Our family cruising photo taken in the Bora Bora lagoon in 1977. Note the banana stalk hanging off the mizzen boom, and trim physiques of the group! We’d been relaxing for a few days, chilling, reading, swimming, and for the first time since leaving California nine months previous not working on boat on maintenance projects. Those were the days..
Our Bill Trip designed Intermezzo, a 50-foot light air “rocket” in that era, designed to the CCA racing rule. She represented a major portion of our house budget, we were uninsured, and we were always a little worried about the lack of watertight bulkheads as well as the 24(!) through hulls. Although she wan’t the perfect boat, or even halfway to ideal, at least we were out there cruising.
Linda, Elyse, and Sarah shell collecting on Suverov atoll in the Northern Cook Islands, a magical dot in the South Pacific, where we almost parked Intermezzo on a permanent basis. We’d left Bora Bora in a disturbed weather pattern that turned out to be the beginning of reinforced trade winds. It blew 30 to 40 knots from the east-southeast, and we had a glorious sail under heavy staysail and double reefed main. Our celestial navigation was suspect because of the boat’s motion. A low atoll is hard to see from a distance, sometimes not seen until you are right on top of it. In the pre GPS days when a landfall like this didn’t show up at the designated time, we had a bailout plan to change direction and get us out of the area – we hoped. In this case the palm trees on an islet off the pass hove into view at the appointed time, and all aboard heaved a sigh of relief.
Your correspondent began to relax, a difficult landfall behind us with the prospect of a calm night’s sleep ahead. Starting down the companionway for a bit of sustenance and taking a last look around as we crested a wave, there appeared a line of breakers. Those palm trees we had sighted were on the other side of the reef. Course was adjusted to the north, and we eventually made our way through the swiftly flowing current of Suverov’s pass. And we learned to make sure we had a lookout on deck at all times when we were in reef strewn waters.
En route to Noumea, New Caledonia, from Whangaroa harbor at the top of New Zealand. It had been blowing a gale for three days. We’d lingered in lovely Whangaroa, enjoying warm weather as a high pressure pushed across the Tasman Sea. In those days we were not sufficiently weather aware to understand that after the high pressure comes the low, and that meant head winds. Timing was everything as the winds were light at first, and our friends Jim and Cheryl Schmidt powered over the horizon while we sailed. They were far enough north that they missed our head winds, and had a lovely trip while we had to battle across. We vowed to learn more about weather routing and to make freer use of the engine when winds were light!