Biotrek

Crossing the Pacific bound for the Gambier Islands

Everyone has heard of Tahiti and Bora Bora, but French Polynesia’s Gambier Archipelago is far less known. It is, however, one of the pearls of the Pacific Ocean…


Who: Lisa & Pierre, Mia, Robert & Tiller the dog
Where: Between Panama and the Gambiers, French Polynesia
Multihull: Outremer 5X
Blog: www.biotrek-sailing.com 

We travelled 4,000 nm directly from Panama to the Gambiers. The early part of the crossing was with calm following seas, tons of wildlife: whales, dolphins, sea birds, and fish. In the calm waters near the equator, we often rolled up the headsail and stopped the boat for a swim. We always throw a floating rope to hold for safety, and because the boat is typically still moving at about one knot. Since Tiller can’t hold the line, we attach a rope to her harness, so she can stay attached to the boat and cool off too. As every mariner knows, it is important to celebrate King Neptune and give gifts to the sea when you cross the equator. The plan was that the men would dress as women and the woman dress as men. But, as we approached the equator, it was clear the big event would be the middle of the night during Mia’s watch. Mia and I put on pirate costumes and gave Neptune rum and Pringles. Robert got up and helped join in the fun. Pierre had said he did not want to be awakened, so we had a doll effigy for him. About a week into the passage, the sea conditions changed since we were further south in the trade winds, now with the beauty of sailing in perfect conditions. As we passed the halfway point of our trip, the seas became large (10 ft) and confused, and the winds were fickle, constantly changing direction. This meant constant sail changes, putting up our large gennaker or taking it down to roll out the genoa. We could not use the spinnaker, as we were on a beam reach. This was not a leisurely sail across the Pacific. Sailing long distance fast means the boat is the focus of everyone on board. When the boat is constantly moving along at high speeds of 10 to 14 knots, sometimes surfing down waves at 18 to 20 knots, a mistake can mean a blown-out sail, an injury or other disaster. The last five days we passed through two low pressure systems with challenging conditions and winds up to 40 knots. Between the two systems, we crossed a calm area where we needed to motor and caught a large wahoo. The second system hit in the middle of the night. All the rough weather sailing conditions that we endured in the last several days of our crossing were forgotten upon arrival, with the striking beauty of the Gambiers…

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LAGOON 400
Location :
ROSAS, Spain
Year :
2012
275 000,00 Inc. tax€