As I mentioned in previous articles, Kjartan has agreed to crew for SV Backchat back to Australia, together with Jock. He was taking welding classes and was not be able to go until the classes ended on October 16. Plans were made to cast off on October 18. They did take off at 6:45 am that Sunday morning. One hour later they found out the autopilot was not working. Not wanting to hand steer 24/7 all the way, they turned around and came back.
After replacing the autopilot with a spare one, they again took off yesterday, October 20th, at 6:30 am. Weather and seas expectations? They expect winds to be mostly on the nose, light and possibly current against them. The plan was to head due south, in between the Indonesian islands, where sea currents may be more favorable for them. I will try to update this article if I can get their positions everyday.
Day 1 - October 21 at 6:00 am -140 miles, bearing 140 degrees, seas smooth, southwesterly wind.
Day 2 - Oct 22 at 6:00 am - 140 nm, motoring 4.6 knots, bearing 138 degrees, seas NNE, southerly wind, .5 to .7 knot current against. Heading east of Halmahera.
Day 3 - Oct 23 at 6:00 am - 100 nm, motoring 4.0 knots, bearing 145 degrees, seas NNE, light winds with one hour of NNE winds last night.
Day 4 - Oct 24 at 8:30 am - 130 nm, speed 3.5 knots, bearing 145 degrees, against current. Had 15-20 knots of wind yesterday all afternoon which was not in the forecast. My note: I think they were going through this system (convergence zone) which is right across New Guinea.
Day 5 - Oct 25 at 8:30 am - 100 nm, speed 4.0 knots, bearing 135 degrees, against 1 knot current. Total 620 miles so far.
Day 6 - Oct 26 at 8:00 am - 105 nm, motoring, speed 5 knots, bearing SE. Both guys need a shave badly by now.
Day 7 - Oct 27 at 8:00 am - 125 nm, no details given due to bad propagation. Total to date = 857 nm
Day 8 - Oct 28 at 8:00 am - 107 nm, 10k SE winds, bearing 115 degrees against current. Total to date = 964 nm, ETA Saturday ( 3 more sleeps - yehhey!!)
Day 9 - Oct 29 at 8:00 am - 132 nm, 12k East winds, bearing 165. Sailing at 8 knots speed. Will try to arrive Gove Friday evening. Good easterly winds now.
Day 10 - Oct 30 at 8:00 am - 160 nm, NNE winds, bearing 140. Sailing at 7 knots. 145 miles to go.
Day 11 - Oct 31 at 7:00 am - Had a good rest the night before anchored in Wessel Isles. Now sailing at 9 knots toward Gove with 22k wind. Autopilot not working (very lucky for this to happen with ony 40 miles to go).
Day 11 - Oct 31 at 12 noon - GOVE, AUSTRALIA!! Welcome and Congratulations. You made it in 11 days!! I must say that if it was Wiskun, we wouldn't make it this fast.
The destination - Gove Harbour/Gove Yacht Club - known as the Gateway to the Northern Territory and Indonesia, is located in Melville Bay on the North West tip of the Gulf of Carpentaria. From the pictures, it is a beautiful bay, with white sand and spectacular sunsets.