Monthly Archives: October 2011

Noumea to NZ days 5 & 6

One bad day and one good day.

Friday 28th October
Our position at 6.00 this morning
29 22.4 south
169 45.6 east
118 miles covered in last 24 hours

Note the angle of the cup in relation to the tea inside

We seem to be going slower and slower and we continue to be pushed west with the current and easterly winds. We are still close hauled and trying to point as high into the wind as we can but life on board is pretty difficult. At 10.30 this morning we threw in the towel and put the engine on to try and drag the boat further east up the wind. There’s a reef in the main to steady us but we took the genny in. To make matters worse the sea is back up again and we are slamming into the waves. The voyage forecast we applied for before we left did warn of this, it’s probably left over from high winds in the Tasman sea. We continued to motor until 5pm and made quite a bit of easting but it was a slow process with speeds of only 4 – 4.5 kts. Then we put a second reef in the main and pulled the genny out again. The boat is really heeling this evening. Sleep is practically impossible with the boat crashing through the waves. I’m so over this passage.

Saturday 29th October
Our position at 6.00 this morning
30 54.4 south
171 06.5 east
121 miles covered in the last 24 hours

It was a bad night and neither of us got much sleep but it seems better today. The sea has calmed down and we made good progress overnight. I didn’t want to disturb Bill’s morning sleep so I didn’t listen to the morning SSB sked to give our position in but finished my book instead. We haven’t seen any wildlife on this passage but we are starting to see birds now, a good sign land is near. The tide kicked in against us at midday slowing us down again, it’s so frustrating. I had my usual afternoon nap but didn’t wake up until 5.10pm and the afternoon sked is at 5pm. I turned it on to see what was happening to discover Camomile was the main topic of conversation with everyone really concerned about our whereabouts. I assured everyone we were fine but it was nice to think we were missed. That’s the good thing about rallies. It’s getting colder, Bill’s got socks on for the first time since we left NZ in April and I’ve got my UGG boots on.

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Noumea to NZ day 4

Thursday 27th October
Our position at 6.00 this morning
27 52.1 south
168 38.5 east
122 miles covered in the last 24 hours

As you can see we are making slow progress. We sailed all through the night but the wind was up and down and the speed kept dropping below 5 kts, which is the speed we really need to keep to. This passage won’t win any speed records. We keep being pushed west by a tide, yes even out here they have tides. The wind dropped this morning again and we motored east for 2 hours to try and get onto a better course. This meant the boat was upright for a few hours and it created hot water so I managed to have a shower and wash my hair instead of just washing ‘bits’ (over sharing again). We passed the half way mark this afternoon but that’s sometimes as depressing as thrilling because it means we’ve got to do it all again. During the afternoon the wind turned more to the north east so we were able to continue sailing. One final thing, we have an emergency situation on the boat – we’ve run out of chocolate!!

Noumea to NZ – day 3

Wednesday 26th October
Our position at 06.00 this morning
26 02.8 south
167 49.4 east
131 miles covered in the last 24 hours

We had a good night but we had a weak front come through at 23.00 which brought a wind shift. We had to put a reef back in the main but the good news is that we are heading more towards our destination – always a good thing. The bad news is the wind died at midday so we had to motor for 2 hours but at least it charged the batteries. The wind came back and we are now whizzing along with full sails up. We are still close hauled but not heeling quite as badly as we were. Without over sharing too much you need 3 hands to put your knickers on in the morning. Try putting your leg in a pant with one hand and then pulling them up whilst hanging on, it’s very difficult, but if you let go when standing on one leg you full straight over, it’s not very dignified! I have to wedge myself in some where; trousers are even worse. The temperature is starting to drop but it’s still 22C so not bad really. It’s spring in NZ and we are earlier than last year so it will be chilly for a few weeks. The sea is now only 18.3C so I won’t be going swimming. My evening watch is lovely because I get to see the sunset and with the evenings drawing out as we head south it stays lighter longer. Once the sun has gone down the stars come out and the luminescence in our wake is magical.

Noumea to NZ day 2

Tuesday 25th October
Our position at 06.00 this morning
24 13.8 south
167 01.9 east
127 miles covered in the last 24 hours

We had a reasonable night as reasonable as one can traveling along at 30 degrees. The wind calmed down and it’s now a F4 but still ESE. As we are now 24 degrees south we are officially out of the tropics having passed over the tropic of Capricorn over night. We can still wear shorts and t-shirts during the day but the nights are getting chilly. The sea is not so choppy but we still have the long swells coming from the Tasman sea. About 4 boats left at the same time as us and the rest are leaving today. We have a boat called Mediterraneo with Stefan on board just behind us and we are able to keep contact on the VHF but as it’s an Island Packet I’m sure he’ll pull ahead in the next few days. I always listen to the SSB at 8am to see where the other boats are and have a chat with them. We had a boat cross our stern this afternoon and we discovered we knew them. It was called Panache having a lovely down wind sail from Fiji to Sydney, we had had a meal with them at Vuda point in Fiji – it’s a small world even on big oceans.

Noumea to New Zealand – Days 1

We have had a wonderful season in the South Pacific islands but the cyclone season is coming and it’s time to head south. I’ve got lots of diary entries to write up for the website when we get back to NZ.

Leaving Noumea

We left from Noumea in New Caledonia early Monday morning 24th October, after the Rugby. New Caledonia is French territory so it was an interesting evening. The rally was invited to the CNC yacht club to watch the game. There were 2 other Brits, about half a dozen Americans, a couple of Canadians and about 30 kiwis on one side of the room and the French on the other. The kiwis had brought in the flags off their boats and some painted their faces. When the French scored a try I thought the roof was going to cave in with the noise, which was just as bad when the All Blacks scored. The last 10 minutes or so were very tense when the All Blacks were trying to keep possession of the ball and when the final whistle was blown the kiwis went mad. The French took it very well and shook our hands but the town was very quiet that evening without the repeat of the fireworks we had had the previous week when they won the semi final.

Day 1 We left from 22 17.1 south 166 25.9 east

We had checked out of customs on the Friday so we were clear to leave first thing in the morning. We lifted the anchor at 6am but then put our clocks forward 2 hours to bring us in line with NZST. It was a sunny day but the forecast 22 knots was nearer 28kts. We motor sailed and sailed the 3 hour passage across the lagoon out to the Amedee light house which marks the edge of the reef. The waves were breaking across the reef at either side of us. Once outside the depth dropped off to more than 200 metres quite quickly so the depth sounder immediately went into a sulk. The wind was cleaner once we were clear of the little islands and reefs inside the lagoon and the sea more settled. The wind was coming from the ESE and we were heading south east – so we were facing an 892 mile beat, oh deep joy, I loooovvveee passage making.

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