First it was the strong, gusty westerlies, then there was a huge southerly swell and now all we can see is squally showers with no wind whatsoever.


We’ve been sitting in the same spot, pausing until the current nasty weather system travels through, in anticipation of better conditions to continue our passage westwards. Cruisers, as a group, become fanatical about the weather. This quite understandable trait escalates to an almost comical level when we’re forced, as a herd, to delay our departures. The nearest yachtie bar is transformed into a club of beard stroking, head scratching, exchanging notes and opinions on the latest grib files, radio nets and every other forecast available to us.


The accuracy and sophistication of today’s weather forecasting is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, knowing exactly where a front, a storm or an area of big swell is makes the business of long offshore or ocean passages immeasurably easier and safer, especially for those of us fairly new to sailing. On the other hand, the availability of such detailed forecast information can lead to an obsession with getting the ‘perfect’ forecast to leave on.


It’s worth remembering from time to time that even the best forecasting is still just very thorough and astute guesswork. They are fallible and just because you have a print out in your hand showing the predicted ideal wind for a seamless passage does not mean that the sea and sky are going to play ball.


And so we are halted, all our momentum of journeying west has petered out as we idle in one particular anchorage and compare reports with the other cruisers. Some brave souls have ventured out ahead of us so the latest preoccupation is with relaying the downright horrid time that they are describing back to us via radio. We’re somewhat ghoulishly pleased by this fact, as it strengthens our justifications for staying put.


What to do in this situation? When you’re waiting for a shift in the weather you become kind of stuck. It seems pointless to move on or away to another anchorage nearby, especially if where you are gives you good access to forecasts via wifi. The list of myriad boat jobs is beckoning and yet you can’t really immerse yourself in any of them as the boat needs to stay in it’s go-state and be ready for the front to blow through, enabling you to get moving again.


It’s laughable really. Here we are, well-found and well-travelled true bluewater cruising boats, dotted along the South Pacific, and yet we’re ground to a standstill, not even venturing to explore the delights of the other side of the lagoon we’re in just in case we get the forecast we want. Perhaps that’s why all talk is fixated on weather and weather alone, as it’s hard to do much else when you’re trapped in paradise.


Really every passage is a leap of faith. There are no guarantees. Sometimes you have to accept that you just get the weather you get and have to deal with what the elements choose to send your way.


Still, it’s comforting to know that when the next leg is done, and that journey is complete, there will be another crowd, equally curious to hear how you fared and wanting to know your thoughts on the passages to come.