.

Monday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. High of 30C with a heat index of 36C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 25 to 35 km/h. Chance of rain 40%.

Monday night: Overcast. Low of 22C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 20 to 30 km/h.

Tuesday: Overcast. High of 28C with a heat index of 33C. Windy. Winds from the ESE at 20 to 30 km/h.

Tuesday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm. Low of 23C. Windy. Winds from the East at 25 to 35 km/h. Chance of rain 50% with rainfall amounts near 1.0 mm possible.

27 April 2012 10:55:00 AM AEST

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Finally, last night about seven, the winds picked up from the south, and we made good speed, over 5 knots at times, especially when a rain cloud was close. The wind held all night, not quite so fresh, and we made 53 miles in 24 hours. Today, the wind has held and we are nor 350 miles from Niue. Clinton's Niue forecast has winds there at 30 to 40 knots.! I don't believe that. 40 knots is Force 8, 35 is a gale. The gribs I got show a maximum of twenty knots wind up to Sunday. And I am taking the gribs with a grain of salt.. taking off 5 knots from their max each time. Tonight at midnight they forecast 20 knots from ESE or E, so we shall see. The power deficit has me puzzled. I managed, by shutting off the fridge, and using only the mast top nav light, to keep the drain down to a9 or 20 amps over night. Today it was -216. All day I have watched as it trickled down a bit as we charged. I was hoping it would get below -180 before dark. But we have been making 5 knots, the sun is shining, I shut off the fridge, and suddenly at 2:30 I snuck a peek at the guage, and found that it said the batteries were charged.. in fact it said we had a reading of +11. Fancy that. The voltage is 13.2, we are charging about plus 3 or 4 amps, with the fridge on. I can't figure out how we suddenly got full power.? Has there been a mistake? It is flashing that we have a full charge. I topped up the battery water in Mazatlan, then I did it again north of the equator..although they didn't need an awful lot of water. But this result has me stymied. I guess the system just gave up and said okay, start over. Today we should make about 70-72 miles. If we get stronger winds, then we should get to Niue Monday night or Tuesday morning. I am looking forward to the break.

26 April 2012 10:41:00 AM AEST

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Well, today is another great day in paradise. Beautiful sunshine, calm placid seas, fluffy white clouds, the closest human being is 78 miles away at Palmerston Island in the Southern Cooks, and I am 425 miles from Niue. It seems like Niue is a million miles away, because in the last 24 hours, we have traveled a magnificent 12 miles. It's a good thing that Niue is an independant nation., with a hospital yet. They might have a psychiatrist there. He could tell me whether after sailing 4700 miles I should kill myself now, or wait another 2300 miles to Sydney and do it there? How immensely richly rewarding it is to sit bobbing in this ocean paradise. I have taken the sails down five times in the last 24 hours, because the no wind flapping threatens to tear the wretched things to pieces, but mostly because the senseless flapping is driving me mad. A hint of a breeze comes up. The flag on the stern stands to attention. I believe it, and raise the sails, and spend four hours twitching the course and angle to get the least little puff of wind. All to make 4 miles. Is it worth it? I will tell you on thing. Whoever touted the southeast trades created a fantasy, a myth. I am west and bit south of Tahiti, where the guides tell me that Tahiti is in the southeast trades belt, where the "predominant" are from the south east. Predominant. WHEN there are winds, they might come from the SE. But I have seen them from the North, East South east, and south. But rarely. IF there were winds here at 19 degrees south of the equator, I missed them. Two days now of drifting. My mind is reeling. How can there be no winds? I am ready to get out and walk, it would be faster. 43 miles. 50 some miles. Wow, what speed.

25 April 2012 10:10:00 AM AEST

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The regional gribs that I get every day from Saildocs, for roughly two degrees west of where we are situated, and about two degrees in the direction we are going, in this case west to Niue, show east, northeast and north winds over the next few days, with velocities of twenty knots starting on the 27th. I would probably discount these by five knots, because so far when they say ten knots, it turns out to be five. And the way they are forecast to shift suggests that the low at 27S is forecast to move north. So far it has been stationary. Today I have been on a starboard tack, pole out, wing on wing, in light, almost nothing airs, but making two knots because of the westerly current. If we make thirty miles since morning it will be something. We are still 450 miles east of Niue. If we only make 50 or 60 miles a day, then that could take 9 days..putting us there well after the 'gale' forecast (35 knot winds) for Saturday. And it is hot. And we are not getting any power out of the generator. The deficit this morning was -240 amphours, well into the yellow for discharge. The solar panels are putting out good today, but at 2 pm, seven hours of sunlight has only brought the reading to -224. The next 4 hours will do some more, but it means that I either do not turn on the nav lights tonight, or I have to run the engine. Last night two hours only brought it down 30 amp hours. If the twenty knot winds do arrive, then the generator will put out some power, but it is frustrating to poke along at two knots in the heat, knowing that you will have to expend fuel just to charge.

23 April 2012 12:24:00 PM AEST

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Power is still a big problem, mainly because we can't find winds to get us faster than 3.5 knots. At that low speed, the generator hardly turns over. Today nwe might make 73 miles. It is very depressing to poke along at such a snails's pace. Maybe the good part is that if we go slow enough, the weather ahead will come and go by the time we get there. Like a gale forecast for Saturday at Niue. At the rate I am traveling, I am 8 days away. Hopefully the gale will hit on Saturday, linger for a day or two, and be gone by the time I get there. Well, I can have hopes you know.

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