Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 3: Tahiti And The Societies page 43 of 109

Two days previously, a pair of yachts - the crews of which were friends we had met at Nuku Hiva - were in the Tuamotus.

    Jack, Rithva, and son Benjamin aboard their American ketch Kulkuri were anchored in Ahe's expansive lagoon when the warning came of the impending cyclone Reva. Needless to report, a low-lying atoll offers scant protection against a hurricane. The primary reason is that a cyclone's eye is an area of extremely low barometric pressure where the mean sea level can rise fifteen feet, causing an inundation of even the atoll's highest point of land. Anchored in 25 foot seas within a lagoon could prove disastrous. As such, Jack insisted they depart for the open sea. But Rithva was terrified to put to sea, and refused to go. Jack offered that if Rithva wanted to stay, she could row ashore in the dinghy; for adamantly, he was leaving. They departed together and sailed east - out of harm's way.

Secret Sharer

    The Americans aboard Secret Sharer met with less favorable circumstances. Bound for Tahiti, Larry and Mollie were sailing through the Tuamotus when they received radio warnings of cyclone Reva. As did Kulkuri, they headed east. A day later, Reva began veering well away to the west, so Larry turned about, and steered back through the Tuamotu Archipelago. Then in a bizarre twist of fate, Reva turned abruptly as mentioned, grazed Tahiti, and headed back toward the Tuamotus. Ensnared in an ever increasing tail wind, Larry assumed that Secret Sharer was experiencing a strengthening gale - an assumption based on the fact that the American weather stations were broadcasting (incorrectly) that Reva was headed south-west, this a full 10 hours after the hurricane had abruptly reversed its course.

    In a 1981 issue of Cruising World Magazine, Bernard Moitessier wrote, "Never run before the wind [when encountering a hurricane], for to do so will carry you directly into the storm's center and fury." A cyclone's winds spiral into the center, so Larry and Mollie were unknowingly rushing headlong toward a potentially deadly rendezvous with the enormous dragon Reva.

    Via ham radio Larry and Mollie eventually learned of the cyclone's reversal, and its true position and heading. With acumen, Don McClead, a fellow yachtsman, recommended that Larry set his storm sails, run the engine at full rpm, and steer with the wind as far forward on the port beam as was possible. And this they did, while sustaining a tremendous battering, fighting the raging storm throughout the long night. Spitfire sheets and a jib car exploded. Secret Sharer's prop over-revved each time it lifted free of the water. Time and again the fuel line cavitated, and desperately Larry bled the lines. And all the while the sat-nav beeped the desperate warning that the cutter was being driven slowly but inexorably toward Aratua's ever nearing reef. At dawn the yacht was but a scant few miles from disaster. And then miraculously the winds began mitigating, and Secret Sharer barely managed to sail off.

Atol-Toll, by Ray Jardine

The story has 109 pages. This is page 43.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
> GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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