Wednesday/Thursday 9/10th June 2010
Around 9am Thursday, I was just reading an email about a Dutch couple rescued off the NW end of NZ's North Island early on Monday when they were dismasted in the strong conditions of the Low I also experienced, when I suddenly became aware that the wind was rising - lots! Seeing 30 kt on the speed display, and with the boat heeling madly and making over 9 kts at times, I dived up on deck to furl in the (full!) genoa as fast as I could.... Took it down to 3rd reef mark... wondering at the fact that there was no dark grey raincloud overhead - just misty, fine drizzle, almost nothing, and just very light cloud. Conditions seemed to ease fairly quickly and our heeling became far less with reduced canvas. I looked over to where the cloud was a short while later - most odd... a white mushroom shape with the stem down to sea and a very flat wispy top - I wondered if it had been some kind of localized eddy .... The wind dropped afterwards to around 15-20 kt and things became calmer very quickly - but it was a big concern at the time!! I'm still seeing another raincloud upwind, so I'm not letting out the genoa again just yet!!
LATER: Well, that cloud became another squall, less than the first, and I furled in a touch more genoa - just to be safe... The centre went just ahead of us so maybe that helped reduce its effect. Looks as though there's a whole line of squally clouds upwind, so I'm leaving the sails as are and thinking about breakfast instead! Apart from this one line of grey clouds with rain clearly falling from several of them, the sky has just puffy little white cumulus... I'm just unlucky enough to be in the firing line! But it doesn't look too bad ... LATER AGAIN: Well, it looks as though the squalls might now be passing ahead of us, as the next cloud is - keep my fingers crossed! I just downloaded a weatherfax which shows a 992hPa Low passing just to the south, with a front coming off it this way - so it seems that's what I'm getting the tail-end of. At least it's given me good wind to make excellent speed overnight - mostly around 7 knots , often up to 8 kt, in WSW of mainly ~23 kt.
MUCH LATER: So frustrating now!.... It's been a day of wind up & down, genoa in & out... and mostly, this evening, wind well down.... to mainly 4-7 knots, in fact.... I'd far rather be in strong conditions - at least you can go fast then, whereas with no wind, you can't go anywhere, struggle to make your course... and often still suffer the big swell if it's not lain down yet. The bright side of today has been occasional sunshine and the continued presence of 'my' 3 Yellow-Nosed albatrosses (see 'Wed', below), joined at times, by an even larger Wandering Albatross, soaring with hardly a movement of its enormous out-stretched wings, and the occasional petrels.
Noon-to-noon DMG to noon today: 165 n.ml. .... yahooooo!! That's a sliver under 7 knots average over the 24 hr period, in an assumed dead-straight line....!! (I hate to think what tomorrow's figure will be....)
Wednesday was pleasant with fairly easy, good conditions (except for the good-sized swell) over most of the day, apart from a front coming through early in the afternoon so the wind backed from NNW, slowly & erratically, to SW. Also had 3 albatrosses - a pair and what looks like an immature one - plus several other birds for company over the day.
I'm spending a lot of time each day getting weather info: gribs, weatherfaxes, text weather and Taupo Maritime Radio weather broadcasts. Conditions have been so nasty ('unusal', I hear!) and it being midwinter now, that I want as much information as possible, even though I'm getting expert weather advice and help on routing from Bob McD just now.
Thursday evening I had the last of my broccoli. It's lasted quite well by being placed in the fridge - about 2 wks, in fact. Far longer than it would have done out of the fridge. I joined it with fried steak and onions, & potato - food 'Chez Nereida' is often not too bad when conditions are fairly calm! Dessert was several delicious, tasty, N.Z. mandarins - they are so much sweeter having been picked really ripe off the trees for 'home' consumption.