Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Passage to NZ, day 10

33° 18' S 175° 12' E
Water Temp: 64.5
Distance to go: 123nm

I'm on my final leg into Opua, New Zealand. The last two days have been bumpy and physical sailing.

I crossed the front two days ago. It started to rain lightly at 5am on the 17th and I decided to look more closely at my weather files. When viewing the weather as wind barbs (arrows) it was hard to identify where the front was, it was somewhere between two points, 60nm apart. So I switched over to streamline view and the front popped out. As an experiment I measured how far away from it I was and when to expect I would cross it - and it turned out to be very close. This front was very distinct - I was sailing along, minding my own business, when the wind started to fade away. Within 10 minutes the wind had picked up in the new forecast direction - the front was pretty sharply defined.

My goal after crossing the front was to sail as close to the wind as I could while making my way SE until the winds again backed and would take me into Opua. The weather model was forecasting that the wind would back from being SSW to S and then through SE and E where it is now - although it took two days to make that change. After crossing the front and setting Luckness up to sail as close to the wind as possible, I didn't adjust anything for almost two days. The sails were reefed for the conditions, which remained pretty constant and Luckness followed the wind, always heading up as far as I had asked. In this case, I set the Monitor up to sail at around 45 degrees apparent, which means I sailed around 38 to 50, given the waves I was sailing into. This was a comfortable range as if I head very much above 35 the genoa starts to luff and shake, which is hard on everything.

The weather forecasts were showing that the winds would start to back sharply last night which would allow me to tack and head towards my destination, rather than SE past New Zealand. The forecast was again accurate, and last night at around 10pm I tacked and started heading almost due West. This gave me a positive VMG (I was making progress towards my destination again) and as the wind started to back the VMG got better and better. I've now gone from sailing close hauled, through close reaching to a beam reach where I am now. Yay!

The sky is blue, the winds are around 12 knots which is giving me around 6 knots of boat speed and a nice ride. This is a drastic improvement over the last few days.

I mentioned food briefly in my last post - the last two breakfasts have also been from cans. Dinner has been Dinty Moore stew (from a can) with added rice. I'll be able to make myself a proper breakfast today, which will be nice.

I also mentioned air temperature in my last post, expecting that as soon as I had crossed the front it would get much colder. Its cooled down a little, but its actually very pleasant sailing conditions, nothing like the cold I expected.

If everything goes according to plan, I should be into Opua tomorrow, Friday.

All is well aboard.

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