Thursday, October 28, 2010

En route to NZ

Hello, all!

Day 4
Position: 28 31S 170 23E

Broad reaching across the La Nina enhanced trades! How cool is that? Actually, it's pretty wet. The J/42 is not a dry boat, but 2 meter seas on the beam makes for an exceptionally wet ride. Waves roll down the deck and along the coaming, pouring into the cockpit. We huddle behind the dodger and lift our feet to keep them out of the water. Once every hour or so, the watch has to go to the back of the boat to fiddle with the Sailomat self-steering windvane in order to adjust the course. The commotion back there is truly impressive. I zip up the foulies, flip up the hood and keep my back to the wind as spray showers over me.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the J/42 is also a very fast boat, so those same trade wind conditions makes for a very fast ride. We have been consistently doing 180+ mile days, so we are way ahead of schedule. At this moment we have about 480 nautical miles to go, so we are now over half way there, despite being out slightly less than 3 days.

The other good news is that everyone is happy and healthy.. Kathy continues to come up with inventive and impossible meals, despite the trying circumstances. The boat is in good shape with the essentials all in good working order. Because the Lifeline batteries failed in Tonga and we are reduced to using two car batteries we are on a strict energy budget. Fortunately, we have no shortage of propane, so the hot meals keep on coming.

It has been steadily getting colder as we head south. The start of every night watch has me digging a little deeper into my sea bag, looking for something warmer. Last night was silk long johns, polypro top, and what Kathy calls my "Gomer" hat. Tonight will probably have me breaking out the pile jacket and sea boots. As the winds are expected to shift to a little more southerly in the next couple of days, we expect our entrance into the Bay of Islands to be very cold, probably about like our PNW coast in the late spring. But, the sea temperature should be much warmer.

Yesterday Bill was on watch and happened to see some odd looking spray ahead. Taking a closer look, he saw something black and big in the water: a whale, and it was dead ahead! He says he doesn't remember leaping behind the wheel and disengaging the Sailomat, but he managed to steer clear in the nick of time and watch the guy lazily cruise by down our port side. They say that whales can hear a sailboat coming, but you never know...

Tom & Bill & Kathy

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