Sailing Around The World

Wind Stuck in Prony New Caledonia

Well we sailed or I should say we motored sailed our way south from Noumea. The plan was to sail to the south Island of Island of Pine but the wind was blow 30 knotes right on our nose making forward progress incredibly slow. We realized that we had no chance to make it to Island of Pine and should anchor in Prony Bay out of the swells and wind. We arrived at night and used our electronic charts and visual navigation to slowly work our way into the protected anchorage. We lucked out with a mooring waiting for us to tie too. The wind sure was hollowing that night on the mooring, our wind generator was making 20 plus amps all night.
We started out early in the morning and head out to sea around 7 am to make sure we had enough time to make the 40 nautical mile trip to Island of Pines. The wind once again was right on our nose but as we motor sailed further out to sea the swells grew to 2 meters with breaking waves. The wind was blowing a steady 32 knotes and to make things worse the current was against us. It took 2 hours to go 1.75 nautical miles and at that point I call the passage off. I figured at this speed of 2 knotes we would be getting to Island of Pine by mid night. That is a very dangerous situation because to get into the anchor you have to go through reefs and coral heads. Many boats have been lost trying to make night landings here and all over the pacific. So I used common sense and turned around. Now with a 30 plus tall wind, 2 meter swells and a postage stamp for a sail I was moving at an easy 8 knots. At one point I surfed down a wave hitting 14.5 knots and asked for the sail to be trim even more. Being over powered like we were I ran the chance of rounding up or pitch poling aka rolling the boat over down a wave. It was a fun filled 3 hours and the adrenaline was beginning to pour out my ears. We finally pulled in and tied up to the same mooring. We have been sitting here for two days now and the wind is still blowing 30 knots. We have been hiking around the area ashore discovering lighthouses and hiking trails having fun. But I am going nuts just sitting in one place but its better then smashing through waves all day to then heave too at sea till dawn in 2 meter swells. I guess its smart to take a step back then walk off the cliff in a hurry.

Thanks,
Jacques

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