COURTESY WANDERLUST 3
90.W and 95.W and latitudes 03.S and 08.S, where several yachts have reported unpleasant weather conditions. The area appears to be an extension of the doldrums with little or no wind, thundery squalls, and a heavy swell, which makes conditions very uncomfortable . . . The average length of this passage (Galapagos - Nuka Hiva) is from 15 to 30 days." When feasible, I always try to follow Cornell's advice, so we headed west along 02.S. Four years ago, aboard my Hunter 466 Wanderlust II, I left Nuka Hiva and headed north for Hawaii. At about 02.S, my rudder broke. I drifted west at 2.2 knots for three days before I could construct a 'make-shift' rudder using my spinnaker pole and a broken door. I know now that at 02.S degrees I would at least have a strong current going my way.
We made good time and, at about 100. W, we turned southwest to cross down to the 08.S line, which I then followed directly into Nuka Hiva at 09.S. We listened to the Southern Cross Net on SSB radio as other boats reported their positions and weather. With 1,500 miles still to go, we'd passed 10 of the 12 boats that had left before us, and only trailed two large boats that had good breeze. I can't say enough about a favorable current. The first couple of days out of the Galapagos we had wind of six knots or less, but we were in a 2.2 west-setting current. When our speed dropped to five knots over the bottom, I used the motor, as, in addition to raising our over-the-bottom speed to seven
knots, it would allow us to charge the batteries and make water. We got about two hours of motoring per gallon at 1,500 rpm and, with the current in our favor, a total of seven knots over the bottom. The cost of fuel wasn't a consideration, as it's only $1 in the Galapagos, thanks Harker, in the center, is book-ended by Ben and Jaime, his two crew from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. Both were new to sailing. COURTESY WANDERLUST 3
After a four-year absence, Harker returned to the Marquesas, but this time is heading to Sydney as opposed to Hawaii.
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.