Saturday 9am NZT (Fri 2100 GMT) Underway finally, after lying hove-to overnight in light NE wind, becoming SSE by dawn. Still feeling peaceful and calm, rocking gently in slight swell in light wind and sailing slowly until wind picks up. Expected to become SW soon - forecast to do that around midday, becoming strong - to around 25kt.
Blue patch of sky overhead and broken white cloud after overnight rain making everything on deck very wet. Sun definitely trying to get out - nice!
Cooking another fresh lot of a thick bean and barley soup, ready for later - always nice to have something like that ready - especially if forecast strong conditions arrive later today and over Mon/Tues, when things will be far less calm and peaceful...
10:15am SE corner (Cape Palliser) of N.Z.'s North Island, at E end of Cook Strait, is still visible on AIS screen just over 25 miles away. Once that disappears, later today, likely not to see land on screen, and certainly not by eye, for quite a time. Maybe not until reaching French Polynesia.
Have been leaving 2nd reef in, expecting 25kt winds quite soon - the local Castlepoint forecast gives:"rising to southwest 25 knots south of Cape Palliser late Saturday morning, and further north early afternoon. Sea becoming rough. Southeast swell 3 metres, easing."
We're presently due E of Cape Palliser - so might expect 25kt wind around midday - not long now.
11:15am Just spoke to Taupo Maritime Radio to clarify the boundaries of the coastal weather forecast areas - we're right in middle of Castlepoint which stretches from Cape Campbell (S.Island), across Cook Strait, and on to Cape Turnaround (N.Island). The next area is Portland, which stretches up to East Cape. I was told that newly-updated weather is at 1230 NZT so I'll wait for that to see whether or not to shake out the 2nd reef. If 25kt wind is expected soon, that will definitely not happen! Have full genoa now which can be furled in to reduce sail fairly quickly, if needed.
I often quote a sailing instructor from when I was starting out learning to sail: "If you're thinking of reefing, do it! If you're thinking about letting out a reef - go have a cup of tea!" Better to have a reef tied in that turns out not to be needed, and have to let it out, which is fairly easy, than struggle to get one in when you've left it too late.
Opening a big tin of ham to dice and add into the bean and barley soup together with chopped green beans and some bouillon.
2:30pm 25 kt SW wind expected this afternoon - sometime... Easing to 15kt tomorrow morning.
Sun getting out often.Will take a nap while it's still peaceful.
5pm Well, took an age getting it all organised but finally poled out the genoa to starboard. Have eased the mainsheet to port and taken in on the preventer - we're running downwind 'goosewinged' (aka 'wing on wing'). Just in time since getting dark now.
Was needed since heading NE in SW wind was making the headsail/genoa flog often in the wind shadow of the mainsail - not good for it and not an efficient way to sail. The swell has built up quite a lot from SW and added to the 'interest factor' while sorting out the pole on the foredeck. The cleat that is normally is used for the downhaul is now taken up by a first reef line (that line's cleat having broken some time ago) so I had to figure out another way to hold the downhaul in place - not too difficult once I'd removed an unused line from another cleat nearby to use in its place for the time being.
Very grey, rainy-looking sky as darkness fell but we've not had any rain since last night and the decks are dry - certainly made the job pleasanter than if it were raining. I'm more than ready for some of my thick soup which is all ready for heating up.
9:45pm Really rolling and swinging about in rough seas and strong wind while making good speed goosewinged - sails keep being backed for a short time until boat gets back on course after being pushed to one side by a wave... Very uncomfortable and a big concern.
11pm The main just got backed well and truly - even full lock on the wheel couldn't get us back on course again.... The poled-out genoa was shaking furiously and we were well heeled to port.... The wind was clearly well up - gusting well over 30kt.
I furled in a lot of genoa and then moved to the mainsheet and preventer, controlling the boom as it was first centred and then went over to starboard a little. Suddenly, it swung back over to port and we seemed to be under control at last - but heading E in the strong SW wind, rather than NE, dead downwind, as we had been. I released the mainsheet more and took up on the preventer, to de-power the main, noticing how steep and rough the frequent oncoming waves were. That's why running downwind as we had been hadn't worked well, so we're now at more of an angle and I'm hoping that will work better. This will be a long night ahead until the wind eases in the morning, if the forecast is to be believed. Getting to my bunk, wearing my foulies, but hoping all will be fine overnight...
Sunday 4am NZT (Sat 1600GMT) Have had a good sleep despite wind and seas. Wind has not gusted up again and has stayed around twenty-something knots but seas are still quite rough and rolling us around all the time. The mainsail has very occasionally given a hint of starting to be backed but has instantly recovered and not caused a problem as happened earlier. There's water in the bilges (mainly from all the condensation I've been noticing, I think, with just a little from the rudder area, maybe) and so the float alarm has been going off every time we heel a lot to starboard - which is often in these rough seas - so I've just pumped the bilge.
4:45am The wind is slowly veering - now nearing WSW - so I'll need to gybe the mainsail soon onto port tack - that will allow us to get back on course. It's a relief that the wind has stayed down. although still above 20kt, so our speed has been good overnight.
5:30am Back down below after deciding needed to gybe sooner rather than later. All done but took a long time centring the main in order to gybe safely - strong wind in the sail - had to fight against it and then later try to attach a starboard preventer - not so easy to find an out-of-place line end in darkness. Moon was setting so although had benefit of its bright light earlier, not so now. But all finished at last and now on NNE course - seas still very rough and wind must be easily well over 20kt still.
Time for a short rest before 1900Z reports made... This has not been a particularly enjoyable night, but the good news is that on port tack I don't get thrown out of the (dryish) starboard bunk while resting there!
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.
It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
1900GMT (= 7 a.m. NZT) - end of Day 255. We made 110 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Despite not getting underway for two hours into the 24 hr period.
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 255 (by daily DMGs): 20,577 n.ml
Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Palliser LH, N.Island, N.Z.: 138 n.ml. to SW; Wellington, N.Island: 153 n.ml. to SW; Christchurch, S.Island: 290 n.ml. to SE; East Cape, N.Z.: 195 n.ml. to N;
Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/06/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-57.58S LONGITUDE: 178-09.80E
COURSE: 033T SPEED: 5.1kt
WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 40%
BARO: 1002.3hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.7C
COMMENT: Gybed - heading NNE. 75ml ESE from Castle Pt.