Tag Archives: tuamotus

Solo Sailing Through the Tuamotus!

While Kim is visiting her family in Berlin, I am solo sailing through the Tuoamotus, looking for the coolest places to bring her back to. This archipelago is definitely one of the most beautiful areas of the world!

Rangiroa Atoll

Sailing Zingaro | Rangiroa – the largest atoll in the Tuamotus

The Tuamotus are a group of atolls in the South Pacific. Very remote, very beautiful and very dangerous. Before the GPS age sailors avoided most of this area, because it was too dangerous to safely navigate. It is still dangerous if you’re not on your A-game – just this month three boats have been wrecked on reefs here. I saw one of them, when I was coming into the pass here in Rangiroa. It’s a constant reminder to be diligent.

Interesting notes on this journey:

My main sail ripped out of the mast track

Imagine you go outside at 2am and see your main flying in the wind, only held on by the halyard at the top and the foot at the bottom. And your alone. And it’s blowing hard with 6’ waves. But dangerous, that work. You can easily slip and fall in trying to wrangle the main. The only way I could do it was to let the halyard down almost to the deck, with the main spilling aft of the boat, and pull/push it back into the bag. Harder than it sounds, that thing is heavy. We are getting a new track shipped in, it’s and aftermarket tides marine track, they told me this happens after 10 years. Not sure the age.

No sleep – I start to hallucinate

It’s really nerve-racking sailing here solo. I usually sleep in 1 hour blocks, after the sun rises, no sails (drifting), and as long as I’m not within 20nm of land. I’m not sure how others do this… but here in the Tuamotus it’s hard to sleep because you know, if you sleep too long or the wind changes, you’ll loose your boat. At the same time after 36hr of no sleep I start to hallucinate (I know this from my navy days) and that’s no good either.

Sailing on/off anchor

I’ve really been trying to practice sailing on/off anchor, tacking with various sail setups (only jib, reduced jib, etc) and trying to learn the boat a bit better. Even after three years and 20k miles on her… I still have things to learn and I can still be a better sailor. That said, this last journey I sailed off anchor in one atoll, sailed 80nm to the next, through the pass, and sailed onto anchor in between a bunch of boats here. I’m damned proud of that. Too many people rely on the engines far too often. You don’t need them if you’re patient and willing to give it just a little more effort. It may pay off in the long run, as engines only fail when you need them the most.

Ok, enough ranting! Have a great weekend! Kim is finishing up the next episode about our arrival the Ecuador!

Much love!
James