Thursday 26th April 2012
After unforeseen delays due to work on 'Nereida', I'm nearly ready to set off from Hobart across the Tasman Sea towards the SW Cape of New Zealand. Over last weekend, it seemed that Tuesday 24th April would be OK for leaving but by Monday, that was clearly not so.... heading straight into headwinds (or no wind) was not a sensible option, so my departure was re-scheduled for 0830 Thursday 26th April.... and as Thursday drew nearer, it became clear that I'd be heading out into a major 2-day storm over this coming weekend (forecast of 40kt winds and 8m/26ft seas everywhere in the S. Tasman Sea!) - so I've again delayed my departure - presently set for 0830 EST Monday morning (2230 GMT Sunday). Let's hope that works out - winter weather is settling in here and air temperatures are frequently low, even when the sun shines.
That delay meant I was unexpectedly in Australia for Anzac Day (Wed 25th April) - appropriate, since my father John Faulkner (killed just before I was born, while flying in a RAF plane in WWII) hailed from Sydney....
I've been busy trying to get through quite a few more jobs, including provisioning, stowing items and making up-to-date lists. Since I'll need to clear Customs on leaving, they were informed of my planned departure date - and updated with changes each time.
We finally got back in the water from the hard late last Saturday. Instead of the expected couple of hours or so, Scott had 3 days of struggle to deal with the propshaft seal replacement and checking/cleaning the adjacent Aquadrive thruster - unbelievable that anyone can put boat items together without using anti-seize compound on the bolts so that they can be easily undone next time around, despite possible saltwater exposure... His work was not helped by really difficult access in the engine compartment.
With no wind overnight Saturday, I was able to hoist the repaired genoa and furl it - the number of turns on the drum was way too many and had to be reduced and I also had to tighten the loose furling line lead (managed to lose a size 40 torx driver overboard while fixing it...grrr!!) I took the chance to soak the furling line and genoa & staysail sheets in a big bucket, trying to lose salt with several changes of water - they were very stiff.
The new Jordan series drogue with bridle and retrieval line are now in place, ready for near-instant deployment in bad conditions. Tidying and stowing down below is taking time - I can't move without everything being in place once more and there have been so many different jobs to see to..... Had a fright when I changed over to the back-up AP drive arm - 'motor stalled' came the message when I tested it (i.e. autopilot unuseable!). I eventually realised I hadn't finished re-connecting the power lead to the hydraulic motor after removing some diodes & capacitors which had been fixed in place in Port Townsend a while back in an attempt to stop RF interference on HF bands.
The SW Cape of New Zealand will be the last of the Five Great Capes that I will have sailed around solo since rounding Cape Horn on 7th January 2011 (after my knockdown two days earlier ended my 2nd solo nonstop circumnavigation attempt). I'll then be heading up the S. Pacific towards Tahiti and then north towards Hawaii and N.America. The plan is to get as far E as possible while heading N after rounding Stewart Island, NZ, in order not to have the same problem with the strong W-flowing equatorial current (just before reaching the NE Trades) as I had when I made a similar passage in 2010.