Christmas Day finds Kwai beating into 20 knots of NE wind, 2 days out of Christmas Island. Last night we finally cleared the squalls, calms, wind shifts and RAIN of the ITCZ weather.  On our third attempt we have finally crossed 4N and even 5N latitude and are in the clear air of the strong trade winds.  At least it is no longer 30 knots as we met in the last week and we are making 5-6 knots close hauled on the starboard tack with the Detroit Diesel humming at 1500 RPM. Twice we were forced back to Christmas Island by a mainsail torn from foot to head, a slipping clutch and an overheating engine.  We loaded more fuel and 12 tons of stone ballast to keep the ship heavier in the water.  She is balanced pretty well now.  The bow is not blowing off to leeward as much with a deeper forefoot and the main engine raw water pump is not sucking air.  The biggest change is a swapped out water pump is delivering much more water and cooling is not an issue, kinahora.  Earlier we were not able to take full revs from the engine without overheating, and full revs are required to punch the headwinds now prevalent in this latitude.  Also big is that they are blowing 20 knots today and not 30 like a week ago.  With only 250 horsepower to push us, less than many cars, Kwai has many of the characteristics of the engineless sailing ships.  We really cannot punch weather and when that is called for it is more efficient for us to motorsail and tack upwind than to punch straight into it with just the engine.  On this leg we are almost fetching Honolulu and hopefully will not need to put in a tack.  But should the wind come more ahead we will swing over to the port tack and work to the East until we get a good angle to fetch Hawaii. Christmas turkey is in the oven.  The new Cook, Jojo, had cinnamon buns for breakfast along with eggs and bacon, fish and rice.

Crew will have a bit of respite from rain soaked sail changes and catching rain water for the tanks.

We all send out our love to our families on this day.

Captain Brad