Wednesday morning opened flat calm and clear at Jacksons Bay.  The night only disturbed by the occasional ferry wash, gently rocking Truce, as the ferries passed along Tory Channel just outside the anchorage.

Interisland Ferry passing Jacksons Bay headed down Tory Channel to Wellington Photo Ray Penson
Interisland Ferry passing Jacksons Bay headed down Tory Channel to Wellington Photo Ray Penson

The morning forecast was excellent with N’ly winds of 15 knots predicted down the Cook Strait and along the coast down towards Akoroa.  I picked up the anchor just after lunch to catch the ebb out of the Tory Channel entrance and the start of the southerly tide down the Cook Strait.

As we cleared the Tory Channel, shooting through under engine at seven knots over the ground, a light N’ly breeze kicked in.  The breeze gradually increased all afternoon as we made excellent progress towards Cape Campbell with the tide helping us along.  At 16:20 we crossed our outbound track, now we were on our way further south on the east coast than ever before.  By late afternoon we had rounded Cape Campbell and thankfully started to leave the Cook Strait behind where the winds were forecast to increase to thirty knots later.

The weather tonight is cold.  I have layered up with fleece top and have socks and sea boots on, over all that I have my offshore trousers and jacket.

Wrapping up warm for the night sailing down the coast Photo Ray Penson
Wrapping up warm for the night sailing down the coast Photo Ray Penson

Progress was good during the night.  Truce is not good at running downwind, unless the yankee is poled out or a spinnaker set.  Poling out the yankee is a big job single handed, the pole is quite heavy and cumbersome, only viable on ocean voyages where the effort is rewarded in days and not hours.  As for spinnaker, I am not carrying it this trip, just too much to go wrong when single handing on the coast.  I will think about rigging the pole for the yankee – an easy simple rig may be possible.

By midnight we had twenty five knots of wind and very rough seas, There was a 2m swell from the NE, a 1m swell from the SW, a sea from the north and it looked like a north going current was heaping up the seas.  The mix created a rough confused sea which was quite uncomfortable.  But progress was good.

I had forgotten to make a flask of coffee earlier, as I usually do on nights when it’s cold or bumpy.  Now in the disturbed seas it was a real chore to balance cup and kettle without spilling something.  I have had the easy life in the sounds and Abel Tasman National Park, forgotten the offshore night routine.

Just past Akaroa we fell into a calm hole, no wind just a confused sea bouncing us around.  Three hours later the wind returned, this time we only sailed with a full yankee, making a better downwind angle at 5 knots.  The wind was not solid and became fickle until at midday there was no point trying to sail, the flogging of the sails when Truce rolled became unbearable, I took all sails in.  The remaining12 hours of Thursday were spent rolling around, becalmed, going nowhere, frustrating as the weatherman kept telling us we had 15 knots from the NE.

There are plenty of albatross out here.  They are magnificent birds.  I watched them for hours, effortlessly cruising over the waves, in between the swells with hardly a wingbeat.  They must be the most efficient flying machines out there.  I never tire of watching them.

Another invasion happened this evening, this time it was moths.  I don’t know where they came from, they descended like rain.  At first, I thought there was only one but a check around with the flashlight revealed a massive incursion.  They were everywhere, with plenty in the accommodation.  How they managed to pick me out 20 miles offshore is a mystery.  I can’t believe they flew out 20 miles, maybe they were carried out from the forest by these strange fickle winds.

One of the invading moths
One of the invading moths

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