Date: Nov 5, 2014
27° 27' S 178° 37' E. (East!)
24 hour run: 140nm
Previous 24 hour run: 133nm
Water Temp: 71
Distance to go: 513nm (straight line to Opua, my destination port in NZ.)
This is being written at 6am, which makes it still day 4, although day 5 is only 4 hours away.
The sailing so far has been wonderful. I think I'll look back on it and realize this has been the easy part of the trip. The winds have been mainly from the ESE and E initially, and overnight they have started to back around toward the N where they are blowing from now.
There is a weather feature up ahead, looks like a trough - an elongated low. I'll pass through it tonight or early tomorrow, after which the winds will come from the south and then clock around to be more easterly again. After that, there will be one more weather feature I may need to deal with, there may be a high centered on the northern tip of NZ, in which case there will be no wind in the area. From yesterday's GRIB weather data, it looked like I could slow down a little and then when I arrive in that area the high may have moved along and there will be wind. Fortunately (?) the wind where I am has turned a little lighter and I have indeed slowed down. I have been making a consistent 5.5 - 6+ knots on the trip up until last night, currently I'm doing 4 to 5 knots.
When I left the Vava'u group I thought I had the perfect weather window for the trip. Two days later I had changed my mind, as the GRIBs were showing a much more confused jumble of light wind, highs and lows in my path. Yesterday the GRIBs had changed again and I started seeing a reasonable path through everything which I could sail - I could turn on the engine at any time to power through light wind, but I would rather not if I can avoid it. Its part of the game. The other part of the game is to arrive in NZ before any really bad weather arrives in the area, as it has a tendency to do, and so far I'm looking good there. I'm not sure if there is a lesson in how fast the weather is changing other than that it is a challenging weather passage, as everybody who sails it knows.
I had a little squall yesterday, but aside from that its been beautiful sailing so far.
All is well onboard.
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