he gray dawn came reluctantly, with occasional drizzle that at times became torrential rain as increasingly heavy squall lines passed through. We’d left Niuatoputapu, Tonga, four days earlier aboard our Flying Dutchman 50, Small World II, and the leading edge of the cold front we had been racing ever since was finally over us. For several hours, we’d been plowing through intensifying squalls under triple reefed main, staysail and reefed yankee. Just ahead lay our destination, Savusavu Bay, on the south coast of Vanua Levu, the second-largest isle in the nation of Fiji. It had been an interesting trip. What had started out as a fairly boisterous passage with 20 to 25 knots of wind and 6- to 9-foot seas ad mellowed to an easy broad reach in around 15-18 knots for most of the next two days. But conditions changed as we closed in on Fiji. At midmorning on our final full day out, as we skidded past several low atolls while entering Fijian waters, we watched somewhat apprehensively for the rapid wind shift expected behind a strong frontal line that was approaching us from the southwest; with each successive download of the GRIB files, it drew closer. By around midnight of the final night out, as the wind lighten with the approaching trough, we actually reverted to motorsailing. At about 0200, the shift came, and with it the squalls began in earnest. Luckily, the wind shift to the southwest happened gradually, so we were able to lay a course, with a few degrees to spare, past the heavy breakers of the menacing barrier reef to clear the entrance to Savusavu Harbor.