TUTAKAKA TO AUCKLAND

Tuesday morning in Tutakaka Marina opened overcast and calm, although everywhere is still wet from the storm.  Today I will head south again and see how far I can get and what the weather will throw at us.  The forecast is calling for westerly winds that gradually decrease towards the evening.

After letting go from the Marina I headed over to the fuel dock to top up with diesel.  The fuel is a good price here so worthwhile to top up.  Its also more convenient than refuelling in Auckland.  On completion of fuelling I headed out of Tutakaka Harbour, sailing with just the staysail.

Once outside the harbour the familiar easterly swell picked up us up and a fresh 20 knot westerly breeze set in.  Up went the double reefed main and the yankee about 60% out.  Truce settled into a good rhythm and the speed hovered between six and seven knots as we cantered down the coast.

Just after lunch we had Bream Head abeam and the wind held well.  Occasional gusts from the land heading us up until Mickey got himself organised and back on course.  We sailed past the hen and Chicken Islands and close under the lee of Sail Rock.

Sail Rock. Photo Ray Penson
Sail Rock. Photo Ray Penson

On we sailed towards Cape Rodney with Little Barrier Island on our port side.  Now the wind started to diminish, slowly reducing as I shook out the mainsail reefs to try and keep the speed up.

Truce Sailing, off Cape Rodney
Truce Sailing, off Cape Rodney

I had considered anchoring at Kawau for the night, but we still had wind and after such a great days sail I didn’t want to anchor when we could still make ground towards home.  We sailed outside Kawau Island and at its southern end could suddenly see the Auckland Sky Tower showing through the Tiri Channel some twenty-five miles distant.  We were almost home!

By this time the wind had reduced, our speed was down to three knots and a bit less at times.  But it was a lovely night and we were still moving in the right direction.  Eventually, just north of the Tiri Channel the wind headed us and on went the motor.

I kept the staysail and main up and in very light wind motor sailed down through the Rangitoto Channel around North Head and into the Waitemata harbour.  In the harbour the sails came down and I motored the last five miles, under the harbour bridge, to anchor in the river just off Henderson Creek, just before two in the morning.  With the motor off everything was quiet and peaceful, just the trickle of the incoming tide against the hull.

After a few hours sleep, I picked up the anchor at first light and motored up the Henderson creek.  It was a wet foggy morning and I am sure the Hobsonville ferry doing 20 knots was as surprised to see me creeping up the channel as I was to see him coming the other way at 20 knots.  At sunrise I nudged into a berth in Hobsonville marina and was soon securely moored.

Cold, foggy and wet outside, I settled down for a good hot breakfast in the warmth of the cabin, soon be time to reflect on the New Zealand cruise.

It has been five months and three days since I departed from this place.

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