Date: Nov 9, 2014
34° 15' S 174° 34' E
24 hour run: 99nm
Previous 24 hour run: 113nm
Water Temp: 62.6
Distance to go: 64nm
If all goes well, this will be my last night at sea before my arrival. If everything remains relatively constant, I should be there tomorrow afternoon. Yay!
After going through the trough, as I mentioned, its been an upwind bash. Yesterday the winds started to mellow, but I remained as high into the wind as I could point. The current wasn't helping, it was pushing me west when I wanted to make east. This morning, the wind turned even lighter and then finally faded to 6 knots - which was not enough to make headway in the seas. I was pondering on my next move, still, 20 minutes later, when the wind arrived. It arrived from a new direction - it had backed by 40 degrees which was perfect for the course I wanted to run. I trimmed the sails for a beam reach, which was wonderful, and started moving faster and faster. The winds built from almost nothing to 20-25 knots within a hour. Reefed down to a double reefed main and my double reefed genoa I was sailing comfortably, making good time to Opua. The wind has kept the same direction, more or less but has fallen in intensity all day.
Its currently just after sunset where I am, the seas have been mellowing out over the last 6 hours, I'm sailing at 5.5 knots through the almost flat water in 10 knots of wind, wind at 60deg relative, port side. This is what the sailing literature is full of - absolutely wonderful sailing conditions.
Behind me, by roughly 150 to 200 nm, the winds are blowing 25 to 30+, and have been for a little while now. There are a few boats I'm in contact with via the SSB net back there. I'm really happy with how this weather window has worked out for me.
Through this passage, I have come across 4 freighters so far, but I haven't seen any sail boats. This afternoon I heard two boats hail each other on VHF. VHF doesn't have a very great range, its meant to be 'line of sight' although sometimes goes a bit further. At around 4pm someone hailed 'the sailboat on their starboard side' and the signal sounded super clear, so I answered but couldn't see them. Turns out they were 20 miles east of me. Later they hail a different boat they see, and again the wrong boat answers - that's at least 5 boats now, all headed to Opua and all within VHF range of each other. For a while I thought I may have been one of the only boats on the customs dock when I arrive. Now I'm hoping there's room for me!
I'll try to send an update out once I arrive. That may happen after I sleep, as I'll be up for a while dealing with a close coast, then a channel into Opua, then docking, then waiting for customs, then dealing with customs, then moving off the dock to find a mooring or somewhere to anchor. I'll be looking forward to shutting the boat down, after checking in and sleeping without my timer going off.
All is well onboard.
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---- Update Nov 12, 2014
I try not to edit the posts I send in while underway. There are plenty of mistakes in them, my writing about the wind backing when I mean veering, spelling mistakes, poor grammar and so on. Its part of the passage - you get a little more tired and editing your writing is more difficult when the sailing is more difficult. This post was sent out without a title. I've edit it to have one now. Oops.