Hikianalia Report: October 14, 7:20 PM HST, Sailing “wing on wing,” directly downwind at 7-11 knots

Watch captain Kealoha Hoe (right) steering Hikianalia, Auckland, NZ training sail, Oct. 2012. ©Natatlie Tsoukala

Today, we spent most of the day “wing on wing”, meaning that our two large sails, the main and the mizzen, were deployed one to each side, like the wings of a butterfly. This is a beautiful point of sail for going directly downwind, but it requires great concentration and touch by the steersmen. Many of our crew had never experienced this skill before, so it was a great training and learning opportunity. This “dead downhill” run let us reel off mile after mile to the east at good speed, 7 to 11 knots all day. Once, for a few seconds, we even surfed at 14 knots! At midday, the wind was about 25 knots, but it has slackened to about 15 knots at sunset.

Wing on Wing

August 5, 2011: Vaka Moana sailing Wing on Wing into San Francisco Bay
© 2012 Mark Hofmann / Oceanic Nature Film Productions, 2011. From Latitude 38 blog.

Hikianalia’s construction settling pains seem to have mostly sorted themselves out and there is much less creaking, groaning and popping to disturb off-duty slumberers.  It was nice, easy sailing all day – the sun was warm but the wind had a definite nip to it.  Although the wind at our position is westerly, it is part of a low-pressure system, which circulates in a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere, unlike at home.  So, much of the air passing over the canoe originated in the Antarctic.  No one is freezing, but lots of layering of clothing is going on.

Faafaite is sailing off to our port (left side).  We have developed into a nice pattern of sailing as a team, there to support each other.

Sail Data

  • time: 2012-10-15 05:20 UTC/GMT (19:20 HST Oct 14)
  • position: 33 degrees 55.5 minutes S 169 degrees 22.9 minutes W
  • course: 075 degrees True
  • speed: 7.5  knots
  • weather: mostly overcast, mid-level veil (remains of a low pressure system south of us), light rain squalls nearby – not threatening
  • wind: west, 15 to 20 knots, has lightened through the afternoon
  • sea state: W swells 8 to 12 feet, SW swells 8 to12 feet, NW swells 6 to 8 feet
  • vessel and crew condition:  all ok (Faafaite also)

Education Data:

  • Celestial Observations, Navigation Stars, Planets and Moon Phases: sun only.  Today, we steered principally by the wind, which determined our course. Because of the wind, our best course was 090 degrees True rather than 075 degrees True, which we had been holding for days.
  • Animal Life: None observed.  No fish today.
  • Sea Birds and Sea Life: Only a few birds today, some flying and some bobbing around on the sea.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email