WHANGAMUMU TO A WINDY TUTAKAKA

After a beautiful calm and peaceful night in Whangamumu Harbour I awoke early and had a relaxed breakfast at anchor.  The day was fine and clear with no wind.  As today’s forecast called for variable 10 knot winds it seemed that sailing would be difficult.

I picked up the anchor after breakfast, the water so clear I could see the anchor on the bottom, seven meters below.  I hoisted the mainsail and motored out of Whangamumu to meet a low easterly swell and calm seas outside.

The weather was warm and I was soon reduced to shorts and T shirt, the sun hot on my back, as we motored down the coast towards Tutakaka.  Mile after mile we motored on, not a breath of air, the mainsail hanging limp.

At two in the afternoon I anchored in Tutakaka harbour.  I had considered going further down the coast to Whangarei Harbour but couldn’t bear another few hours of motoring.

At five in the afternoon the weatherman issued a gale warning for the following (Sunday) afternoon, E’ly 30 rising to 40 knots in the evening.  Still a day away and no immediate threat, with options to sail tomorrow or stay where I was.

I had intended to take the dinghy and go for a walk ashore.  But for some reason I was not confident about the weather so the dinghy remained lashed on the foredeck.  I went to bed in the evening and all was nice and calm.

Early morning at one I was awake, the wind was singing in the rigging.  I had a look around outside and could see that in the space of a couple of hours the weather had deteriorated badly.  The wind was coming from the NE, the only direction from which Tutakaka is not sheltered.  I removed the wind vane sail and stowed it below.  It was now two in the morning and the wind was increasing.

The early morning forecast was for E’ly 30 knots building to 40 knots in the late afternoon.  The weatherman should look out the window because we had 40 knots already.  By first light I could see the swells crashing over the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.  It had become rough in the harbour and as Truce was on a lee shore I wanted out of the situation.

At seven I heaved up the anchor, not easy on the pitching foredeck with the bow plunging into the waves.  Once the anchor was up I motored off the lee shore and headed into Tutakaka Marina.  Once in the marina I rounded up and managed to get a line on the fuel dock and after a few minutes had Truce calmed down and secured alongside.  The weather was wild, howling wind and driving rain.  What a contrast to the day before and how quickly it had changed.

A short time later the marina guys allocated me a berth and I shifted from the fuel dock.  Truce ended up secured with two head lines, two stern lines and four springs.  The wind and rain continued all day and increased to a solid sixty knots by midnight.  By seven on Monday morning the wind had reduced to thirty knots, but the rain persisted all day on and off.

I decided to spend another day in the marina, hot showers and laundry being an attraction.  The Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club being another with hot food and draught beer on tap.  I slept well that night having been well fed and watered, sleeping in freshly laundered bedding and a secure berth alongside.

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