To Easter Island, carried by winds

© Maeva Bardy - Tara Expeditions Foundation

29 August 2016

Tara’s arrival at Easter Island, originally planned for September 1st, could well be a few hours in advance thanks to particularly favorable winds. After leaving Colombia with the din of engines, Aeolus finally gifted us with a crossing under sail.

The trip didn’t start with favorable weather conditions. “The first week we had headwinds all the way”, explains Samuel Audrain, Tara’s captain. “We first had to wait until passing the Galapagos to catch trade winds from the southeast at 20 to 25 knots”. A welcome change in weather since the engines had used up almost all the fuel necessary for the Colombia-Easter Island crossing. It was time to hoist the sails!


Tara sous voiles, vue du haut des 27 mètres de mât.Tara under sail, seen from the top of the 27-meter mast – © Yann Chavance – Tara Expeditions Foundation


Since the arrival of these crosswinds, Tara regained her tranquility, under full sail with the engines turned off. You don’t have to raise your voice to be heard in the wheelhouse or on the rear deck. Discussions at meals are troubled only by the creaking of the boat surfing on the waves. Temperatures are cooler since we crossed the equator: we no longer need to sleep with our heads glued to noisy cabin fans. In the evening pants and sweatshirts have re-appeared. « In the past few days the conditions are ideal» résume le capitaine. « It’s beautiful weather, the boat is stable and above all we are advancing quickly: we couldn’t have hoped for more! »


Les voiles de Tara portent leurs ombres sur le spi gonflé à l’avant.Shadows of Tara’s sails on the spinnaker – Yann Chavance / Tara Expeditions Foundation


Estimated navigation times are based on a speed of 7 knots, obliging us to push the engines when the wind drops. For the last few days, Tara has averaged 8 to 9 knots. During the quarter watches, the sailors are competing to see who records the highest speed. The record at the moment is 13 knots. Finally, in the best case scenario and if Aeolus continues to spoil us, we might arrive at Easter Island earlier, on the morning of August 31st. After 2 weeks at sea, this prospect delights the crew, eager to meet the island’s legendary giants.

Yann Chavance

Related articles