The big jump

Departed! This morning at 8:30, we left the island of Socorro heading towards Hiva Oa, the first stop on the route of the Marquesas Islands, one of the three archipelagos of French Polynesia that we plan to visit. The route from Socorro to our destination effectively prevents us from turning back from now on, as we are sailing with the wind and waves astern, and reversing the route would be very difficult if not impossible. This morning, while we were still at anchor, we set up the whisker poles to prepare Zoe for sailing with twin sails, namely the yankee (jib) and staysail paired.

This is a setup we used with great satisfaction during the Atlantic crossing and should allow us to navigate the first stretch of this passage with ease and efficiency. Unfortunately, this sailing is not very comfortable as the 2-meter following waves induce a constant rolling motion that needs to be managed in the balance of anything not nailed down!

In deciding the route to take, we are assisted by a retired New Zealand meteorologist, Met Bob, who acts as a “weather router,” helping those who rely on his advice to establish and update the route based on weather conditions. So, our route currently consists of three main segments: from Socorro to the ITCZ (InterTropical Convergence Zone – zone of equatorial calms) with downwind, the passage of the ITCZ, an area of no winds or very variable winds, and from the ITCZ to the Marquesas, with more or less a close reach wind. The image below shows the route forecasted by Bob. Naturally, since weather conditions are valid for a limited period of time, it is clear that this route will be updated based on new forecasts.

Socorro, the last land
One-third of the route

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