Westbound Crossing of the South Pacific Ocean from Tahiti to Torres Strait on board Moonwave
For most people or cruisers a “pacific crossing” is the passage from Panama or Galápagos Islands to French Polynesia. Especially the passage from Galapagos to Marqueses is the longest distance without Safe Harbour or islands in the middle to stop. Once arrived in the islands of French Polynesia, there are plenty of island groups on the way westbound to Australia or New Zealand. Island hopping in the South Pacific is long distance sailing compared to the Caribbeans but around 600 nm normally gets you to the next paradise. Did I say “normally”, because 2020 is not a normal year and most of the island groups are closed for visitors and cruisers. French Polynesia was open and we had a great stay there from Mid July to beginning of Oct. See “Tahiti/Moorea ”
The plan is/was to get to the Indian Ocean to continue the trip westbound. And I must say, without being able to stop anywhere, the second part of crossing the Pacific Ocean is a bit longer than the first half. See Darwin to Gaugin for info regarding our passage to Nuku Hiva as well some info about previous ocean passages on board Moonwave [Crossings – Atlantic vs. Pacific].
We left Tahiti westbound towards Port Morseby in Papua New Guine, just east of the famous Torres Straight. As it’s again only the two of us on board, we choose a northerly route with light winds. This added some extra miles but it kept us in comfortable wind range. Lot’s of jibing and zig zagging downwind. We were missing our Spinnaker which unfortunately was not operational when sailing along in 10 to 12 knots of breeze. But Moonwave glides along very nicely even in light winds. We had a couple of days with big squalls in the Intertropical Convergence Zone and some big swells but all went fine on board.
Moonwave behaved great during the trip and we had no major failures on board and we are still always amazed on how well she sails in light winds. Most of the time faster than the true wind speed.
We had a quick pitstop in Port Morseby to get some fresh food, a night of sleep at the anchor. This allowed us to resource for the second part of the trip. We didn’t clear in, didn’t meet anyone and were not allowed ashore. One more country on our list to come back to visit later on. The shore line of Papua New Guine looked amazing.
On our trip across the Pacific, we passed close to some amazing looking islands and atolls – we definitively want to come back to discover some of them. But for now, the Indian Ocean is calling us !!!
Here are some more pictures of what views to expect when sailing along for almost 4500 nautical miles in the South Pacific? Enjoy the pictures from onboard…
All of this trip without any fuel consumption ?
Bravo ! Enjoy Indian Ocean !
Unfortunately, for this trip, we used a bit of diesel for the generator as in very light winds the regeneration is not as efficient. We didn’t motor at all, which was great and used the little wind at it’s max. It also didn’t help that the sky was mostly overcast and the sails made shade for the solar panels – so the generator ran once in a while for charging the battery so we could sail in full comfort. But we are very happy with the small consumption of diesel as this is almost “nothing” compared to other sailing catamarans of similar size.
Best regards, Sophie
P.S. Hopefully more wind for the next passages but so far the Indian Ocean looks like very light on wind ;-)
How long did it take you?
We did Tahiti, Fiji in 12 and Fiji to W Papua in a conservative 18 days.
I hope you had a good trip as well and had a good time in Fidji.
I took the two of us 32 days from Tahiti to Bali.
Now we are enjoying Bali ;-) Are you coming this way?
What an innovative yacht.
Just wondering if for the Pacific crossing, you kept a record of litres of fuel consumed and distance travelled? I’m very interested in green yachting and want to understand the potential reduction in fuel consumption.
Thank you for your comment. We didn’t keep exact record unfortunately of the diesel consumption. As mentioned in the blog, on the passage from Tahiti to Bali the wind was very light which was not in favor of hydro-regeneration with our engines. We could have produced a bit of electricity but decided on using all the wind to moving towards our destination.
On the passage from Martinique to Panama we didn’t use any fuel at all. So it’s possible :-) see blog article from March 2020.
It all depends on the wind conditions ;-) Moonwave luckily sails very well in light winds. We still kept our diesel consumption to a minimum with all Luxury on board [electronics/watermaker, electric winches, hydraulics, plenty of fresh water/watermaker, electric cooking, washing machine etc.] The generator ran for 45min every two/three days also because the big sails made a lot of shade on the solar array. I hope that helps, please don’t hesitate to send me an email if further questions.
All the best & fair winds,