St. Francis Island to Eucla

eucla map  

Yes, we did leave St. Francis Island in a hurry, didn't we? It's that way sometimes. There's no internet at St. Francis, so we rely on SailMail to receive our GRIBs and weather once a day. This morning's weather showed a one-day delay in the strong SW winds we were expecting and better winds for heading to Eucla, 232nm to the west. We decided it was worth the rush and the push to get to Eucla, rather than remain at St. Francis for the next 5-6 days.

The morning calm was very welcome. We dug out our old genoa out of mothballs under the forward bunk and had it rigged, hoisted and furled before you could say “what happened to the calm?”. We folded our clewless jib down below because the wind had come up again. It was a comical scene … too much sail in too little an area. But we managed to get it folded eventually and into a sailbag and snugged back in its place on the port settee secured with the lee cloth.


folding the jib


While David removed the sail cover from the main, I made a quick chicken-rice passage soup. (Gotta love that ready-to-go chicken I canned/preserved last month.) Before we hauled anchor, David backed down on it to see if we were really hooked. We definitely were … which was most reassuring. Grass on the anchor was thick and reminded us of our days in Patagonia when hacking off the kelp with a machete was a typical occurrence. Then we were off and the St. Francis Islands were behind us, soon lost from view. Leaving around Noon assured us we'd arrive at Eucla in daylight hours as long as we watched our speed.


grassy anchor


We sailed with a fine 15kt SE wind. We glided up and down smooth, long period 10' (3m) SW rollers. It was cold, despite the clear, sunny sky. We were back in sweats, hats, gloves and heavy offshore weather jackets. The SE winds blew themselves out during the night and we motored in 5kts of wind for a few hours, making some fresh water and charging all our gear below as we went. I'd forgotten just how beautiful and peaceful a night watch could be. I watched the moon rise in the east and the sun set in the west and followed upside-down Orion towards Eucla in a sky full of stars.


night sky


Gradually, the wind switched to the east and at first light, we rigged the whisker pole and enjoyed a good downwind sail. One more day to Eucla. If all goes well, we should arrive mid-morning tomorrow. Stay tuned.


poled out jib