Early morning the wind started to blow and the anchor snubber began to grumble.  I turned out of bed in the cold and dark to hear the early morning forecast.  As expected, the N’ly gale had started.  Its forecast to go from twenty-five knots to gusting forty knots in the afternoon.  Although its only fifteen miles from Port Underwood up the coast to Tory Channel I would be motoring directly into the wind and sea.  Speed would be painfully slow and I couldn’t make Tory channel before the tide turned.

So, I resigned myself to another day in Oyster Bay and started on breakfast.  The first day of lockdown in New Zealand and too windy to go ashore in the dinghy anyway.

I decided to have a look inside the broken autopilot, maybe I could find an obvious problem.  On opening it up everything seemed to be fine, all the connections were good, the drive belts were good and the motor turning OK.  I took off the contact strip from the compass, cleaned it and replaced it.  When I put everything back together again and plugged it in it worked.  I am not confident I have fixed anything.  It was working for a few minutes and then stopping before, like it wasn’t receiving any commands from the compass.  I will try it tomorrow and fingers crossed for a miracle.

Afternoon was bread making time.  I haven’t been baking bread so far this trip, just relying on store bought bread.  I had forgotten how nice the smell and taste of fresh bread is.  I will be making bread every two or three days from now on.

All day the wind blew hard, reaching its peak around five in the afternoon.

This evening the forecast has improved, the N’ly is decreasing to 15 knots tomorrow morning then changing to S’ly gusting 45 knots in the afternoon.  I don’t want to be in Oyster Bay in a southerly, the locals say it’s very uncomfortable, the salt spray burn on the vegetation high up the hillside proves their point.

All being well I will sail tomorrow morning and arrive at Tory Channel entrance before the tide turns at midday.  I am looking forward to being back in the sounds and away from this wild Cook Strait weather.


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