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Leaving Tasmania

Jean on a good day for drying laundry

It is never a good day for plumbing

February 19, 2015

Tasman Sea day three

42'47S 155'10E

We knew the first two days were going to be tough. The Hobart Met office had said to expect strong winds and swells from two directions, a guaranteed uncomfortable start. They also promised this would get better when we reached a high pressure ridge which would give us a choice of slow sailing or motoring for a good part of the 1250 miles from Hobart to Nelson, NZ.

We considered waiting but were under some pressure to get to New Zealand where we had flights to New York for an award banquet. If we passed on the Monday we would have to wait at least until Thursday for the next decent window and a lot can change in three days.

And so we left and soon the winds kicked up to 25-30 knots in confused seas for a rough two days-right on forecast. The winds melted yesterday as we entered the high pressure ridge and we motored through it until dawn today when we passed into a low pressure trough. We are now sailing with three reefs in the main and a furled jib with 20-30 knots on the beam. The uncomfortable two swells are back, one from the south west and another from the north. It has been a challenge.

We also discovered a leaking port hole. We headed down wind and opened it to discover a broken screen inside the seal, easily fixed but not before soaking two lockers of clothes. The front cabin smells like a dirty gym bag. Eight hundred and fifty miles to go.

February 20, 2015

Tasman Sea day four

42'32S 158'21E

Hopefully, yesterday was the last ëMurphy Dayí and today, with the wind down to under ten knots and seas a gentle roll, will be our recovery day starting with a dose of ibuprofen to counter all of the aches and pains from the muscles we havenít used for so long.

We slept better last night with only one wake-up to roll up a head sail, drop the whisker pole, and shake out a reef as wind dropped and the angle changed.

Yesterday brought our first ship sighting, a large Maersk container ship that suddenly appeared out of the rain to cross a hundred yards in front of us.

Now the motor hums at half throttle to help create apparent wind for the sails. Fair weather cumulus clouds have replaced the rain and the sun breaks through as the rising barometer promises fair weather but light winds.

February 21, 2015

Tasman Sea day five

42'06S 162'13E

For the past 24hrs conditions have been good for motoring and we have plenty of fuel. Our current high pressure system should dominate the rest of the trip. Today will be devoted to maintenance and hanging out the soaked clothes. After everything is fixed we will drag a fish line and read books. It is sunny, sixties and a lovely day.

February 22, 2015

Tasman Sea day six

42'34S 165'31E

At 9:45 last night Jeannie heard a change in the engine and woke me up. Something did sound different but a scan of the gauges-good temperature and oil pressure-and smooth engine sounds was reassuring so the speculation turned to the prop which will need a look when conditions improve. Other sailors use a Gopro camera for underwater inspections but we lack that piece of equipment.

Meanwhile the winds had reached nine knots so the sails were set delivering a quiet 5 knots instead of the 7 with motor noise. The winds are now 15 knots giving us 8.5 knots through the water with flat seas-just like in the boat advertisements that show the chardonnay sipping retired couple who choose the right financial planner.

No chardonnay here. I spent the day on plumbing; one of the heads is not working. After descaling the pump in citric acid and changing a valve it still is not cooperating so the challenge continues. I appreciate why Mr. Paulson, the plumber at my St. Anastasia grade school, always smoked a cigar. Four Hundred miles to go.

Februay 23, 2015

Tasman Sea day seven

40'56S 169'32E

Perfect conditions for sailing and plumbing came to an end at midnight when the winds moved across our stern and fell off. We rolled up the sails and dropped the pole. The motor came on as we passed through the tail end of a cold front with a few mild squalls.

The wind shifted and picked up at four am so back to the pole on the other side, giving us seven knots under sail.

We are in radio contact with Mary on Bluff Fishermanís Radio who broadcasts from the bottom of New Zealand. We first met her nine years ago when we sailed to Bluff on our first Tasman crossing. She provides the weather and relays messages for all of the fishermen from southern New Zealand waters who follow fish right down to the ice.

Last night we called Taupo Radio as required to let customs know we hope to arrive in 48 hours. Taupo also wants us to check in tonight so we have two radio contacts to make and, of course, they are both at 18:30.

[ Click here for Pt. II ]




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