Crossing the South Pacific
August 26, 2005
Auckland, New Zealand
We left Auckland on Wednesday August 26th at 4:15PM under the late afternoon fading winter sun. "Part of me wants to stay", commented Jean. We have bonded with New Zealand, a land of immense beauty and unpretentious people, like us in many ways but different in ways we wish we were. They are less concerned with material possessions and less controlling.
The other part that wanted to stay was the one that feared the storms of the Roaring Forties that we were sailing into.
The day before we left we had consulted with Bob McDavit, New Zealand's weather master, Bob's models showed moderate northerlies for the first two days and then westerlies. "Saturday will not be fun but it should be sweet from there to the end of the month."
We crossed the date line and gained a day early on our second morning. So far the weather had been much more variable and we were motoring too much but making good time.
Our goal was to move south two hundred miles to the top of the Roaring Forties and dip further south to cut the distance using the Great Circle Route but not so far as to get the big swells. When the wind dropped we would go south for more and when it was too much we would go north. We would keep our speed at eight knots or better to keep us at 200 miles a day.
For the first five days we rolled off the miles on starboard tack following a low that was moving under us. The cool winds and the sun signaled the coming of a high which means more of the wind will die out and we will motor goes on. We fell into the four hour sleep schedule and got used to the motion.
We found a small stream of water trickling down from the forward cabin headliner yesterday. After trying to find an excuse not to do it I grabbed a screwdriver and took the headliner down. It is coming from the port dorade box. A plastic bag and masking tape catchment system will hold until we stop plunging into waves and the foredeck dries when we can tape up the vent holes outside. When we get to Chile we will re-bed it.
Just starting day six. We are at 38 50S and 167 31W. The wind is down at just after midnight. We have been on a starboard tack close to the wind for five days. The wind is down now but has not been much above 20 knots at the peak and not big seas. So far much better than we feared.
Only minor equipment failures. The biggest is a chafed main halyard. I spiced a shackle on our spare today which will go up tomorrow.
It is cool. There are always one or two albatrosses and shearwaters skimming the tops of the grey waves. We have frequent squalls. When the sun comes out all is amazingly clear with deep blues and whitecaps forever.
We have adjusted to the sleep routines and the motion. We read, study Spanish, adjust sails navigate, interpret weather reports and fix what needs attention.
- Click here for Part 2 -