Tuesday, 24 February 2009

South Seas Tradewind Sailing Passage to the Marquesas

Picking up a recent copy of the excellent sailing magazine 'Ocean Navigator' I was totally gobsmacked by the image on the cover. It was taken from up the mast looking down into the cockpit on a brilliant South Seas tropical day - with the crystal sharp atmospheric clarity only found in this part of the world - sailing downwind 'on passage' to the Marquesas Islands or Isles de Marqesas if you are French.

All sails are set and full, the boat is moving beautifully and the captain in ragged shorts and faded cap is 'standing watch' clasping a chilled glass of chardonnay - all is well in the world!

This image(to the right) sent such a sharp piercing into my soul I was stunned into immobility for several minutes reminiscing. It took me back ten years previously when I was sailing my own yacht 'Tere Moana' down the identical route. It was so vivid in my memory that I had to retire immediately to the nearest cafe to read the article in 'Ocean Navigator'.

Needless to say the remainder of that afternoon drifted by in a fog of happy memories!





The article was written by Josh Warren-White on the sailboat s/v 'Bahati' out of Freeport, Maine, USA.
That's Josh to the right 'on watch'!

His Mum and Dad are Nat and Betsy Warren-White who are circumnavigating on 'Bahati' and are currently 'on the hard' in Auckland New Zealand, carrying out much needed repairs and maintenance prior to setting sail on their next leg toward Vanuatu April/May.

As I checked the details that afternoon I was struck many times over of the similarities between the two sets of voyagers. The boats are the same length of 12.5 metres(43ft.), build year of 1988 the same for both vessels, both keel stepped for strength and both well found vessels for ocean voyaging.

The routes sailed were practically identical with ports of call San Blas Islands, Panama, Galapagos Islands, Marquesas, Tuamotus, French Polynesia, Nuie, Tonga and on down to New Zealand (they for their first visit, me, returning home). Both 'Bahati' and 'Tere Moana' struck 'Big' weather on the passage from Tonga to Opua in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

To cap it off finally, when I set sail on the Pacific crossing, I departed from Kennebunkport, Maine, USA, which is a very short sail up the coast from Freeport!

Reading through the article and following 'Bahati' and crews' exploits, I was re-reading my own voyage and the memories came flooding back so strongly that I lost all track of time.

So, all of you budding voyagers, whatever level your planning has reached and more particularly if you are still in the dreaming stage, press on, get started and let nothing get in the way of you leaving port for the first time on Your voyage of a lifetime.

Nat and Betsy have their own website and blog and you can check out their progress and latest adventures on http://www.bahati.net/

Images courtesy Nat and Betsy Warren-White

You can read much more about ocean voyaging and passagemaking in my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana' downloadable from my website http://www.sailboat2adventure.com/


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