Friday, October 29, 2010

Tonga to New Zealand Day 5

Time: Saturday, 30 October 2010, 0800 Tonga time (+13)
Position: 30-48 S 177-59E

Hello, all!

We continue to make good progress. Yesterday was a 173 nm day, today will be about the same.

Life out here offers up its little dramas, but mostly things have been going very smoothly. But not always. After three straight days of sailing with a single reef in the main, yesterday we noticed that the top spreader was chafing a hole in the sail. Leaving it didn't seem like a good solution, but we didn't like any of the other options either. We tried adjusting the hoist a bit so it would at least wear against a new spot ("freshen the nip," as it were), but that put too much strain against a nearby batten. We finally decided to just drop the sail and put a sticky-back patch on it. We thought it might be tough to dry the sail enough for the adhesive to hold what with all the spray around, but to our surprise once we dropped the sail and headed downwind our bucking bronco of a boat became a docile even-tempered mare. It was rather pleasant drifting downwind slowly in the sunshine for the half hour it took for the patch area to dry. We slapped three layers on the hole, turned the boat back into the wind and our wild bronco of a boat was back.

Update: last night we had to put a second reef in the main. Unfortunately that meant our patch was no longer being held in place by the spreader and it came off. Sigh. I guess we'll just have to sail the rest of the way with two reefs. Should be no problem because the wind is supposed to freshen back up to 25+ knots or so.

Speaking of which, our next challenge is managing our landfall, now about two days out. The forecast shows a very strong high (1047mb!) over the South Island with a low to the east of it. That makes for strong (and cold!) winds out of the SE. We have no appetite for close hauling our way into the Bay of Isles, so we are trying to sail well east of our rhumb line, so our final approach won't be so close to the wind. So far, so good.

Today's amusing incident. I was making scrambled eggs for breakfast and for my serving decided to put some pepper in it. The boat took a lurch, the pepper grinder hit the pan, the top fell off the mill and about 50 peppercorns tumbled in. I thought about throwing the batch away but the thought of starting all over wasn't very appealing either. I ended up gingerly picking the corns out, searching for them with my tongue. Little pepper bombs, each one having to be found and properly disposed of. Now my tongue is singing.

Life at sea.

-tk & Bill & Kathy

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