NEW YEARS DAY 2021 – SAILING AGAIN
At last, finally and not a minute too late Truce is sailing again. The days leading up to departure were quite hectic, getting final stores, provisions and odd jobs completed. On New Years eve Ngozi and I moved on board Truce at the pile mooring in the Tamaki River. After seeing in the New Year and a bottle of bubbly we slept well until morning.
The lose plan this year is to sail down the east coast of the North and South Islands to visit Stewart Island. Then, cross over to the West coast and work our way north through Fiordland before heading up to Abel Tasman. With Ngozi onboard for the first part of the trip I will be taking it easy and trying not to sail in anything orange or red on the predict wind map.
On the first of January we let go from the mooring and motored over to the Panmure Yacht club jetty to pick up Jessica and her boyfriend Gabe. Once they were both onboard we took the ebb tide down the Tamaki River in glorious sunshine and a light wind.
Once clear of the river we shaped course to the east down the Tamaki Strait, a light breeze pushing us along under headsail at 3 to 4 knots and Auckland City dropping astern. Soon we had full sail set and headed out into the Firth of Thames for a sparkling fast sail over to Te Kouma Harbour. I had forgotten how well Truce gets along on a clean bottom, she was moving through the water beautifully. At 18:00 we were anchored in Ranger Bay in Te Kouma Harbour and ready for sundowners.
The following day we stayed in Ranger Bay, nobody had the energy to leave and we just enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, with brief trips ashore for a bit of fossicking around. Over the next couple of days we headed around to Coromandel Harbour for a trip into town.
On the 4th January we dropped Gabe off onto the Auckland ferry as he had to return to work. I was sad to see him go as he had actually turned out to be quite useful onboard. With Ngozi, Jessica and myself onboard we headed up to the pretty Ngohitanu Bay to anchor for the night.
The 5th January was a calm day, we motored around the top of Coromandel through the Colville Channel and down to Great Mercury Island, no wind just motoring on calm seas. At 15:00 we anchored in Peachgrove Bay on the south of the Island. In 10m water depth I could see the anchor on the bottom, the water was very clear. In fact the water was so inviting I went for a swim (well I got full immersion) which is a very rare thing indeed. I firmly believe water is designed for fish to swim in and not humans.
Unfortunately Jessica had to depart back to Auckland so we headed into Whitianga Marina early on the 7th January to drop her off. Whitianga provided a good pit stop for fuel, water and doughnuts from the local bakery. Then we were on our way again, this time the crew reduced to Ngozi and myself. We headed out for an overnight sail to Hicks Bay close to East Cape. This was the first time Ngozi had sailed overnight and she was a little nervous.
At 14:00 the next day we were anchored safely in Hicks Bay. The weather overnight had been mixed with a lunpy sea, not ideal sailing conditions and a bit uncomfortable at times. Ngozi handled it well but refused to stand watch or be alone in the cockpit during darkness. I have a bit more work to do there.
Hicks Bay once again turned on the dull wet weather, I have never been in this place when its sunny and calm and never been ashore here, I am sure it must have its moments, but I have not experienced them yet.
We are now over a week into the trip and just starting to settle down, our visitors have gone and Truce is getting back to being shipshape again. Having Ngozi on board is resulting in a big improvement on my usual single handed diet. I have no chance of coming down with scurvy or losing weight.
GISBOURNE PIT STOP
January 12 2021
After a day’s stop in Hicks Bay, waiting on weather, we set off in the first morning light for Gisborne. Hicks Bay was overcast and gloomy as we motored out in flat calm. Shortly the sun rose over East Cape in spectacular fashion and we continued motoring along the coast in calm sunny conditions, the tide helping us along.
Soon we were passing East Cape between East Island and the coast. The tide helping Mr. Yanmar along on glassy calm water. Very lucky, this cape can be challenging when there is a bit of wind around. As has happened previously as soon as we had passed East Cape a breeze sprang up and Truce was able to run downwind easily under the Yankee alone.
The dolphins came to play around the bow, wonderful creatures. So many, they kept coming in waves for over an hour. Such a privilege to be close to these magnificent and clever creatures.
We passed Waima Cove, where I had anchored last year, Past Tolaga Bay where I planned to anchor but didn’t like the exposed location and swell. Past Cooks Cove where I would like to anchor but it appears too shallow. Past Gable End Foreland, a notable landmark on this coast. Finally entering Gisborne Harbour just before midnight and securing alongside the visitors berth for a good sleep.
Monday morning in Gisborne was calm and sunny. Today was for rest and recuperation and tourist activities. First, we had to top up the water and diesel and make a trip to the laundromat, once the chores were out of the way we headed into town to explore. Walks by the sea, lunch, ice crème and other laid-back stuff. In the evening we retired to the Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club for refreshments, happily returning to Truce for a good night’s sleep, safe and secure alongside.
ARRIVAL NAPIER – ART DECO CAPITAL OF NEW ZEALAND
January 14 2021
On Tuesday, the 12th January we motored out from Gisborne Harbour and headed around Young Nicks Head. Young Nick was the surgeons boy on Cooks ship Endeavour and is claimed to be the person first sighting New Zealand on that voyage in 1799.
Once past Young Nicks Head the breeze set in, sending us on our way towards Napier under full sail. The sail down to Napier was fast despite the forecast being for fickle winds. We sailed past Mahia Peninsular where we could see the Rocket Lab rocket ready for launch in a couple of days time. A few miles from Napier I reduced sail to slow down to get a sunrise arrival. At just after six on Wednesday morning we were securely tied up at the Napier Sailing Club visitor berth.
The plan is to spend a couple of days in Napier, the Art Deco City, before heading down to Akaroa when a good weather window opens.
NAPIER – TIME TO MOVE ON
January 22 2021
The visitors berth at the Napier Sailing Club has been wonderfully comfortable and the facilities enjoyable. Numerous bars, cafes and restaurants along West Quay have enjoyed our patronage but it really is time to move on, further south. We have been waiting for a decent weather window and over indulging in Napier’s hospitality. It really is time to move on.
Napier City is a delightful place, very clean and well organised. After coming from Auckland it is refreshing to see clean footpaths, no chewing gum, no graffiti and everyone you meet in the street says hello. There are green spaces and parks dotted all over the place and great parks for children. It might be a nice place to live – but what else is there?
We have lingered in Napier so long to avoid strong winds further down the coast and coming out of the Cook Strait. A succession of lows and associated fronts have been arriving over the South Island in quick succession, the weather has been very unsettled and no clear window to get south has presented itself. The conditions are still unsettled but the stronger winds will hopefully clear away for a few days as we head down towards Akaroa.
Truce is all ready to go, lots of small jobs have been completed during the stay and after Ngozi doing a deep clean I think we have all the Auckland grime off the boat. Just need a bit of heavy weather to wash the decks and make everything sparkly again.
The spinnaker pole is a bit of a brute to rig up single handed at sea. I have taken the opportunity to pre rig it in port and all being well I should only need to attach the topping lift to get it swung up into place. Getting the sheet from the yankee through the pole end is a mission as the yankee is high cut, it’s a balancing act to reach up to the clew from deck, especially when everything is moving around. I can’t think of any easier way yet, suggestions welcome.
Our last day in Napier and we visited the aquarium. Lots of fish in tanks as you would expect. It gave us the inspiration for Thai Fish curry this evening. A final call into the yacht club to pay our dues for the stay. We have really enjoyed our stay here and the facilities are very good, as is the club bar.
CAPE KIDNAPPERS AND GANNET TERRITORY
January 23 2021
The morning was quiet and still as we let go from the Visitors Barth at the Napier Yacht Club at sunrise. Motoring out of the channel we were accompanied by numerous day fishing boats, going out for their weekend catch. A very light westerly breeze set in and we were able to sail easily with just the Yankee out towards Cape Kidnappers.
On the way across Hawke Bay towards Cape Kidnappers I hoisted the main and put three reefs in before dropping it again. Its so much easier to start with reefs in and take them out as needed rather than struggle to get reefs in when its blowing. Now its all prepared. Today is a slow speed sail as the wind down the coast at Castlepoint is blowing 60 knots. We don’t want to arrive there until the wind has eased significantly. Sailing at two and a half knots is perfect for the first 24 hours.
At mid-day we rounded Cape Kidnappers and sailed slowly south in a dying breeze. The Gannets were out in force, hundreds of them plummeting into the sea into large balls of baitfish. Dolphins were everywhere, herding fish and gorging themselves. Occasionally breaking off to visit Truce and play under the bow, then quickly losing interest as the slow speed didn’t provide much of a thrill.
By mid afternoon the breeze had died out completely apart from a few puffs that amounted to nothing – just teasing us. I looked on the chart and though I might be able to anchor behind Bare Island (Motuokura), worth a look anyway as I didn’t fancy being awake all night going nowhere.
In the lee of Bare Island there were numerous cray pots and the bottom was obviously rocky. But, I found a spot between the pots in ten meters of water that looked good and was protected from the swell. I put a line and buoy on anchor and put thirty meters of chain in the water, a tempory anchorage arrangement and one I hoped would not get caught around too many rocks. If the anchor did get caught I hoped to pull it out backwards with the buoy line.
Once anchored I put a soft bait over the side and was rewarded by a couple chubby of Blue Cod. That’s breakfast tomorrow sorted. Ngozi was very impressed with my fishing prowess – but really catching Blue Cod is not skillful.
Hopefully tomorrow the gale warning to the south will have lifted and we can continue with the promised North Westerly wind. Its pretty slow going so far, not enough wind in the north and too much in the south.
BARE ISLAND SOUTHWARD, MICKY SUFFERS SERIOUS DAMAGE
January 26 2021
The day started out perfectly, little did we know how difficult it would turn out.
I gingerly picked up the anchor from the anchorage behind Bare Island, the chain catching on rocks but eventually coming free and with relief I stowed the anchor and retrieved the buoy and line.
I then noticed a boat heading directly towards us at speed, someone does not look happy I thought. Once the boat was alongside I let the fishermen know that I had just anchored overnight awaiting weather and had buoyed my anchor in case it got stuck in rocks. Their demeanour changed – I assume they had been thinking I was raiding their pots as they must have seen my anchor buoy coming on board. I enquired how the cray fishing was going and they replied it was good. I let them know I was partial to a bit of cray myself. They asked if I would like one? I won’t print my reply here but they laughed and threw two nice sized cray across. So generous. What a good start to the day. Unfortunately for me I caught the crays barehanded, an act that I was to regret for a few days.
Once clear of all the cray pots we motored south in calm conditions. For breakfast we dined on Blue Cod in between bread and butter. Wonderful, simple fresh food. The only casualty of the morning being a ripped open finger when catching the crays, a small price to pay.
The concern as we continued south was the continued gale warning at Castlepoint, on our track. I decided to continue as the winds can ease quite quickly at Castlepoint, the weather north and south of Castlepoint was good and I didn’t like the thought of returning to Napier for shelter and losing more days in port. At morning smoko we had a nice breeze and all set sail. Half an hour later there was no wind and by early afternoon had wind approaching 50 knots and were hove to within sight of Cape Turnagain. Considering options.
All afternoon we struggled and at six in the evening had clawed our way past Cape Turnagain in thirty knots. By 22:00 in the evening I had my fill of battling wind and ran off to the south heavily reefed in very rough seas to try and get some rest.
This is the third time I have been past this point and have now the made the resolution that it will be the last. Any further travels north or south will be on the west coast. Captain Cook came this way and couldn’t get south, instead opting to go north and sail around New Zealand in an anti clockwise direction. Nothing much has changed it seems.
During the night the lower mechanism on the windvane (Mickey) suffered serious damage. Somehow the release mechanism on the windvane became jammed, causing the metal support to deform before sheering off. I had noticed the windvane become jammed but was so busy attending to sails that I couldn’t rectify the problem before it broke. I will have to find a welder or machine shop to fix the problem. Being without the windvane makes life difficult and I hate hand steering.
The next morning at 06:00 we still had 35 knot gusts of W’ly wind which then swing to the NW and moderated allowing us to get full sail on at 08:00 and head in the right direction. After an hour the wind disappeared, we resorted to motoring all day in flat calm. In late evening we could sail again in a steady 20 knots of N’Wly wind. It has been a trying day of hard work. Two other yachts came past us in the night, both going a bit faster than us.
I will try and think up a temporary fix for the windvane. Continuing the cruise without a working windvane will not be an option.
ARRIVAL AKAROA – DÉJÀ VU AGAIN
January 27 2021
With the nasty weather behind us we made good time down to Akoroa. The wind was either there or not there, meaning we either sailed at a good speed or motored slowly. Once south of Kaikoura we had a steady 20 to 25 knots of wind on the port quarter giving us a fast ride in sparkling conditions. We had Albatross as constant companions with frequent visits from Dolphins. Whales were also sighted in the distance. Glorious summer sailing.
After a few hours of thinking and a bit of trial and error I came up with a temporary fix for Mickey by fashioning a wooden peg from an emergency bung. Its not perfect but will steer us in the general direction plus or minus 30 degrees. Certainly beats hand steering.
Just after midnight we experienced a strange phenomenon. The temperature turned chilly although the wind still came from the same N’Wly direction. A few minutes later I could see a dark patch of pressure on the water and prepared for a squall to hit. Instead there was a blast of warm air and the sea levelled out. Truce sprang alive and hit 9.5 knots as I quickly took over steering. This continued for fifteen minutes during which time we even hit 10 knots and averaged around 8.5. Gradually this warm wind reduced over the next two hours until it was motoring time again.
This is the first time I have experienced a warm dry strong wind in New Zealand and think it must be something the locals here call the Nor’wester. I know Christchurch has been experiencing record high temperatures recently so maybe this is connected.
The lack of wind persisted all the way into Akaroa Harbour where we anchored in Pine Tree Bay just after sunrise on Wednesday morning. By this time I was just about falling asleep on my feet and didn’t waste any time in getting horizontal.
The trip down from Napier has been a constant battle with all three of the New Zealand winds, not enough, too much and wrong direction. But, we are happy with progress and look forward to a few days in Akaroa as a southerly blows through. Hopefully I can also get Mickey to a machine shop to get welded up and repaired.
Akaroa was the furthest south I came last year before turning around due to Covid. I spent a few days here, firstly waiting for a weather window to go south and later deciding to head north due to an imminent countrywide Covid lockdown. Almost a year later and we again have community Covid transmission. Amy Winehouse sang ‘I don’t want to go to rehab’. If I could sing it would be ‘I don’t want to go to lockdown, no, no, no’.
AKAROA – SOUTH WESTERLIES IN PROGRESS
January 29 2021
After arriving in Akaroa on Wednesday morning I had a good sleep and rested on board all day. The northerly wind blew and it wasn’t conducive to heading ashore in the dinghy. So it was a lazy day and a quiet evening on board for Ngozi and I. We were both happy to relax after the trip south.
On Tuesday we picked up anchor first thing in the morning as the southerly wind had started, causing a lumpy chop against the bank in Pine Tree Bay. We dropped anchor again in front of the Akaroa Yacht club in a persistent drizzle and cold wind. Mid morning we went ashore, it was wet and cool but I expected the weather would brighten up later. First stop was to the garage to see if the mechanic there could fix the windvane. Unfortunately, the repair is quite complicated and he declined. This left the option of sending the parts across to Lyttelton for repair.
Ngozi and I retired to Rona’s Café for lunch and to decide what to do with the windvane parts. Lunch was excellent.
A few phone calls later it was decided to send the parts by courier to Stark Brothers in Lyttelton. Starks did some repairs for me last year and were very professional and a did an excellent job so it wasn’t a difficult decision. Later in the afternoon we found the post shop and after some hurried packaging managed to ship the parts out on the last courier of the day. With the windvane parts on their way I could relax.
The weather was so cold and wet I was shivering and teeth chattering. What a contrast to yesterday when I was in shorts only and feeling hot. Akaroa was very quiet, a total contrast to last year when it was buzzing with tourists and two cruise ships in port. It looks like the businesses here have been hard hit by Covid and the lack of International tourists.
By four in the afternoon I was so cold and wet I had to get back to Truce to dry out and warm up. First, I had to bail out the dingy that was sloshing about with rainwater, then a cold wind chill ride back to Truce. Once onboard we changed into dry clothes, in my case thermals and put the Dickinson heater on. Fifteen minutes later we were toasty warm and snug with the hatch shut. One benefit of heavy rain, the heavy salt deposits had been washed off Truce.
By late evening the strong southerly wind has started blowing and we let out more anchor chain, to 45 meters in the water. We also fitted the extra long nylon snubber to help absorb the shock loads.
It was a noisy and uncomfortable night as the wind howled and the boat shook and heeled with each gust. By Friday morning nothing had changed, it was just daylight, the wind continued to howl. Nothing moved in the harbour, the tourist boats stayed on their moorings. Not a day to be messing around in boats.
The good news of the morning was the arrival of the windvane parts at the Stark Brothers shipyard in Lyttelton. A couple of phone calls and exchange of photos and it was established what repairs were required. It’s a small but tricky time-consuming job and I will get a progress update on Monday. Due to the strong winds and choppy seas there was no point in trying to get ashore. Ngozi and I settled back on board and found odd jobs, cooking, watching Americas Cup, reading and surfing the internet to pass time. Cruising around New Zealand requires an abundance of patience.
AU REVOIR AKAROA
January 31 2021
On Saturday morning the cold southerly winds eased off and we were eager to get ashore in Akaroa and stretch our legs. A beautiful warm sunny day today and all well in the world again. After a walk around town and a good cup of coffee we paid a visit to the four square store for fresh groceries before heading back to Truce for lunch. In the afternoon I took the dinghy into the Akaroa yacht club jetty to fill our freshwater jugs. We have handy 5Ltr jugs that we use for fresh water, very convenient to use, store and top up.
In the late afternoon we headed back ashore, this time for drinks and dinner at The Trading Rooms bar and restaurant. The food was excellent, we returned aboard in the evening well fed, watered, and tired, ready for the sail down to Port Chalmers in the morning.
On Sunday morning we lifted the anchor for a departure on the ebb tide from Akaroa. The night had been very peaceful with no wind to disturb our sleep. The anchor was well dug into the thick Akaroa mud. It took quite a few buckets of seawater to clear the mud from the chain and deck, oh wouldn’t a wash down hose be convenient!
As we left the anchorage I heard the engine noise change, a look over the stern showed no cooling water coming out the exhaust. I switched off the engine and dropped the anchor again. The Akaroa harbour is littered with large floating patches of seaweed, most likely dislodged in the recent southerly blow. Some of this weed had completely blocked the seacock inlet, I tried to blow it out, but nothing happened. I removed the inlet hose from the seacock and used a heavy-duty cable tie to poke down the seacock valve. After a few prods I was rewarded with a good flow of water into the boat (now I will have to clean the bilge). In resecured the hose (2 clips) and ‘voila’ the hose was on and the engine is getting cooling water again. I picked up the anchor again, cleared seaweed from the chain, washed the chain and deck and we were on our way again.
The northerly wind had filled, taking us quickly out of Akaroa Harbour and past the impressive Timutimu head back to sea. Looking back at the entrance to Akaroa and Banks Peninsular its hard to imagine the massive volcanic force of nature that created it.
We were surrounded by numerous Hectors dolphins as we departed, so many you could not count them. I tried to get photos of them and ended up with numerous shots of splashes, tails, heads, fins but no complete dolphin in shot, very tricky to photograph.
The wind strengthened to a solid 20 knots. Truce bounded along with 2 reefs in the main to starboard and the Yankee poled out to port, occasionally hitting nine knots as we surfed down the waves. Wonderful sailing in bright sunshine, sparkling blue seas and white topped waves, this hasn’t happened much this trip. Micky the windvane would relish these conditions, unfortunately he is MIA, being repaired in Lyttleton.
Late evening the wind stated dropping as the sun set, by midnight there was not much puff left, speed had dropped to 3 knots. The sails started flogging as Truce bobbed around on the confused sea. Time to motor again, reluctantly I started the motor to keep us moving. Only another 65 miles to Port Chalmers.
ARRIVAL PORT CHALMERS – MICKEY REPAIRED
February 4 2021
The wind didn’t return, the final 65 miles to Port Chalmers was achieved with the assistance of Mr. Yanmar. He ran relentlessly for 12 hours, in a decreasing sea until we completed the final miles to Taiaroa Head in flat calm and brilliant sunshine. A beautiful day to arrive.
I put a call through to the Otago Yacht Club to see if they had a berth available in Dunedin. Unfortunately, they didn’t. I then called the Port Control on VHF Channel 14, they very helpfully directed us to a visitor mooring in Deborah Bay. The mooring turned out to be excellent, just around the corner from Careys Bay.
The afternoon was so nice we stayed on board, sat on deck, soaking up the sun and scenery, had drinks and snacks followed by a siesta. The evening was rounded out with a hearty stew followed by a good night’s sleep.
Tuesday opened with a N’ly breeze and showers but soon cleared up and we went ashore for a walk and do a bit of exploring. At lunch time we headed to the Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel. Both lunch and beer were excellent, the further south we get the better the food seems to be.
Another walk, back to Truce and then ashore again to the pub in the evening for a drink and pudding. Well, we are on holiday! Another great night’s sleep swinging around the visitor’s buoy. We like this place.
Early Wednesday I received a call from New Zealand Courier Post in Dunedin to inform me that I had a package ready for collection. This is the part for the self steering that has been repaired by Stark Bros Ltd in Lyttelton. So, off we went to Dunedin on the number 14 bus that conveniently stops just where we land in the dinghy. The trip into Dunedin was scenic, going along the harbour side. Once in Dunedin the weather changed, a cold wind and overcast skies. The hustle of the city and traffic noise was a bit disconcerting.
After collecting my package from the New Zealand Courier Post depot, we had a quick explore of Dunedin. I think the place is a dump, I will be happy never to come here again and was eager to leave. I have been here three times previously, each time it has been raining. Not to break the record it started to drizzle and become miserable as we headed back to Careys Bay on the bus. We were both happy to return to Truce and the warmth of the cabin as a cold S’ly wind was starting to sing in the rigging.
On Thursday morning I opened the package from Starks. The part looks to have been well repaired, I set about reassembling the windvane self steering, taking great care not to drop priceless bits over the side, always stressful. An hour later Mickey was functioning and appears to be as good as new. We are now ready to again. The test will come as we sail down to Stewart Island. Happy that Mickey had been repaired we headed ashore to the laundrette and four-square store. Once again, we bought too many groceries – but as Ngozi says we are on holiday, which seems to be the excuse for any excess. We had an excellent lunch in Port Chalmers and the café also had draft beer, I really do like this place.
We are now waiting for a weather window to sail south to Stewart Island. I don’t think we will have to wait long and are looking forward to this next step of the cruise.
MAGICAL STEWART ISLAND
February 7 2021
Thursday 4th February, the evening weather forecast indicated good winds for sailing to Stewart island. The last few miles before Stewart Island showed light winds so I expected we may have to motor to complete the trip. But no time to waste, the dinghy was stowed on deck and everything made ready for an evening departure. I decided to go in the last of the daylight out to Taiaroa Head and make the turn southwards just before dark. We had to buck the last of the incoming tide but it seemed the right thing to do. I was eager to get going.
We let go from the mooring buoy just after eight and headed out, it felt good to be moving again and exciting to be on the last leg of our journey south. At ten in the evening we were around Taiaroa head and headed south, motoring south in a lumpy sea and no wind. Gradually the wind filled in and half an hour later the engine was off, we were sailing slowly south with a light N’Ely wind. By midnight the wind had dropped and could barely fill the sails that slatted back and forth as we rolled in a lumpy sea. Frustrating, but be patient.
By four in the morning a better breeze had built up and I had the Yankee poled out to starboard and the main with three reefs lashed out to port. Wing on wing we sailed, the breeze gradually building to the forecast 20 knots. All morning the breeze built and by noon I struck the main as we were getting overpowered, with just the Yankee poled out we were averaging over 7 knots in sparkling seas and spectacular scenery on the coast. By 18:00 the wind was blowing hard and with the Yankee half furled we were hitting over 8 knots and surfing down the building seas. Exhilarating sailing, but I really didn’t want any more wind.
As we approached Stewart Island the swells built up with breaking tops, coming from astern. No doubt the shallow water of the Foveaux Strait and east going tide contributed to the turmoil. Mickey was working overtime and held a good course as we surfed down the swells and held us up from broaching. Stark Bros in Lyttelton has done a great job on the repairs, thank you.
Just before midnight we turned down to Paterson Inlet and entered calm waters. The wind had taken us all the way, the light winds predicted didn’t arrive and the motor stayed off until we were will into the inlet. In complete darkness I motored past Ulva Island and anchored in Jacky lee Bay. Engine off and complete silence, I was happy to have completed this part of the journey. Twenty-six hours from Taiaroa head to Paterson Inlet was very good going considering the slow start. Ngozi handed me a beer, I am not sure I finished it before falling into a deep sleep.
Saturday 6th February and a lazy morning and a late breakfast, brunch really, eggs, beans, tomatoes, toast and the works with fresh coffee. Paterson Inlet was tranquil and majestic, a feast for the eyes. Early afternoon we caught some Blue Cod for dinner on the way down to Glory Cove to anchor for the night. Once anchored we took a trip ashore for a walk and gathered some mussels. In the evening we had mussels and a feast of Blue Cod. To cap off a great day we had sundowners in the cockpit in the warmth of the setting sun. Once the sun sets it gets chilly very quickly, requiring a retreat to the cabin.
Sunday 7th February and more good calm weather. We took the dinghy ashore and walked through the bush to Ocean Beach. A beautiful wild beach, we watched a sealion messing around in the surf. Kiwi are reported to walk on the beach at night foraging for food.
After returning to Truce and lunch we headed over to Ulva Island, stopping on the way to have a look into a small bay known as Sailors Rest. This bay is a very protected anchorage with stern lines rigged ashore for those times it does blow hard. At Ulva Island we anchored in Sydney Cove and took a dinghy ride ashore. Ulva Island is a predator free environment and birdlife is abundant, as soon as we landed a nosy Weka wandered up to check us out.
We realised that our boat shoes were not suitable for the long walk around the island, so we postponed that event for tomorrow. Instead, we walked along the beach, relaxed and had a cold beer, reflecting on the scenery and the magic of this place.
EXPLORING PATERSON INLET
February 12 2021
Monday, properly attired with appropriate footwear, we stepped ashore again on Ulva Island, this time for an explore. As soon as we landed another cheeky Weka popped out the bush to welcome us, pecking around our feet.
The weather was good, we decided to walk around the island. The tracks are very well maintained and clearly signposted so not much possibility to get lost. The birdlife on this predator free island is prolific, the birds mostly ignore the humans around them and carry on their activities. The Black Robins for some reason seem to like interacting with humans and pop out of the bush as soon as you approach. They will hop around you without any fear.
After our leisurely visit to Ulva Island we headed over to Kaipipi Inlet for an overnight anchorage. This is a good sheltered all weather anchorage but really not that attractive scenery wise. Late in the afternoon the heavens opened, it rained, serious solid rain. We hunkered down and had the Dickinson heater on during the evening, it was cloudy, wet and cold. How quickly the weather can change in this place.
Tuesday continued with persistent rain, although not as serious as the previous evening. After a morning restricted to the cabin we decided to break free and walk to Halfmoon Bay and the town of Oban. Midday saw us ashore with raingear and walking boots, heading down the track towards Oban.
The track was well formed but the rain had turned parts of it into a mud fest. By early afternoon we wandered into Oban, wet and bedraggled. We visited the four square store to stock up on nut bars for the return trip and bought a fresh loaf of bread. Then we headed over to the bar at the South Seas Hotel for warmth and refreshment. Suitably fortified we headed back towards Kaipipi Bay along the track, finally trudging into Kaipipi Bay just before six in the evening. Once back on board the Dickinson heater was flashed up again and a hot meal prepared. It had been a good day out and far better than sitting waiting for the rain to stop.
Wednesday opened with a slight drizzle but quickly cleared to a bright sunny morning. Today we headed out of Kaipipi Bay and across to Millars Beach. This is a pretty sandy beach with the added attraction of a swing rope that Ngozi took advantage of.
From this beach there is access through to the site of an old Norwegian dockyard, built for repairing whaling ships, the Kaipipi Dockyard. This site was once a bustling hive of activity, with full dockyard facilities to repair steam powered chase boats for the whaling industry. This place had now been designated an Archaeological site and is protected. I found the site fascinating. There are bits of old shipyard scattered around, the old slipway, steam boiler, propellers and old machinery. The self-belief, fortitude and resourcefulness of those who built and worked at the site is almost beyond our modern comprehension.
The forecast for the evening was not good with strong westerly winds forecast. We anchored in Little Kaipipi Bay, thinking it may be sheltered enough for the upcoming winds. After a couple of hours we decided to move back into Kaipipi Bay proper before darkness where we knew we could get good shelter and holding for the anchor. On the way into the Bay Ngozi saw deer on the foreshore, they disappeared as we approached. We anchored and made sure the anchor was well dug in and then paid out more chain to give us a nice long scope. As the saying goes, ‘chains no good in the locker when it turns nasty’.
All evening and the next day it blew hard from the west as a storm warning was issued for Thursday. We were happy to have decided to come back to this anchorage, however drab it may be. On Thursday morning the boats barometer was standing at 980 Mb, by late evening it had risen to 1000Mb as the intense low to the south of us moved away to the east. By midnight the winds were a mild 10 to 15 knots.
Friday morning opened fine, cloudy and calm. Everything on deck was sparkling clean but soaking wet. The dinghy was half full of water, wonderful for a shower if it was not so cold. Today was definitely time to say goodbye to Kaipipi Bay and head for new grounds. In calm waters we motored around to Halfmoon Bay. We were lucky to be offered a mooring just off the main wharf by Fluff, a fine gentleman who runs Leask Bay Charters. I had the pleasure of going on one of his fishing charters with Steven a few years ago where we caught and ate our first Blue Cod. I remember it now, Blue Cod fried in butter and served between two slices of white bread, doesn’t get any better.
Once on the mooring we had some boat business to complete, refilling gas bottles, topping up diesel jerry cans and water jugs before we could relax. With the chores out of the way and happy we were topped up for the next part of the voyage we relaxed and did very little around Oban in glorious sunshine and warm weather. The ghastly weather of the past days eradicated from memory.
In the evening we dined at the South Seas Hotel and had an excellent meal. It seems the further south we get the better the food seems to gets. We ate and drank too much of course, returning to Truce in the evening well satisfied and headed for an excellent night’s sleep.
We have been thinking about our next moves. I am quite keen to move further south and have a look into Port Adventure, Lords River and Port Pegasus. However, our time is limited, Ngozi has to return to Auckland by the end of February and I would like us to visit Fiordland together. Also there seems to be a weather window opening up for the trip westward across the Foveaux Strait to Preservation Inlet and we well know weather windows should not be squandered in this part of the world. We shall see.
LAST DAYS IN STEWART ISLAND
February 16 2021
After a couple of glorious days swinging on a mooring in Halfmoon Bay we have decided that its better to head up to Fiordland at the next opportunity. Crossing the Foveaux Strait westwards can be tricky as the westerly winds predominate. Weather windows with easterly sector winds can be hard to come by so we shouldn’t squander the opportunity. I am a bit disappointed not to be visiting more of Stewart Island. Further south and Port Pegasus will have to wait until next time.
On Saturday we did the final shopping for fresh items at the Four Square Store. Then we took a walk over to Horseshoe Bay. A beautiful bay, shaped like a horseshoe of course, with clean water and a curving sandy beach. Could be a good fair-weather anchorage.
In the afternoon we repaired to the pub to watch the Americas Cup. Still a bit of a one-sided event favouring the Italian Luna Rossa Team. I hope the Brits can find a way back in to challenge. Our time in Halfmoon Bay has been very enjoyable and the weather has turned on the charm again with clear skys and sunshine. The pub in the South Seas Hotel is very welcoming.
On Sunday morning we decided to leave the charms of Halfmoon Bay and head around to Paterson Inlet again for a spot of fishing and to visit Golden Bay anchorage.
The first fish we hooked was a nice size Gurnard. These are good eating so lunch was taken care of. I always f eel bad about catching Gurnard, they are such pretty fish and the croaking sound they make is hard to ignore – but they do taste good.
The next fish on board was a bit of a puzzle, finally being identified as a Pigfish. These are also reported to be good to eat but I am a bit wary. Ngozi is keen to try it though.
After this it was a constant stream of Blue Cod, some good sized fish for the pan and many smaller juveniles which we returned. Filleting is not my speciality, it took time but eventually I had all fish filleted and the patience of the attendant Mollyhawk paid off. He swallowed the fish carcases whole and seemed to have a bottomless pit of a stomach.
For Sunday lunch we had pan fried Gurnard and salad, wonderful.
After fishing we had a sail around Ulva Island in a nice N’ly breeze before anchoring in Golden Bay in calm tranquil conditions. The sunset was great again and a perfect excuse for sundowners.
ARRIVAL PRESERVATION INLET
February 17 2021
Monday and moving day. The weather forecast looks favourable for a move north across the Foveaux Strait to Fiordland. The weather models all agree. The Met Service backs it up, although they do have a gale forecast for the northern sea area Foveaux. But if a gale does pop up the wind direction should be from the right direction.
After a final visit to the pub in Oban and a walk ashore we steamed out of Paterson Inlet at sunset and quickly had the engine off and sail on in a fresh S’ly breeze. With triple reefed main and yankee we were romping along in calm waters up the coast at 7 knots, occasionally hitting 9 knots in the puffs. A great start to the trip, for once we had that elusive and rare wind, ‘the right direction and the right strength’.
Of course, the wind died shortly after midnight and we were motoring by one in the morning for a couple of hours in a sloppy sea. The wind filled in again and made sailing difficult as it was the ‘not enough’ wind. Eventually we got settled on a course with the yankee poled out to starboard and the main lashed out to port. The logbook records ‘rolling like hell’ so it must have been uncomfortable for a while.
By sunrise there was a steadily building breeze from the SE, we dropped the mainsail as the wind increased and continued under the poled out yankee alone, making good speed and much steadier. The wind continued to build, the seas increased and by mid-morning we were surging along with half reefed yankee, averaging over 7 knots. Very nice sailing in sunshine and sparkling waves, this were the gale force winds the Met Service had predicted.
Rounding Puysegur light and entering Preservation Inlet was exciting. The wind was now shrieking at 40 plus knots, with just a small scrap of yankee we were flying along, Mickey still in control although the windvane was fluttering horribly in the strong wind. As we looked ahead at the Otago Retreat entrance to Preservation Inlet all we could see was a line of breaking surf. This was quite disconcerting, I wondered if the narrow entrance could be untenable in this weather. My plan B was to haul around to the north and enter Preservation by the wider channel north of Coal Island.
As we approached closer the entrance to Otago Retreat became obvious with the heavily breaking water to our starboard side. Just after 14:00 we entered the calm waters of Otago Retreat; we had arrived in preservation Inlet. It had been an exciting ride in, Puysegur point doesn’t have the reputation as the windiest place in New Zealand for nothing.
An hour later we were anchored in Cuttle Cove and settling down with a cold beer or two. I am not too sure about the Cuttle Cove anchorage, the bottom seems to be rocky and may not provide good holding in a blow. For tonight it will be OK. The trip across the Foveaux Strait had taken seventeen hours, I was happy to have crossed this notorious stretch of water in good time. We have now turned the corner and will be heading north again, up the West Coast.
Next we will start to thread our way north through the sounds, taking the coastal hops between the sounds as weather permits. Ngozi has eaten the Pigfish and declared it excellent, I am not so sure and will wait to see any effects it may have on her before trying one myself.
TRANQUIL ISTHMUS SOUND
February 18 2021
On Wednesday Morning we met up with another couple cruising on their yacht as they dropped anchor in Cuttle Cove. We swapped information for a while, they are going south to Stewart Island. They had come from isthmus Sound anchorage and declared it to be excellent and sheltered. We decided to try it ourselves as we are looking for a lazy day with security.
By early afternoon we were secured in Isthmus Sound with a stern line to a buoyed shore line and anchor out ahead. Peaceful, tranquil and sheltered. This is an excellent spot and would be secure in a blow.
The first chore on the agenda was to get the mosquito and sand fly screens in place. All Fiordland is notorious for sandflys and we had a few thousand visit us as soon as we arrived. They are desperate for human company, very happy to see us and extremely persistent. Mosquito netting is useless against sandfly’s, they wriggle through the mesh. Before setting off I purchased some fine mesh fabric from Spotlight, happy to report that it is an effective barrier against sandfly’s.
Despite suffering multiple sandfly bites during the day, we had a very sound sleep. Nothing moved, no noise, no wind, no waves, utter peace and quiet. What a wonderful place.
Thursday morning opened up to brilliant sunshine and clear skies. All was well in our little world. Breakfast was a leisurely affair and we finished off the last of our shop bought bread. It will be boat made bread for a while now.
The morning weather forecast is calling for N’Ely winds after today and lasting past the weekend. These winds will prevent us from moving up the coast outside the sounds. With this in mind we decided to move from Preservation Inlet around to Chalky Inlet, just a short hop. This gives us a few more anchorage options as we wait for the winds to turn favourable again.
Mid-morning we motored out of Preservation Inlet and around the Gulches Head and through Broke-adrift Passage to Chalky Sound. As we turned around Gulches Head I looked astern and saw Puysegur Point receding into the distance, nice.
Shortly after entering Chalky Sound the afternoon sea breeze set in and we had a nice sail all the way up Edwardson Sound and into Lake Cove.
We dropped anchor in Lake Cove just after 16:00 and dropped a line over the side. We were immediately rewarded with two fat Blue Cod. The fish were biting so furiously that they destroyed a soft bait on seconds. The fish we caught were taken on a hook with a scrap of soft bait remaining, I think they would even have taken an empty hook. I have noticed that very often, just after the anchor has been dropped I catch fish. I have a theory that the setting of the anchor stirs up the bottom and that attracts the fish in to have a look.
Lake Cove is reported to be an all weather anchorage, it certainly is well protected on all sides with just a narrow entrance channel. The cove shallows quite quickly, as we found out. The holding seems good but I didn’t find the cove too attractive and have concerns about the wind funneling down the hills in a blow, On the south side of the cove are the Cora Lynn Falls. If the weather is suitable tomorrow we will take the dinghy ashore and go for a stroll up to the falls and the lake beyond.
Ngozi has suffered no ill effects from devouring the Pigfish.
CHALKY INLET, NORTHPORT ANCHORAGE
February 20 2021
Early Friday morning in Lake Cove was calm and tranquil. The anchorage is very scenic, surrounded by hills and higher mountains beyond. Lake Cove is supposed to be an all weather anchorage but I suspect there could be some fierce winds generated from the surrounding high ground that would not be too pleasant.
This morning we set out in the dinghy to visit Cora Lynn Falls and Lake Cadman beyond. When we arrived at the landing place by the falls we could not see a suitable safe spot to get ashore, it was possible to get ashore but not too easy and we could see no obvious path. Not wanting to risk a landing we retreated, our morning walk in the bush abandoned.
As we returned to Truce a strong breeze sprang up, the weather changes quickly here. We picked up the anchor and set sail. We sailed fast out of Lake Cove and down Edwardson Sound with a following wind in calm waters with just the yankee set. Yesterday afternoon we had been blown up the sound and this morning we were being blown down. Lovely sailing in flat water.
Our next destination was North Port where there is an inner and outer anchorage. The outer anchorage is less sheltered, the inner anchorage good for all weathers. We opted for the inner anchorage and and picked up a stern mooring by a small island in the centre of the cove.
In North Port we saw two other boats, they were local boats moving around with hunting parties on board. The deer carcasses hanging overboard indicating that hunting has been rewarding. Ngozi asked the skipper of one of the boats if she could send a message, he helpfully obliged and she sent a message on his Inreach. As we have no satellite phone on board we are without any outside communications while in Fiordland where there is no cell coverage. I am happy to live without cell coverage for a while but Ngozi gets worried about family.
The fishing at the anchorage is very good and is providing us with some excellent Blue Cod. They are hungry and not fussy eaters. My stock of soft bait lures has dwindled to almost nothing as the fish attack the soft bait with gusto and rip it to shreds. My go to lure is now an empty hook with a bright piece of plastic at the head. The Blue Cod seem to like it and surprisingly keep getting themselves hooked up.
The weather forecast for the next few days is not looking good for us moving up the coast to our next stop in Dusky Sound. Today we have a N’ly gale warning and N’ly winds of 50 knots forecast for Tuesday. We will be sitting tight for a few days until it blows over. These N’ly winds on this part of the coast are caused by a large high pressure bubble over the rest of New Zealand. This means the rest of New Zealand will be experiencing fantastic summer conditions.
WAITING ON WEATHER AT CHALKY INLET
February 24 2021
For five days we have been in Chalky inlet waiting on weather. Our next destination is Dusky Sound and that requires a just a short hop to the north, offshore around West Cape. The recent winds have been strong N’ly and not favourable for us. While waiting for the weather to turn favourable we have been moored in North Port, a protected all-weather anchorage if a stern line is used.
Today and the two days previous there have been storm warnings in force for the Puysegur area where we are currently. The good news is that this afternoon the storm warning has been downgraded to a gale warning and later today the wind is swinging around to the SW with thirty knots and then reducing to a comfortable fifteen knots tomorrow morning. The weather at this corner of New Zealand is very dynamic but we should be on our way again soon.
This morning the day started off with torrential rain. We changed our mooring from the west to the east side of the small island where we are using a sternline. This will give us protection from the SW winds we expect to arrive soon. Working a sternline in the dinghy was refreshing, we both got a good soaking and were shivering cold by the end of it. A good strong cup of tea and some dry clothes and we were fit to go again. The good news is that we topped off all our fresh water tanks with nice fresh rainwater.
North Port has produced some nice fat Blue Cod. We have eaten well on fish and Blue Cod is a lovely fish to eat. But, nice as it is we are now craving some snapper or other firmer fleshed fish for variety.
The first day here the windvane making a creaking noise as it turned in the wind. I assumed it needed some lubrication and fed it some oil. The creaking persisted, not as much as before, but as its usually silent I decided to investigate further. Further examination turned up a loose screw holding the frame to the pushpit. A drop of locktite and tightening of the screw eliminated the noise and all is peaceful again. Thank goodness I found it in time, it would be grim losing the self steering in windy conditions.
Another first occurred today, I managed to block up the Lavac Toilet. This has never happened before despite various people feeding it with all sorts of objects over time. I had just come to expect it to pump anything. Anyway, I was cleaning around the toilet compartment where we hang our wet clothes with some kitchen towel and just tossed it into the toilet without thinking. When I came to flush it out the pump just refused to budge. The application of applied force wouldn’t move it. I spun off the front plate of the pump, removed a large hard ball of kitchen towel and replaced the plate. Tried pumping again and hey presto all good, working a treat. I just can’t think of any other toilet that is as reliable or so easy to use and maintain as the Lavac.
Time here has been taken up with reading, playing solitaire, cooking, making bread, odd jobs, eating, wine tasting, sleeping and relaxing. There is always something to do on a boat, just need to keep busy to while away the time.
AROUND WEST CAPE – ARRIVAL DUSKY SOUND
February 26 2021
Moving day arrived, Thursday the 25th of February, the forecast is for S’ly winds, eager to get moving we let go the stern line, picked up the anchor and were motoring out of North Port before breakfast.
As we motored out of Chalky Inlet the weather was brooding and overcast, everything on board still wet from the overnight rain. The heave of the ocean swell started to make itself felt as we headed down Western passage, taking care to give Providence Rocks a wide berth. Once clear of the channel the wind arrived, a beautiful wind. It was that elusive rare wind in New Zealand, right direction and right strength.
With fifteen knots of southerly wind behind us we made good time up the coast, the clouds cleared, we sailed in bright sunshine on sparkling seas. We poled out the Yankee to starboard and lashed the main to port and enjoyed wonderful sailing. By noon we had rounded West Cape, which appears to be the westernmost point of New Zealand.
The wind held and we sailed into Dusky Sound and all the way up to Pickersgill Harbour on a light afternoon sea breeze. So good to have arrived here, it’s like another chapter has opened, we are in the first of the sounds of Fiordland.
Ngozi was eager to get ashore and encouraged me to anchor quickly. This is against my nature, in the deep water of Pickersgill I wanted to find a good spot and sniffed around like a dog settling on his blanket for the night. Finally, coming back to the first spot I had selected and dropped the anchor close in under Crayfish Island in ten meters of water.
We took the dinghy ashore and landed in Cooks Cove, the place where captain Cook spent six weeks repairing his ship Endeavor in 1773. From the landing spot it’s a short walk to Astronomers point where Cook observed the transit of Venus. This was magical for me, walking in Captain Cooks footsteps. The stream and small cove forms the small natural harbour where Cook moored hid ship. Its hard to imagine what the crew were thinking, being on ‘day work’ after months on watches and just about as far from home as they could get.
The evening was calm and tranquil, we were joined in the anchorage by another yacht that we first met in Port Chalmers on our way south and then again in Stewart Island. Nice to have company.
Friday morning was peaceful, wonderful weather and I sat in the cockpit enjoying a cup of tea and the surroundings. The peace was broken by Ngozi, she declared she wanted off! Ah, mutiny on board! All this came as a surprise to me. The lack of telephone, internet and concern about the family, who we have been out of contact with for some time now. So, we must try and find a way of getting Ngozi back to civilisation – soonest. This has upset my plans as I had intended to linger in Dusky Sound for a while longer, more anchorages to visit. Well, we all know that an unhappy wife leads to strife, action is needed.
There is a barge moored in Breaksea sound at Sunday Cove that has a helicopter landing pad. We decided to head up that way and ask if there were any choppers going out. Up anchor and off we went, motoring up Acheron Passage and into Breaksea Sound.
We arrived at Sunday Cove in the early afternoon, the place was deserted, not a soul to be seen on the barge. Looks like everyone had gone for the weekend. Even worse there is no radio reception in Breaksea Sound, we are unable to get an updated weather forecast. I found a spot to anchor and ran a stern line ashore. We went for a walk ashore, didn’t like it and returned on board. Then I decided I didn’t like the where we were moored and unmoored.
Friday night we have anchored in Second Cove and are considered our options. I tried fishing and only came up with some undersize Blue Cod. Second Cove is nothing to write home about. Miserable place.
Tomorrow we will head out to sea, try and get radio reception and a forecast. If the weather is good we will move up to Doubtful sound where we know transport out is available. We will get an early start.
BREAKSEA SOUND TO DOUBTFUL SOUND – SECOND ATTEMPT
February 28 2021
Saturday morning opened with low cloud and rain, but it was nice and calm. At seven the anchor was up and we were on the way, heading down Breaksea Sound towards the ocean. The sea was a bit lumpy and no wind, we motored on and hoped the wind didn’t come from the north and head us.
Unfortunately, just after nine the wind started to fill from the north and our speed dropped below three knots as we steamed into the wind and waves. Accepting defeat we turned back to Breaksea Sound. Whilst offshore I tried to contact maritime Radio on VHF16 and the fishermans radio on VHF66. I could raise neither of them. From my past experience there are not many spots in New Zealand where you cant raise Maritime Radio as their coverage is excellent. This area must be a bit of a dead zone.
On the way back into Breaksea we spotted a boat with a hunting party and divers on board just south of Breaksea Island. We altered course and headed across for a chat. The skipper gave us an update on the weather, forecast is for light variable winds tomorrow and strong northerly on Monday. He also enquired about transport out as he has a party departing tomorrow. The cost of a chopper seat for Ngozi was quoted at between $1,000 and $1,500, too expensive, we will plan to get transport at Doubtful Sound instead.
Looks like we will have to take the light wind window to motor between Breaksea Sound and Doubtfuly Sound, hoping the wind from the north holds off. Its only a twenty mile hop up the coast, but with any headwind and sea it will be a slow slog with our small engine.
After our chat with the hunting boat we headed down behind the Gilbert Islands and at a tempory anchorage in deep water we were rewarded with a beautiful Blue Cod, dinner sorted.
On the AIS we saw our companion yacht closing in on us. They had come up from Dusky Sound and were asking us for a weather forecast. They too have no outside radio communication and had also tried calling Maritime Radio without success. I passed on the forecast we were given and I expect they will also try and head up to Doubtful sound tomorrow. They have a large motor, they should cope well with any moderate headwinds.
In the late afternoon we ghosted back into Breaksea Sound on a light sea breeze and moored in Beach Harbour. A lovely anchorage where the bottlenose dolphins greeted us. We awoke very early on Sunday morning, the moon was full and the waters flat calm. Not seeing any point in hanging around we got under way and by the light of the moon motored carefully out of Beach Harbour. The dolphins arrived as we left the harbour to say goodbye and followed us for a short time down the sound. I could have stayed in Beach Harbour for a couple of days, it is sheltered and has good access to the shore.
By five we rounded Rocky Point and watched Breaksea Island drop astern in the moonlight. An hour later we were joined by dolphins. Shortly after this I noticed the engine sound change slightly, I checked the exhaust and saw very little water coming out. Immediately we shut down the engine and a check revealed a blocked seawater inlet. The second time this trip!
We tried the usual trick of a large cable tie down the water inlet through hull. The blockage remained, just a dribble of water coming out. Next we tried a curtain wire, it went out all the way through the valve and outside through the hull fitting, but still the blockage remained. We could not imagine what was in there to allow the probes to pass through but still block the pipe. Looking over the side we saw numerous sausage shaped condom like things, I assume they are fish egg sacks or something, perhaps what the dolphins were feeding on.
After a bit of head scratching we connected the dinghy foot pump to the sea valve and gave it some hefty pumps. That did the trick, the inlet cleared and we had a good flow of water into the bilge. The blockage was so severe that we burst the bellows on the dinghy pump. Fortunately we have a spare. Excitement over, we had lost an hour but were once again on our way.
Just before ten we passed close to the south of Hares Ears rocks and entered Doubtful Sound. Soon the swell disappeared and we were motoring in calm waters, bright sunshine and clear visibility into Doubtful Sound. Ngozi being delighted to be here as she can now get transport out and back to Auckland.
Motoring easily down the sound was a delight, the scenery stunning, with waterfalls cascading down the steep sides of the sound. This feels like a real fiord, steep sides plunging down hundreds of meters into the water. At Deep Cove, we picked up a mooring line on the Helena Falls side of the cove and turned the engine off. Peace and quiet.
A trip ashore in the dinghy revealed showers were available and there is a bus departing tomorrow for Te Anu. We returned ashore to have hot showers, the first for a very long time. Feeling fresh and clean we returned to Truce for a last evening meal together and an early night, it had been a long day.
SINGLEHANDED SAILING AGAIN
March 3 2021
Monday morning and Ngozi caught the bus out of Deep Cove to Te Anau. Well actually it’s a bus to Lake Manapouri and then a ferry across the lake to Manapouri Town. I was sorry to see her go. We have had quite an adventure this past two months. Having another pair of hands on board has been a great help. Ngozi knows a lot more about cruising now and what she likes and dislikes. I have learnt a lot about sailing with wife on board!
After Ngozi left I felt a bit empty and didn’t do too much all day, just messed around at the mooring and went ashore to Deep Cove hostel to use the internet and have a wonderful hot shower again. The day has been wet, everything is damp outside. In the evening I lit the cabin oil lamps to give some warmth. The cabin was soon nice and warm, thank goodness Truce is well insulated.
Tuesday I awoke and got about some chores. First I did an engine oil change. A horrible job which I hate. No matter how careful I am I always get engine oil everywhere. On this Yanmar engine you have to suck the oil out of the dipstick hole, such a dumb way of doing things. When I get back to Auckland I will invest in a better suction pump that will hopefully improve the process.
Next on the agenda was cleaning the bilge. After the raw water inlet blockage we took some seawater into the bilge and it has been sloshing about and making a mess. That took a while with fresh water and washing up liquid to get sparkling again, then it was lunch time.
In the afternoon I took the dinghy ashore for some internet time. The Deep Cove Hostel is quite welcoming. A party of trappers is in residence, they are an odd bunch but very friendly, really keen on discussing, stoats, mice, rats and possums. I learnt a bit about trapping but hope I can forget it soon. The evening hot shower was excellent and drove out the cold dampness of the day.
The mooring in Deep Cove is very tranquil and peaceful. But its wet, almost constant rain and the sun (I assume its above the clouds) rises late and sets early due to the high hills around the cove. But, there are nasty winds here and the mooring is exposed I am told. Time to move on.
Wednesday morning I went ashore to visit the Hostel Manager and settle my account for the mooring and internet use. It was still raining. The first indications of a breeze, the flag fluttering occasionally and some ripples on the water. At ten I had my smoko cup of tea then let go from the mooring, motoring out of Deep Cove and down Malaspina Reach, past the imposing entrance to Hall Arm, my destination Blanket Bay.
As soon as we left Deep Cove the head wind picked up, building to a nasty gusting gale blowing straight up the channel and right on the nose. I harnessed all of Mr Yanmar’s power and plugged away in driving rain into a short chop with spray coming over the bow. The speed was not great, it took four strenuous hours to make the twelve miles to Blanket Bay.
In Blanket Bay I met up with the yacht we have been meeting on and off since Port Chalmers. I passed on the weather forecast that I had downloaded in Deep Cove. The weather is not looking good for going north with a N’ly gale today and tomorrow and maybe a S’ly gale on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday look good for sailing north with moderate S’Wly winds.
Blanket Bay didn’t look to attractive in the rain and there was a bit of swell coming in so I decided to move on to an all weather anchorage in Precipice Cove at the end of Bradshaw sound. A fisherman recommended the place saying it was the only real all weather anchorage in the Doubtful sounds.
I anchored temporarily in Blanket Bay for a rest and to prepare and eat some late lunch. Suitably rested and fortified I weighed anchor and headed out. First across the bottom of Thompson Sound in gusty thirty knot winds on the beam and then into Bradshaw sound. The wind in Bradshaw sound was from astern, filling the cockpit with freezing rain, I was shivering, all wrapped up in my foul weather gear. Is this summer?
The further into Bradshaw Sound we travelled the lighter the wind became. As we turned around the bottom of Macdonell Island it was almost calm. I tied up alongside a mooring line rigged in a cove to the east of Macdonell Island and was all secure at 17:00. Its was still raining and misty but the scenery I can see is wonderful, massive waterfalls, swelled by the rain, cascading down the sides of the sound. The only noise I can hear is the distant gushing of water and raindrops on the cabin top. The fisherman was correct, this is a bomb proof mooring.
PRECPICE COVE – INCESSANT RAIN
March 6 2021
For three days I have been hunkered down in Precipice Sound, behind Macdonell Island. It has rained continuously since I arrived. According to the boats up in Blanket Bay it is raining there as well. This cove is very well sheltered from both wind and sea, hardly a ripple on the water, its hard to believe its blowing outside. I really want to head out and have a look but it’s a twenty-mile trip along Bradshaw and then Thompson Sound. So, I won’t bother until I know it’s good.
I am getting daily weather forecasts from Fiordland Fisherman’s Radio on VHF 66, the only radio I can receive here. I have passed on my position to the operator (Carol), so someone knows where I am. Yesterday a launch came into the cove to join me, we have met before firstly in Acheron Passage and later in Deep Cove. He is also waiting on weather to move north. Nice to have company in such a remote place.
The weather I was expecting for Monday and Tuesday is changing daily according to the forecasts as fronts move onto the lower South Island. Hopefully, I will be able to go north on Monday, either to George Sound or further to Milford Sound. On one hand I want to get out of this awful wet and depressing weather but on the other hand I want to see the sounds now that I am here, I won’t be coming back this way again.
There has been no sunshine for six days and almost continuous rain. I am having to run the engine every day to charge the batteries. The solar panels usually handle all my power requirements, but these wet overcast days less than ten amps are trickling into the batteries. Just about every electrical item on the boat is switched off to conserve power, its an Apollo 13 like scenario.
The days and nights are cold now. In the evenings I have resorted to lighting up the fire for a few hours. Very nice to have the dry heat inside the cabin when it’s so damp and wet outside.
I also slip a hot water bottle into my bed before I sleep, warms it up nicely. There is a funny dumb and dumber type story about the hot water bottle. When I was getting Truce ready in Canoe Cove, on Vancouver Island in the spring of 2017 the weather was bitterly cold and wet. Truce was out of the water in the yard and I was living on board to save money on accommodation. At night I was freezing, I had blankets and sleeping bags galore to try and keep warm. Getting into the cold bed was nasty. On one of my phone calls to Ngozi I was bemoaning the cold bed. Ever the practical woman, she said why not buy a hot water bottle. Doh! I had one on board, hanging in the bathroom cupboard! From then onwards I slid into a warm bed each night.
Today was baking day, bread and scones this time. The scones turned out OK but didn’t rise so much as usual, maybe my baking powder is past its prime. But they taste good, I devoured two hot ones with jam immediately, yummy.
Luckily I can receive Fiordland Fisherman’s radio in Precipice Sound, they are on VHF 66. In the evening I received the local weather forecast. Good to be able to pick up weather on VHF again. The weather looks very confused with a number of fronts hitting the bottom of the South Island, I will wait for it to settle down a bit.
ENGINE FAILURE – SAILING TO GEORGE SOUND
March 9 2021
Sunday 7th March and the forecast is good for sailing up the coast, a strong S,Wly breeze of thirty knots and easing to fifteen later. At six in the evening I let go the mooring and departed the anchorage in Precipice Cove. This is an excellent anchorage with a good strong permanent line rigged to Macdonell Island to secure alongside. Very sheltered, it would be good for storm conditions, one of the best anchorages in Fiordland.
Thirty minutes later as we were happily motoring along Bradshaw Sound, in flat calm, with not a care in the world, Mr. Yanmar emitted a terrible and alarming knocking noise. I shut the engine down and checked over the side to see if anything had fouled the propeller, it was clear. I started up again and the noise was still there, now smoke was coming out the exhaust. I shut down again and investigated. Nothing seemed obviously wrong. Whatever, it’s not something I can fix now. If I use the engine there is a likelihood of causing (more) serious damage, so its sailing only from now on until the engine is fixed.
Unfortunately, it was absolutely mirror calm, sailing was a slow business. The water is too deep to anchor and wait for some breeze. We ghosted through the night trying to escape Bradshaw and later Thompson Sounds. Very frustrating to know that there was good breeze outside the sound just a few miles away. Eventually, at seven in the morning, some thirteen hours after leaving Precipice Cove, we cleared the entrance to Thompson Sound. As we ghosted out of the sound the rocks off Sharks Head looked particularly menacing to leeward before we picked up a light breeze and heading further offshore to clear the rugged coast. It had been a long tiring night.
The wind offshore was good and steady fifteen to twenty knots but the sea still rough. Sailing up the coast was excellent with the wind astern. Not our best point of sail but I have found that with the yankee poled out and the reefed main lashed out on the opposite side we do very well. Though its downwind, windvane Mickey can steer comfortably in these conditions. I use some bungee on the tiller to prevent it swinging too much as we roll down the swells. We romped along, relieved to be free and sailing again. I even had a couple of cat naps as we went along with Mickey in charge.
The sky is still stubbornly overcast but at least no rain offshore. I contacted Carol (A very helpful lady) at Fiordland Fishermans Radio, she passed a text message onto Ngozi to let her know where I was.
At one on Monday afternoon we rounded into George Sound, the sun came out and the wind disappeared. Wonderful, the first proper sun we have seen since entering Doubtful Sound eight days ago. I peeled off layers of clothing, luxuriating in the warmth of the sun. Power trickled into the batteries from the solar panels, I switched on the fridge to ensure the beer was cold for arrival.
Inside George Sound it was good motorboat weather. The sail up to Anchorage Cove took nearly four hours to cover the six miles. A sea breeze wafting in eventually to help us along. There are two other more protected anchorages further up George Sound that would be easy to reach with a motor but I want to avoid hours trying to sail out of a possibly windless sound if I can.
Once anchored I cracked a nice cold beer, it drained away into my body like a sponge, I quickly needed to crack a second. It had been a long wearisome day.
Tomorrow N’ly winds are forecast and strong S’ly on Wednesday and Thursday with rough seas. I may take the S’ly the following day to move up to Milford Sound. In the meantime, I will enjoy George Sound and read the Yanmar engine manual.
March 12 2021
After the brief appearance of the sun yesterday I was hopeful for the same today. However, its back to the same old. After a good nights sleep I awoke to an overcast sky and low cloud, cold with rain and drizzle. The day didn’t improve, it blew hard and rained hard from midday and a nasty sea came into the anchorage, pitching us around. Not having the option of being able to motor out and with insufficient room to sail out from the anchorage I let out more chain and hung on, the shallows of a lee shore threatening us astern.
I spent time organising the spare anchor and warp in the afternoon. I put the spare anchor on deck at the start of this cruise but left the ground chain and warp in the locker. If the motor is working it’s not so critical if the spare anchor is to be deployed, the engine can be used to keep out of trouble whilst the spare anchor is rigged. However, with no engine the spare needs to be rigged and ready to go instantly. Now, I can just cut a few lashings and heave it anchor over the side, its ready to go. The paintwork might suffer a bit but if I need the second anchor I won’t be concerned about paintwork. As a backup to the backup I have a Bruce anchor with chain and warp in the locker, just for the unlikely event I might need it.
In George Sound I can now pick up the Metservice weather forecast on VHF71. This is a big help, the afternoon update issued a gale warning, someone must have looked out the window. The wind and lumpy sea continued all day and night. I catnapped on the settee in the salon all night, my usual spot when at anchor in windy weather.
Wednesday and the wind has moderated but rain all morning. The afternoon brought some late and welcome sunshine. Managed to harvest seven amps into the batteries, the fridge is still off. The sunshine brought out the fisherman in me and I caught the biggest Blue Cod so far, big fat and beautiful colouring. I read that it can take up to twenty years to grow to this size. He went back, I didn’t want to eat such a beautiful specimen.
After I sent the Blue Cod back home I had a really nice surprise. Three guys in a fizz boat came along and gave me a couple of crays. I do like crays. Dinner was sorted and the Blue Cod were safe for another day. I ate both crays at one sitting, washed down with some nice Sauvignon Blanc. Happy. Life is good.
The forecast says the weather outside the sound is SW thirty knots with rough seas and its set to continue tomorrow as well. I don’t fancy the rough seas bit although the wind is in the right direction, I will wait another day for it to moderate.
The night was more peaceful than the previous night. Although the wind blew quite strongly from the south. The night sky was clear, no clouds. The stars brilliant as there was no moon. I sat in the cockpit for a while under the stars and wondered about the universe. It was cold so I scuttled back inside and lit the oil lamps for warmth.
Thursday morning and its clear and calm early. A beautiful morning. The sun is striking the hills on the other side of the anchorage but doesn’t hit us until just before midday as we are anchored behind a big knob of a hill. After midday we start to harvest some decent amps and the fridge is back on to keep the beer in condition.
The weather forecast is upgraded from the expected twenty knots to thirty knots, still with rough seas. Now they are predicting perfect SW fifteen knots for Friday. Sailing on Friday looks good.
Its only forty miles up the coast to Milford. But, almost half of that distance is in the sounds where sailing is tricky. I want to arrive in daylight therefore I need to depart very early morning from George Sound, hoping I can sail out of George sound in good time and sail into Milford Sound on the afternoon sea breeze. A bit of a lottery.
ARRIVAL MILFORD SOUND
March 15 2021
Very early on Friday morning I weighed anchor and sailed out of Anchorage Cove, the outgoing tide and stream from the George River helping us on our way. A slight S’ly breeze barely filled the sails as we slowly sailed out of George Sound to the sea. The sky was clear, the stars shining bright, the breeze carrying earthy smells from the land.
Before three in the morning we were clear of George Sound and looking forward to a nice sail up the coast on the predicted twenty knot S’Wly wind. The wind didn’t arrive, it was a hoax. With light and variable winds we slowly closed the distance to Milford Sound. Apart from lack of wind the weather was brilliant, the coastal scenery stunning. If not for the lack of engine and anxiety about finding a safe haven to anchor in Milford Sound it would have been a perfect day.
Truce was accompanied by two Albatross all the way. Often, they landed close by and followed, paddling fast to keep up, when they dropped astern too far they took off again, circled a few times and then landed close by to repeat the process again. Albatross are wonderful birds and I never tire of watching them. In all the time I have observed them I have never seen them eat. They must eat a lot, they are large birds. But when they do it, I have no idea.
Sailing into Milford sound was a long process in light, almost nothing wind. Finally, we were anchored in Anita Bay, it was difficult to find a clear spot between all the fisherman’s cray buoys, I had to sail around in circles for a while. Once the anchor was down I ran a stern line ashore, again not easy handling the dinghy and rope with the swells and slippery rocks. Just before eight in the evening it was finished, we were anchored and moored. Anita Bay is not a good anchorage, just acceptable for a temporary stop in calm conditions. The bay is littered with cray pots and finding a clear spot to sail into and drop anchor was a real challenge.
The night at Anita bay was calm enough but uneasy as the swell found its way in and strong currents circulated. In the morning I retrieved the stern line and picked up the anchor only to discover that I had somehow snagged a craypot line between the keel and the skeg over the prop shaft, oh boy. I dropped anchor again to hold us in position and tried to free the line from the prop, this proved impossible with the strong currents running. I secured an old fender to the line and then cut the buoy free. Everything came free and I resecured the fisherman’s buoy back onto the line. Wow, that had taken an effort.
With the excitement over I sailed out of Anita Bay, happy to be clear of the place. The sail up Milford Sound was a slow process, We tacked into a light wind coming out of the sound, after an hour the progress could be measured in meters, the outgoing flow of water was pushing us back. Fortunately, a sea breeze set in, we were soon sailing fast through spectacular scenery, the tourist boats heading over and passing close by as a yacht sailing in the sound is apparently a rare sight.
I sailed through the narrow channel into Deepwater basin where I tried to find a berth. Nobody seemed interested in talking to me. I anchored in a shallow spot and went ashore to find someone who could help with a berth. Eventually I was advised to pick up one of the tourist boat moorings. Picking up the anchor again I sailed across and picked up a mooring as advised on a very large steel buoy with a black rubber fender around it.
With the currents in Deepwater Basin and the fickle winds Truce would not lie quietly at the mooring, she sailed up each side of the mooring and then managed to get the mooring line between the keel and skeg. The second time in the same day she has managed this trick, what a clever yacht.
After untangling the mooring line from under the boat I went ashore again and found someone with a phone connection. There is no cell phone coverage here but the tour groups have access to a phone network. I called Ngozi and let her know where I was. Of course, she already knew as she has been following me on AIS with Marine Traffic.
Back on board I settled in for a good nights rest, happy and secure on a mooring. It had been a hard few days since leaving Deep Cove, first days of rain, then no engine and light winds. I decided to rest here awhile.
The following day Truce had black marks down both sides of the hull where she was riding up on the mooring buoy during the night. Its only cosmetic but looks nasty, not to worry, Truce is a workboat not a gin palace.
Not wishing to remain on the big mooring I sailed across to another mooring and secured to it. This seemed better but I had to spend some time experimenting with the line length to make sure we could not sail over the mooring and get the rope trapped again. Once happy with the mooring I took the dinghy ashore and walked up a track besides the Cleddau River to the Milford Lodge. The Lodge has internet for sale and a Venison Sandwich for lunch. Nice to have red meat again and the venison was excellent.
In the late afternoon when I returned to Deepwater Basin there was another yacht at anchor. Turned to be Phil, Lynda Christieson on the yacht Windora, quite a well-known yacht. They knew the previous owners of Truce and we had a good chat. Then I returned to Truce for some bread and muffin baking and supper.
During the evening the wind picked up as a front is passing through. By three in the morning the wind was starting to howl, the rain was lashing down. I got up and removed the outboard and oars from the dinghy. A refreshing task that blew the cobwebs away. In daylight the scene was spectacular, wind was bombing down the steep sides of Deepwater Basin in huge gusts. Waterfalls had sprouted everywhere, gushing down the rock faces adjacent to the boat. The noise was tremendous.
Thankfully, in the early afternoon the wind and rain had eased off sufficiently for another trip ashore. The barometer had bottomed out and was starting to rise again, I figured there would be a few hours until the backside of the front came along. I walked up to the Milford Lodge, had a coffee and snack and used the internet. I returned to Truce as the wind was starting to pick up again.
I settled back onboard and lit the fire. Warm and cosy in the cabin and waited for the weather to pass.
ENJOYING SPECTACULAR MILFORD SOUND
March 18 2021
Tuesday the 16th and the front has passed through, light drizzle in the morning, clearing up by lunchtime and Truce is gradually drying out. The rain has been spectacular but now it’s gone and the waterfalls are diminishing.
By mid-morning I had a full crew of helpers onboard from the other boats in Deepwater Basin to assist in diagnosing the problem with Mr. Yanmar. The collective knowledge was welcome, I was at a loss what to do next with the engine and assistance was most welcome.
Soon we had the rocker cover off, looked at springs, valves, tappets and some other technical stuff, all seemed OK. The engine turned over by hand with the compression levers open without any obvious nasty noises. We started her up and the knocking returned with black smoke. But after running a while reduced but the revs were fluctuating. We opened each fuel line in turn to the injectors, each cylinder was firing – an improvement. Less knocking and less smoke.
After a cup of tea and some gingernuts the small filter on the engine was opened and checked, no obvious problems. We then bled the fuel system and tightened everything up again. On starting the revs popped up and down a few times and then settled back to a normal running speed. The knocking disappeared and after a few minutes the smoke disappeared as well. Everything normal?
The support team suspect that a blocked injector or possibly air in the system somehow caused the problem. The plan now is to get the injectors tested at the first opportunity, most likely in Nelson. To say I am happy the engine is running again would be a gross understatement. Many thanks to Phil and his team for helping out with practical knowledge and advice.
To test the engine I went for a spin and changed moorings to a more sheltered position with less current. I still don’t have total confidence that the engine problem has gone away and am super sensitive to any slight noise the engine may make.
The afternoon weather was calm and perfect. To celebrate I went for a walk ashore to the tourist Café and had an ice-cream.
In the evening the crews of the four boats in the anchorage came together for drinks. It was a happy late night affair involving Rum. It was very dark when I took the dinghy back to Truce.
Wednesday morning opened to perfect weather again, cloudless and sun beating down on the solar panels giving lifeblood to the batteries. What a wonderful day in a wonderful place.
I went ashore early and had a great walk. The scenery is magnificent. The transformation from rain and wind to Sunshine and calm is magical. I am lucky to be here and experience these amazing sights in good weather.
In the late afternoon I went onto one of the fishing boats at the dock. They have satellite TV to stream the last race of the Americas Cup. New Zealand defeated the Italians to win, it was a proper race and a convincing win. A fantastic result and the whole country has gone a bit nuts. Another reason to celebrate tonight.
Thursday and the shore called again, off I went for a walk and to get some internet to download the latest weather forecast. The weather is looking good for departure tomorrow with a good SW breeze setting in after midday for a couple of days according to predict wind.
This evening I have been invited to Windora for dinner with Phil and Lynda. I am looking forward to it, time to select a good bottle of wine from the bond locker to take over with me.
MILFORD SOUND TO WESTPORT
March 21 2021
Last night I had dinner on Windora, I thoroughly enjoyed it, roast chicken with real vegetables, good food and good company. After dinner we had more rum and I once again chugged back to Truce late at night in the dinghy.
I awoke on Friday morning to a beautiful day, clear skies and calm weather. For breakfast I had a crayfish that was dropped off on the boat last night. A perfect way to start the day when followed up with toast and marmalade with fresh coffee. I am eating well down here and crayfish for breakfast must be the ultimate food to start the day.
Today is moving day, the forecast for sailing up the coast from Fiordland is good after midday when a breeze is forecast to set in. First on the morning agenda was to bake some fresh bread for the trip ahead.
Just before noon, with heart in mouth, I started the engine. Mr. Yanmar fired first time and settled down to a nice regular beat. I gave it a few minutes running just to be sure all is well. Then I flipped the mooring line off the bollard forward and cruised across Deepwater Basin to say goodbye to the other boats. One of the other boats is also sailing up the coast today. They are quite a bit bigger than Truce so I expect they will leave us behind as we head north.
By two in the afternoon the entrance to Milford Sound dropped astern and a fresh south westerly breeze set in. Soon we were sailing with the wind on the quarter, the yankee poled out to starboard and the double reefed main lashed out to port. Progress was excellent, speeds hitting eight knots and comfortable in the long swell.
The other yacht appeared astern and we sailed together for a while as I shaped a course further offshore to try and remain in the stronger wind. Then I noticed a large blue sail being deployed on the other boat. It wasn’t a spinnaker but something called a tradewind sail, it worked wonders and they gradually overhauled Truce doing a good speed. We had a chat on the VHF radio, they reported speeds of nine to ten knots and the boat being very settled. I must admit to a bit of sail envy, I would like to have a downwind light sail for Truce.
The wind was supposed to hold for two days but at midnight I had a call on the VHF from the other boat to let me know the wind would be dropping in the next three hours to light and variable. Not the news I wanted as I had hoped to have a good sail up the coast. We continued sailing throughout the night and the wind gradually deserted us. By seven in the morning we were down to two knots boat speed in very light wind. Reluctantly I started the engine and headed north, hoping the engine would not fail.
All Saturday we motored in calm conditions, so unlike the west coast. The option to stop the engine and wait for wind didn’t exist, no favourable wind was coming, we just had to keep going. I calculated that we could not round the north of the South Island before a S’Ely wind came against us. The plan B was to put in at Westport for Sunday night and then see what the weather would do.
The early hours of Sunday morning were rare, the sea was mirror calm, no cloud and a moonless night. The stars were reflected in the sea and the horizon was indiscernible, it was impossible to see where the sea ended and the sky began. The effect is like being inside a giant snow globe. I have only experienced this in the Indian Ocean previously. In these conditions it’s best not to think too deeply about the universe, space and the meaning of life or insanity could quickly follow.
Motoring continued all morning and we rounded Cape Foulwind just after midday. The last run down to the Westport Harbour entrance was accompanied by a westerly breeze and the yankee helped us over the last three miles.
Westport is a bar harbour and has a fearsome reputation when Buller River has a good run and there is a swell outside. I have seen the videos on YouTube. However, in the benign conditions prevailing, crossing the bar would not be a problem. The informative Westport Harbour Information pack can be downloaded from the internet and provides information about the Bar.
I contacted the Harbourmaster and let him know I was coming in. He was most helpful and directed me to stay on the beacon line and to tie up against his big rigid inflatable launch. By two thirty in the afternoon we were past the heads into the harbour and shortly after all secure alongside the harbourmasters’ launch, which turned out to be an old Americas Cup support boat. The big inflatable fenders making a comfortable cushion to lie alongside and no tidal range to worry about.
It had been a long arduous motor up the coast. The engine had not missed a beat all the way. However, I am suspicious and still not confident that all is well with Mr. Yanmar. I was tired and looking forward to a good rest. But, tired as I was, I couldn’t sleep and got ready to go into town and pick up some groceries. The last shopping had been in Stewart Island a few weeks ago and I fancied some red meat and fresh vegetables.
Westport is not a big place; the main street runs down to the port. I was surprised to see a building that would not have looked out of place in California or Texas, The Municipal Chambers. The architecture at odds with the rest of the street, how bizarre.
After a few minutes walk I found the supermarket and loaded up on fresh produce and treats. Returning to Truce I made up a hearty stew in the pressure cooker with some prime steak. A beautiful nutritious evening meal washed down with some cold beer. Now, all secure alongside, well fed and watered I could finally sleep.
WESTPORT TO TARAKOHE
March 23 2021
After a wonderful restful sleep overnight I awoke to a nice calm day alongside in Westport. It took a couple of minutes to get my bearings and figure out where I was. I had breakfast and coffee and then went ashore to organise some diesel fuel. The run up the coast from Milford Sound had consumed far more diesel than I had budgeted for.
The fuel dock was occupied by fishing boats discharging their catch and restocking. The jetty was typical fishing boat standard and I didn’t fancy putting Truce alongside the exposed piles to take fuel. Instead, I opted for getting fuel in jerry cans from the nearby gas station. By mid-morning I had sufficient diesel on board to get me around the top of the South Island.
I met up again with the harbourmaster and he informed me of the upcoming installation of floating pontoons to accommodate leisure vessels. The pontoons will have proper security and be serviced with electricity and fresh water. There will also be showers and toilets ashore. This will be a huge improvement to the facilities in Westport for visiting vessels, no more scruffy fishing boat pens. Westport will also be a convenient stop between Milford Sound and the Nelson area. Just be aware that its not a place to go for shelter when the weather is already bad.
Careful study of the weather indicated that a window was available to get around Farewell Spit between one S’Ely flow and the next. If I missed this opportunity the wind could be blowing from the north down the west coast for a few days. I took the opportunity and departed from Westport early afternoon. Destination Tarakohe Harbour in Golden Bay.
With Mr. Yanmar powering us along we made good time up the coast. The engine seems to have healed itself but I am still cautious and super sensitive to any change in engine sound. All afternoon and evening we motored. The following morning we were still under diesel power on a flat calm sea. By noon we had eventually reached the end of Farewell Spit, it seemed to take forever! Once past the shallow end to the Spit we turned to the south for the last couple of hours run down to Port Tarakohe.
By Three in the afternoon we were secure alongside in Tarakohe Harbour. Finally the engine was off and I could relax, cracking a beer in the lovely afternoon sunshine. I was in T Shirt and shorts, its been a long time since I have been this warm and able to wear summer gear.
As I relaxed in the cockpit I had a look around at the other boats berthed at the dock. I saw a boat that looked familiar and on closer inspection was surprised to see it was our old yacht ‘Rangatira’. She looked good and I wandered over to have a closer look. The new owner, Richard, was on board, he welcomed me with the words ‘Good afternoon Mr. Penson’. He had been expecting me as he was tracking Truce around Farewell Spit on AIS. We had a good chat, it was great to see the old boat in good hands and looking well, she is a good Kauri planked boat and will be around for many more years to come I expect.
I could not relax for too long, Ngozi is arriving tomorrow afternoon. There is a stack of laundry to process and my personal presentation and hygiene needs a bit of work after almost a month without showers.
By late afternoon I was well on with the laundry, had a haircut and shower, almost presentable again. In the evening a few mussel farm boats came into Tarakohe. These are the front runners of many more as the mussel industry offshore in Golden Bay is being expanded significantly.
Tarakohe port is an interesting place. Originally built adjacent to a limestone deposit to produce cement for the growing infrastructure needs of New Zealand. The cement company ‘Golden Bay Cement’ in its heyday produced vast quantities of cement for the Manapouri Hydro Scheme. One of the ships, a purpose built cement carrier called the ‘Ligar Bay’ hauled cement from Tarakohe around to Deep Cove in Fiordland for the hydro scheme. Ligar Bay is a small bay adjacent to Tarakohe Harbour.
The Ligar Bay was built is 1964 by Henry Robb in Leith, Scotland. She was later sold to F.T. Everard & Sons in the UK, a company I worked for many years ago coasting around the UK. Anyway, in 1985 I delivered the Ligar Bay from London to St. Martin in the Caribbean for the West Indies Cement Carriers, a small company run from a motor yacht anchored offshore on a line between the Dutch and French jurisdictions.
The trip on the Ligar Bay is particularly memorable as we hit a nasty storm in the Atlantic after leaving the UK. Our only communication was an old Sailor SSB radio that chose to pack up as the weather worsened. I spent twenty-four hours figuring out how to fix it before successfully contacting Miami Radio, callsign WOM in those days. I was not certain we were going to make it, the ship was well loaded and struggled in the seas, I just wanted to get a message off so someone knew where we were.
Fortunately, we made it through the storm and put into Madera for fuel and wine. The remaining trip to the Caribbean was peaceful and cheerful. Henry Robb, long since closed down, was a good shipbuilder. My first command in the North Sea was a Norwegian design built by Henry Robb. Built like a brick outhouse and never any concern whatever the seas or weather.
ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK
March 26 2021
Wednesday morning was a stunner, flat calm and warm sunshine. Truce and I absorbed the heat, the damp wet of Fiordland and the West Coast quickly evaporated away. The morning was spent pottering around, doing odd jobs and tidying the boat up after our trip up the West Coast. There are always maintenance jobs pending after any trip.
Ngozi arrived mid-afternoon. She was driven from Nelson Airport by Ian who I had met in Milford Sound and lives in Nelson. A very kind gesture and helpful as Tarakohe is not easy to get to from Nelson. Ian then took us to the supermarket in Takaka to buy fresh food. After which we took Ian for refreshments and a pleasant time was had by all.
My birthday is on the 27th and Ngozi had brought a new Lavac Toilet for me from Auckland. Quite an unusual birthday present but very welcome. This is a replacement for the old toilet which, although still working well, has a cracked lid that has been repaired with glass fibre. It looks unsightly so a new toilet will replace the old one.
In late afternoon Ian departed back to Nelson and Ngozi and I had a bar b que of lamb chops on board. This is only the second time this trip the bar b que has been used and I am questioning the value of hauling it around.
The following day the sun shone again, beautiful weather, we decided to stay another day in Tarakohe and do not very much. In the morning we went for a walk to find a café for egg and bacon breakfast. In this venture we were unsuccessful, everything was shut. Only some sad old pies on sale at the local store. Back to the boat and we soon had a reasonable breakfast produced minus the bacon.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing, walking and enjoying the warm weather. A final trip to the laundry and showers completed the day, everything and everyone on board clean and shipshape for the next part of the trip.
On Friday morning we let go from the dock and motored out of Tarakohe Port. Once again, we had sunshine and calm weather. Our destination is Abel Tasman National Park, just a few miles along the coast. I had visited Abel Tasman last year, a wonderful place. Although it’s only a small area with just a couple of sheltered anchorages I think it’s one of the nicest spots to go boating in New Zealand.
We meandered along the coast and around Separation Point. Separation Point features on the daily weather forecasts, the weather to the north of this point can be vastly different to the weather south. Usually, weather south of separation point is more benign than to the north. We stopped and fished off Separation Point for a while, nothing doing so we continued on.
At lunchtime we anchored in The Anchorage. A fairly sheltered bay and one of the anchorages in Abel Tasman that is considered by some as all weather. After a leisurely lunch a breeze with some sea came into the anchorage, we decided to move around to Adele Island, an anchorage that I know from experience to be better in a northerly wind.
Adele Island is a pest free island and the native birds have flourished. The birdsong on the island is wonderful and can be clearly heard from the anchorage. In the late afternoon we went ashore to the beach with some cold beer. Sitting on a convenient log we watched a group of young seals frolicking in the shallows, the birds sang around us as the sun set. Very enjoyable.
Today I realised I had crossed my outgoing track of last year so have now completed a circuit of the South Island. Having completed a circuit of the North Island last year it seems I have now circled both big islands of New Zealand.
ABEL TASMAN TO NELSON
March 31 2021
27th March and my Birthday. Not the best of weather today, a bit damp outside, perfect for fitting the new toilet. In short time the old toilet was removed and placed in the cockpit, I will decide what to do with it later. I assembled the new toilet, an easy job, I didn’t think the quality was as good as the old Lavac unit. The stud center’s are the same so the new toilet just dropped into the old space. By morning smoko the job was done, pipework connected and tested OK.
After lunch we took the dinghy for a ride around Adele Island, the seas were calm and the weather had cleared up to beautiful sunshine. We did a bit of fishing, nothing was throwing itself on the hook, we were not too interested in fishing anyway. We spent time watching the young seals from the nursery playing in the shallows. Very entertaining. The late afternoon was taken up just chilling out, eating and drinking, enjoying the surroundings and birdsong.
Early Sunday morning I was awoken with the wind howling in the rigging. As usual, when I checked the time it was two in the morning. Whenever the wind blows it always seems to be two in the morning. I went up on deck and let out more chain, it was raining and blowing but not too hard. Satisfied we were all secure I went down below and spent the rest of the night sleeping on the salon settee.
The rain and drizzle continued all through Sunday, we stayed on board and watched as other boats come and go from the anchorage. I feel a bit let down as I had been telling Ngozi what a wonderful place Abel Tasman was and how its always nice weather in summer.
Luckily on Monday the good weather returned for a while, we had a nice sunny day and warm day. The birdsong and seals provided music and entertainment. In the afternoon I went fishing in the dinghy but only caught small snapper. I let them all go to grow bigger. Very disappointing as I had failed to provide food for my woman, apart from the fact I really fancied some fresh snapper.
On Tuesday the rain returned, a nice persistent rain coming from an overcast sky that showed no sign of change. Hoping for a break in the weather we moved across to Stilwell Bay where there are good walking tracks. We anchored and waited for the rain to break. It didn’t. A few times we egged ourselves on to get ready and go ashore in the dinghy. But there was no real enthusiasm and in the afternoon we returned to Adele Island and anchored again.
Wednesday the 31st and it was still bloody raining. I had had enough, we decided to head down to Kaiteriteri, anchor in the Bay and take the dinghy ashore for exploration and pick up some fresh meats and fruit from the local store. When I went to start the engine it was reluctant to get going. Eventually it started after much effort and smoke and settled down to a regular beat. I decided that we should head direct to Nelson where I could hopefully get the engine sorted out properly. Having an unreliable engine is getting too stressful and I try and live in a stress-free environment.
The trip down to Nelson was all under motor in calm conditions with persistent rain. Mr. Yanmar didn’t miss a beat and I wondered what could be going on inside that metal box. Sometimes it performs flawlessly and others it’s a lottery.
In the late afternoon with the rain finally ending we picked up a mooring behind the Boulder Bank close by the old lighthouse. A lovely sheltered position, very close in with only a light wind to disturb us.
Tomorrow morning I will take the dinghy ashore and visit Marine and General, a company that has been recommended to me. I am hoping they will be able to diagnose the problem with Mr. Yanmar and provide a solution. In the meantime we will enjoy the lights of Nelson and the peaceful mooring under the old lighthouse.
NELSON AND ENGINE REPAIRS
April 6 2021
Thursday 1st April. I took the dinghy ashore and visited Marine and General. I explained the engine problem with the engineers, after answering all their questions they concluded the most probable cause is a blocked or worn injector. Anyway, that is the first place to look as there is nothing else obvious that hasn’t already been looked at.
They suggested I bring Truce alongside their jetty and take the injectors out so they can test them in their fuel shop. This seemed an excellent idea and I returned to Truce, started the engine (it fired first time) let go of the mooring and thirty minutes later we were tied up alongside the Marine and General Jetty. A further thirty minutes and I had the three injectors out and in the workshop with the fuel injection engineer for testing.
Now we just had to wait for the test results later in the afternoon. It was a nice day and Ngozi and I took a walk into the city. Its not too far and a nice walk along the Maitai River. Nelson is a nice city, quite arty and had colourful hanging baskets on all the city centre streets. We had coffee and cake at the Sweet As café. I had visited this café years previously and it was still as good.
In the afternoon I had a phone call from the fuel injection engineer, the news was both good and bad. Good that he had found two of the injectors were well worn and needed replacement, the third injector was marginal. Bad that it’s going to cost, Yanmar spare parts are ludicrously expensive. We agreed that the three injectors should be replaced and the order has been placed. Hopefully, this will cure the engine problems, the engineer is 99.9% sure.
Tomorrow is good Friday and the easter holiday starts the next working day is the 6th of April. We will have to wait a few days for the injectors to arrive from Auckland. No problem, there is lots to see and do in Nelson, there is no hurry, sailing teaches patience.
Friday evening we went out for dinner with Ian and his wife Sue at Trailways. We had a good time, good food and refreshments. Later in the evening we were dropped off at Truce happy and tired for a good night’s rest.
Saturday, Ian turned up to take us out to Mapua Wharf. Another glorious warm sunny day. Mapua Wharf is an interesting place, very pretty with the old cold store and warehouses converted to bars, restaurants and shops. Ian took us to the museum and showed us photos of the old scow he used to work on loading timber for Wellington. We had lunch and refreshments at the Jelly Fish bar overlooking the harbour, very good. After exploring Mapua for a while we drove the short distance to Motueka and had a look around before returning to Nelson.
On Monday we went around to Monaco, close by the airport. There is a nice pub there called The Honest Lawyer, a real oxymoron of a name. A bit like an English country pub with gardens and tables overlooking the estuary. We sat in the garden and enjoyed the refreshments and warm weather. Very peaceful, only disturbed by the occasional plane passing close overhead on final approach to the airport.
Tuesday the 6th of April and Ngozi departed at nine this morning for the airport, she is returning to Auckland. Once again I am solo sailing. We have had a good time between Tarakohe and Nelson. Our time in Abel Tasman was shorter than planned and a couple of days we didn’t have good weather, but there is always next time.
Today I also learnt that the new injectors are arriving and will be ready to test before fitting. I am looking forward to fitting the new injectors and, fingers crossed, Mr Yanmar will spring back into life like his old self. I have cleaned out the injector ports and removed the old copper washers ready to receive the new injectors. Then I just need to put everything back together again and hope I don’t have any nuts and bolts left over at the end of it.
I am starting to look at the weather for going north. It looks like I have missed perfect few days of southerly breeze up the west coast. A northerly flow will be setting in for a while with some strong westerlies thrown in. Never mind, I will just wait for the right weather window to appear. I don’t really mind if I go up the west or east coast back to Auckland, I will just go with the best weather when it occurs.
April 9 2021
Wednesday night and I have 3 new injectors in hand ready to be fitted, they have been tested in the shop and are good to go. I was going to fit them in the morning but the excitement got the better of me, I set about fitting them at night, helped by a headtorch. Carefully and methodically I inserted the fibre washers, copper washers and then the injectors, not forgetting the O rings. Happy that I hadn’t missed anything, I tightened them down and connected the fuel pipes and the fuel return line.
After inspecting my handiwork for a while, double then triple checking that everything was complete I set about bleeding the fuel lines of air ready to start. The moment of truth, I pressed the starter button, after a bit of spluttering Mr Yanmar sprang into life. Relief, I checked for leaks and switched the engine off. I will run it again for longer and under load in the morning.
To celebrate I broke out the rum and coke and a packet of crisps.
Thursday morning, I started the engine. Oh No! It didn’t want to start; clouds of smoke came out the exhaust. Once running the engine ran smoothly for a while then picked up speed, slowed down and then ran smoothly again. Oh, what is going on. My celebrations had been premature. In despair I went to see the fuel injector man. He listened patiently to me and suggested I take the boat out into the harbour and give the engine a good run, getting the engine up to operating temperature. Then let the engine go cold and start again.
I returned to Truce, a little disheartened but keen to get on. I double checked the primary filter, the diesel in the bowl was clean and clear. But, just to make sure I changed the filter once again, a messy job in a tight space that always gets me covered in diesel. Once the filter was changed I bled the engine and started it up. I let go from the dock and went for a trip around the harbour for an hour. The engine ran well, smoother than before.
I returned to the dock, switched off the engine and let it cool down. I left it overnight and will start again the morning. In the afternoon I did more painting on the rubbing strake. No rum and coke tonight, but I found a bottle of red wine instead. I didn’t drink it all.
Friday morning, I started the engine. It fired first time and ran smoothly. Yes! Finally, all is well with Mr. Yanmar, just like the good old days. He is happy with his new injectors and all is well again on board. Just to make sure I went for a quick motor around the harbour, all good.
Later in the morning I finished painting the rubbing strake where it had been scraped against docks and piles during this year’s cruise. No fancy marinas down south, we must rough it with the fishing boats. A coat of primer, a coat of 50:50 mix undercoat and topcoat and a final topcoat has been applied. Truce is looking smart again on the starboard side.
The calm morning weather turned into drizzle in the afternoon. Luckily, the painting has all been completed. I expect we will get more rain in the coming days as the wind comes out of the north. I will have a rum and coke tonight.
April 13 2021
Now the engine is fixed I am ready to continue the cruise up to the North Island. The beautiful high pressure in the Tasman has disappeared and is replaced by a procession of lows marching towards New Zealand. The weather man calls these complex lows, they are bringing fronts, rain and strong northerly and westerly winds. Not what I am looking for. The short breaks between the lows passing through are not long enough for me to sail around the top of New Zealand. Amid all this uncertainty I will stay snug in Nelson and enjoy life here until the weather turns stable with a few days of settled south westerly winds.
I have had a nice relaxing weekend. On Saturday the heavens opened and the rain was persistent all day. Luckily, I was invited to the Waimea Club for the afternoon. A nice club with sports on the screens. There was good company, a good selection of ales, I had a pleasant time out of the rain.
On Sunday I was invited out again, this time to a birthday party. Another good outing with buffet lunch and the best of all bars – a free bar. I returned to Truce in the late afternoon feeling no pain and had a long siesta.
After my decadent weekend I thought I better make amends and give Truce some attention. On Monday morning I cleaned up the deck, restowed the spare anchor and warp I had been keeping on deck. Stowed the dinghy and cleaned the slime which had accumulated on its bottom. The dinghy is now all clean and lashed on deck in case the weather turns good for sailing. Then I topped up the water tanks and cleaned the bilge. All is shipshape again and we are ready to go. The afternoon was warm and sunny, so I took a stroll into town for a wander around and brough some fresh groceries and meat for dinner.
Tuesday morning brought strong winds with lashing rain. Not wanting to stay on board in the rain I headed off to the McCashins Brewery and joined a brewery tour.
The tour was excellent and informative. I joined a small group of five people and we got to see the whole brewing process from start at the grain mill to the finish at the bottling line. We sampled the wort, sniffed the hops and chewed the malted grains. Delightful aromas and tastes.
The conclusion was an opportunity to sample some of the brews. After a few samples I really was not sure which was the best. Heading out of the brewery at the end of the tour a was surprised with bright sunshine, the rain had disappeared. Just at that moment a bus came along and for $2 I was transported into town. What a good day.
CENTRE OF NEW ZEALAND
April 14 2021
When I returned from the brewery tour on Tuesday I noticed that the floating work jetty adjacent to Truce was empty and the securing piles were missing. Instead, the jetty was held in position by a spider’s web of ropes. Funny I thought, maybe they have removed the piles for refurbishment or replacement. Little did I know.
On Wednesday morning when the workers returned, I learnt the true story. The strong winds of Tuesday had caused the NIWA ship, which was under repair alongside, to break the piles and set the dock adrift. This caused utter mayhem and pandemonium in the howling wind as workers and crew scuttled about to try and control the runaway ship and dock. Fortunately, the port tug arrived just in time to prevent Truce being crushed alongside the adjacent wharf. Apparently, it was a very close call. Thankfully, I was oblivious to all this drama, happily sampling ale in the brewery.
Later in the morning I was asked to move berth as there is another boat coming in for repairs. After learning of yesterday’s excitement I was not averse to a move. Truce is now moored in the fishing boat pens opposite the marina. A nice spot with easy access to town.
I spent some time in the evening comparing weather models for the trip north. Still no acceptable window and the different forecasts are somewhat conflicting. The Metservice weather man says there are several embedded fronts in the westerly flow, that sounds uncomfortable. I will wait until there is consensus between the different models.
Today I went for a walk to the centre of New Zealand. It’s situated on Botanical Hill just to the east of the city. It was a long walk in warm sunny weather with a fair amount of uphill work. Eventually I made it to the top of Botanical Hill to realise that I wasn’t actually at the centre of New Zealand. Its just some tourist trap.
The real gravitational centre is thought to be about thirty-five kilometres away. But, with the recent earthquakes and bits falling off Mount Cook nobody is really too sure anymore. I consoled myself with the wonderful views and the fact the strenuous exercise must have been good for me.
A little later, back in town I fortified myself with a locally brewed cold beer and burger. Got to have health food after exercise.
NELSON HERITAGE PARK
April 15 2021
Today I went for a walk and stumbled across the Founders Heritage Park, completely by accident as I didn’t know it existed. I went through the gate and found that entrance was free to residents of Nelson, I have been here so long I must qualify, I signed in the book as a Nelsonian.
What a great place, like a museum town, neatly laid out and well kept. They even have a micro-brewery, café, sailmaker, shops selling artwork, a working church that was relocated to the park. It being early morning I didn’t partake of the ale but had a fresh ginger beer that was almost as good.
There is even a large vintage plane that some brave soul landed on the adjacent beach before dragging it to its present site.
Nelson city was named after the English Admiral Lord Nelson. All schoolboys of my era were taught the Battle of Trafalgar history where Nelson unfortunately lost his life. And every schoolboy also learned that his last dying words to Hardy were “Kiss me Hardy’. Historians are misguidedly convinced he actually said, ‘Kismet Hardy’.
Anyway, Lord Nelson was a seriously famous person, won numerous high profile sea battles and was a true hero. Before the battle of Trafalgar where the English fleet destroyed the combined Spanish and French fleets, he ran up the signal ‘England expects every man will do his duty’, these words were also drummed into us schoolboys.
A number of the streets in the City of Nelson are named after Nelson. There’s Trafalgar Street after the battle of Trafalgar. Nile Street after the battle of the Nile where Nelson dealt to the French Fleet and upset Napoleon. Hardy Street, named after Thomas Hardy who was Nelsons flag captain and may or may not have kissed him. Victory Square, named Nelsons flagship at the battle of Trafalgar. (HMS Victory is the oldest warship in commission with the Royal Navy. She is open to the public in Portsmouth and well worth a visit). Vanguard Street, named after Nelsons flagship at the battle of the Nile, and it goes on.
Forty miles up the coat is D’Urville Island. There we have Port Hardy, Trafalgar Point, Nile Head, Nelsons Monument and Victory Island. The whole area is hero worshiping Lord Horatio Nelson.
The weather is still very unsettled with fronts charging across the Tasman. But I am eager to get moving again. Tomorrow I will have another look at the forecasts and decide where to head next.
INTO PELORUS SOUND
Last night I could not sleep. No point in festering in bed if you can’t sleep so I got up and checked the weather again. There seemed to be a window of opportunity to go up the east coast of the North island on Sunday. I decided to sail out of Nelson, head up through French Pass and get into the sounds ready to jump north up the east coast when the weather turned on Sunday. Also, I wanted some action after lounging around for so long in Nelson.
By six on Friday morning I had let go from the fishing pens and headed out of Nelson, the morning was dark and calm. By the time we were clear of the channel and rounding the fairway buoy the dawn was starting to break. It felt good to be moving on again. I have really enjoyed my time in Nelson, it’s a good place. But, as our friend Lord Nelson is alleged to have said “Men and ships rot in port’, it was time to go.
The wind was forecast for S’Wly 10 knots increasing to S’Wly 25 knots later, a good direction to push is north. No wind arrived and we motored all the way up to French Pass enjoying the coastal scenery. We shot through French Pass at great speed with the tide behind us. Up ahead I could see some serious wind on the water and it was coming our way.
Before long I had a scrap of yankee out and we were bowling along at eight knots in a tremendously gusty westerly wind. Spray from the surface of the sea was being swept up in whirls. In between the gusts there were periods of almost calm. Mickey, the windvane could not cope with the changing conditions, wanting to round up in the gusts and run off in the calm periods. I hand steered for a while, something I am not too keen on, but we were moving along well.
The gusts continued until we were abreast off Pelorus Sound. I looked down Pelorus sound and it seemed quite calm. By now it was three in the afternoon, I debated to carry on to Queen Charlotte Sound or head into Pelorus Sound. As we only had 3 hours of daylight left I decided to go into Pelorus and find a snug anchorage while the daylight was good.
Strangely, as we entered Pelorus the wind followed us in, first from astern, a northerly direction and after a mile or so it swung around to the South West, headed us and blew again. We motored further into sound with spray flying everywhere. The further into the sound we went the less the wind blew. By five thirty I dropped anchor in the north west corner of Kauauroa Bay between a mussel farm and the shore. Not the best anchorage but protected enough for the night and with the bonus of having a phone and data signal. As the sun went down the wind died with it, the night was peaceful.
Saturday morning opened with clear skies and calm. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity to head up the east coast was closing as N’ly winds were coming back again. I decided to stay another day in Kauauroa Bay and see what happened with the weather.
On Sunday morning I gave up on the East Coast route and decided to stop stressing about the weather. It will come good sooner or later and there is no point trying to worry about jumping in between fronts and god forbid ending up having to sail to windward.
With a light N’ly breeze I sailed out of Kauauroa Bay and headed further down Pelorus Sound, stopping at Jacobs Bay for a few hours and lunch. I had stopped at Jacobs bay last year when lockdown was in place. A nice spot with picnic tables ashore and a walking track. The anchorage is exposed and only good in settled conditions, the wake from passing boats also caused a bit of a roll now and then.
After lunch I motored around to Chance Bay. This bay is reported to be one of the most sheltered in the sounds. I anchored here for the night. During the night some wind came into the bay, not too much, just enough to wake me up occasionally. I didn’t find the bay to be that sheltered and moved out in the morning to pick up a mooring for a few hours just north of Putanui point. I rested here, enjoying the sunshine and watching the boat traffic in Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds. The Green Lip Mussel industry here is thriving and numerous mussel farm boats are constantly on the move day and night.
In late afternoon I motored up Kenepuru Sound and into Long Bay, a place I spent some time at during lockdown last year. I dropped anchor and had a quiet and peaceful night. But, the place brought back memories of lockdown. In the morning I just wanted to move on and headed into Havelock Marina and some human company. I took the flood tide up to the marina, the well-marked channel is shallow in places and becomes narrow and winding for the last mile. There are a couple of blind corners where the appearance of another boat coming the opposite direction gets your attention.
By lunchtime I was secure alongside the marina. Havelock is only a small place, but it has an appeal. The people are friendly and there is a village atmosphere. There is admittedly not much to do, a couple of pubs, a Four-Square store, gas station and a few shops, cafés and restaurants.
I need to do a scheduled oil change on Mr. Yanmar and have ordered an oil change vacuum pump online. Hopefully to be delivered within a few days to the marina. My old oil change pumps have all got failed seals and the last oil change I did was a very messy affair. Pulling oil out of the dipstick hole is such a dumb idea but it’s the only way on this engine. I am hoping the new vacuum pump will make the job easy and take away the mess.
Because I am waiting for the vacuum pump I am forced to linger for a few days. This is good, I am relaxing and not getting worked up looking at the weather predications every few hours. No hurry in life.
April 25 2021
Yesterday I completed the engine oil and filter change. The new vacuum pump worked a treat. For once, the first time ever. there was no mess to clean up. The right tool for the job makes all the difference. Why has it taken so long for me to figure this out?
Feeling pleased with myself I went to the sportsground adjacent to the marina and watched the local team playing the team from Picton. It was a beautiful sunny day and the action was enjoyable. Unfortunately, the local boys were not at their best.
The few days in Havelock have been good. I have not stressed about the weather forecast, the warm days have been relaxing, I have walked, visited both pubs, visited the museum, done some shopping and eaten my fill of green Lipped Mussels.
Sunday morning and all very quiet in the marina, no wind just calm and chilly cold. There are a few hardy souls launching their runabouts to go fishing or have a day out. Tomorrow is Anzac Day meaning no work on Monday and a long weekend. Truce is ready to depart, fuel and water have been topped up, lose items stowed and everything shipshape.
The weather forecast is unsettled for the next five days with multiple fronts embedded in a S’Wly flow. The wind is the right direction for us, just need to sort out where the fronts are and try and avoid them if possible.
First visit this morning was to the Four-Square store for some fresh bread and vegetables. Then down to the marina office to pay my dues, five days worth. That knocked a hole in the budget. But it’s only the fourth marina visit this trip so not too bad and I have enjoyed being here. With the chores and administration out of the way I returned to Truce and fired up Mr. Yanmar in preparation for departure. The engine started first time and seems to sound better after the oil change, maybe it’s just my imagination.
I let go the headlines and springs and was just about to slip the stern line when I noticed the engine cooling water had stopped coming out from the exhaust. I shut the engine down and jumped ashore to put another line out and hold us alongside the dock. I checked the sea strainer, it was clear, I checked the seawater pump belt, it was ok. I removed the pipe from the seacock and saw a fish tail type thing sticking out the spigot from the seacock. I could not tell what type of fish it was, I think it could have been an eel. Whatever it was, it was firmly stuck in place. It was a devil of a job to clear it, bits if fish and water came out and water got into the bilge again. Oh, how I hate water in the bilge! I connected a flexible pipe and blew the remaining obstruction back out into the sea. This is the second time this trip that animal matter has blocked the raw water inlet, it has never happened before.
Once everything was connected back up we departed from Havelock. The ebb tide was now in full flow and we made excellent time down the channel and headed outbound along Pelorus Sound. As we headed up the sound a fresh and gusty westerly breeze set in. Soon Truce was covered in saltwater spray again. We passed another yacht going in the opposite direction, turned out to be Cristabelle, we first met up in Port Chalmers, then again in Stewart Island and later in Fiordland. We exchanged brief greeting and passed on our way. It’s a small world.
The afternoon weather forecast came with a gale warning. If I had known that I maybe would have stayed another night in Havelock. This changes my plan for an evening anchorage. After a bit of head scratching, I decided to duck into Ketu Bay instead of continuing further north. This turned out to be a good idea as it blew a bit during the night, but we were sheltered and secure. The next days weather was also upgraded with a gale warning so I stayed for another night and let the thunderstorm pass overhead. In the evening I made a large pot of stew for the upcoming trip north. Should be off tomorrow.
NEW PLYMOUTH STOPOVER
April 28 2021
We departed Ketu Bay early on Tuesday, motoring out of Pelorus Sound as the dawn began to break. All was very quiet after the thunderstorm of last night and everything on deck was wet from the rain. We motored on for a couple of hours before a breeze set in and sail could be set. By nine thirty Stephens Island was abeam and we shaped course up towards Cape Egmont. A good strong S’Ely breeze set in as we got into the Cook Strait. Under reefed main, staysail and yankee we made excellent progress, reeling off the miles.
The seas were lumpy, a combination of a three-meter S’Wly swell, a N’ly sea left over from last night and a S’Ely sea being pushed by the wind, thrown into this mix was the tidal stream. We were bounced around, but the sailing was good, progress was being made. And the albatross returned, so good to see them again.
Later in the evening Ngozi sent me a TXT message, commenting on what good progress we were making as she was following on marine Traffic. The superstitious me thought ‘Just think it don’t say it’! At eleven in the evening I was in the galley making a brew when I heard a clattering and flogging of sails above. The wind had disappeared, just like switching off a tap. From fifteen knots to zero in a minute. Making matters worse the confused sea was creating chaos, Truce pitched and rolled horribly. Then it rained. No time to get the wet weather gear on, I managed to get everything under control, the engine on and I hand steered until midnight in wet clothes.
The wind didn’t return as I expected it to and we motored on with the tiller pilot working overtime to keep us on course, the sea was still rough and the swell seemed to have increased slightly. Now that we were closer to the Taranaki coast there was a phone signal and I was able to download up to date weather information. This new data showed the way ahead to Cape Reinga was now an area of light winds of five to ten knots. The calm patch we were in stretched ahead for miles and was moving slowly north. How quickly the weather is changing, the forecasters obviously cant keep up with it.
At five in the morning I decided to turn ninety degrees to starboard and head into Port Taranaki, New Plymouth, about three hours motoring away. There was no point in sitting in a bubble of light wind, better to let it go. I was also feeling a bit miserable as the night was cold and wet so not a difficult decision to make. The ride now became more comfortable as the swell was from astern and the seas dropped away the closer we got to the land.
The skies cleared to reveal a bright full moon astern to the west. The moon is in perigee and looks huge, the light illuminating the ice topped peak of Mount Taranaki in spectacular fashion. As the moon set the sun rose, soon the warmth was felt and very welcome after a cold and wet night.
Just before nine in the morning we were entering through the breakwaters into Port Taranaki, I picked up a mooring and stopped the engine, nice to have peace on board again. A German yacht that had been behind me from Pelorus Sound also came into the harbour. They had seen what happened to me with the loss of wind and decided to follow me into harbour.
I was tired after the sail across Cook Strait but the day was so nice, warm and sunny, that I could not sleep. I launched the dinghy over the side and took a trip ashore for a wander around. It’s been a few years since I was last in new Plymouth. The place looks mostly the same but there are a few new properties and flash houses sprinkled around. It looks a bit more upmarket nowadays.
In the harbour, just off where Truce is moored there is a children’s fishing float. What a great idea, the kids of all sizes seem to really enjoy having their own space to fish and hang out.
I returned on board in the afternoon and stowed the dinghy ready for sea again, then had a siesta for a couple of hours. The evening weather predictions looked better for an early morning start although the winds are still light for a while up the coast. At the moment it is quiet and I will have a good rest before we head out again.
DOUBLING CAPE REINGA
May 1 2021
At four on Thursday morning I slipped the mooring and motored quietly out of Port Taranaki. Not a breath of wind disturbed the sea, all was very still. Once clear of the breakwaters I increased the engine power and headed north towards Cape Reinga, almost three hundred miles distant. The forecast was for a few hours of light winds before a ten to fifteen knot S’Wly set in. The lights of New Plymouth receded into the distance. The sun rose and still no wind. We motored on, rolling easily to the long W’ly swell. All morning we motored, the wind still on its way.
At midday I could still see Mount Taranaki astern, over seventy five miles away. This reminds me of the first time I flew into New Zealand. I was sitting on the starboard side of the plane, as we descended to approach Auckland I saw what appeared to be Mount Fuji poking up above the clouds. Later I discovered that what I actually saw was Mount Taranaki a distance of around one hundred and forty nautical miles away. Mount Taranaki was the first land I saw in New Zealand.
At six in the evening the sea started to ripple and the first signs of wind were showing. Forty five minutes later we had enough wind to sail, yankee, staysail and a single reef in the main. (I usually have at least one reef in the main at night in case we have squalls). The wind held all night with the occasional large black rain cloud passing by giving more wind, less wind and some rain. Progress was good, averaging five and a half knots until seven in the morning when the wind got switched off again.
The wind teased us all day Friday. Three times we motored due to lack of wind but at other times had a nice breeze. We managed to knock off one hundred and twenty nine miles for the day until midnight so good progress north despite the on and off wind machine.
Early Saturday started with rain clouds and squalls. These eased later and the wind blew from the south. With poled out yankee to port and both staysail and mail out to starboard we made some spectacular runs averaging over seven knots. Alas, this didn’t last more than a couple of hours and we were back to motoring again. By this time we were approaching Cape Reinga and with a gusty wind were able to motor-sail around the Cape, a good distance off to avoid the overfalls.
I don’t totally understand the best tactics for rounding Cape Reinga with regard to the tidal stream. Some advocate rounding at a distance to avoid the worst of the stream and to keep out of the overfalls. Others favour working close in to the cape and taking the tide through. One day I hope to discuss this with a fisherman and get the good information. Today there was a yacht ahead of me taking the same offshore route as Truce, there was also a German yacht who waited for the tide and came around close in to the coast. Both ways work but one must be better than the other.
At one thirty in the afternoon we were anchored in Spirits Bay having doubled Cape Reinga. Finally, Mr. Yanmar got to rest and I settled back to enjoy the beautiful scenery in peace and quiet. The trip up from New Plymouth had been good, the wind lighter than forecast and absent at times but with the use of the engine in calm patches we had averaged a good speed. Sailing on the New Zealand coast is rarely constant, changes in the sea, swell and wind are to be expected.
Spirits Bay is tucked away behind Hooper Point. The anchorage is exposed to the North and West but Hooper Point shelters the anchorage from the easterly swell. Care is needed not to get too close to Hooper Point as a very strong tidal stream swirls around the point. The forecast is for light winds so Spirits Bay anchorage is good for the night. If there is any wind forecast Spirits Bay is not a place you really want to be, sitting exposed on the top edge of New Zealand. But it is a magical place to be in good weather, like sitting on top of the world.
PIT STOP TUTAKAKA
May 4 2021
Sunday morning opened fine and clear in Spirits Bay, just a slight S’ly breeze to ripple the water. The evening had been restful, the Cape Reinga light reassuringly flashing every twelve seconds away to the west.
I was in no hurry today, the forecast was for light winds so there was no need to run away from this exposed coast. The anchor was aweigh by mid-morning and we motored around Hoopers Point towards Tom Bowling Bay. There is an anchorage in Tom Bowling Bay, the last time I came this way the swell was quite high and the anchorage was not obvious. Now its calm I will have a closer look.
As we approached the Bay I saw two boats at anchor. Closer inspection revealed a quite sheltered bay with about eight meters of water fairly close in. The bay looked good as an anchorage in easterly conditions, maybe I will try it in the future.
Moving on from Tom Bowling Bay we rounded North Cape in brilliant sunshine and calm seas. It’s not always like this, certainly not the last time I came around here.
From North Cape I headed down towards Houhora where I planned to anchor for the night. However, after a couple of hours motoring I decided to head over to Raupo Bay for the evening. I had been to Houhora previously and fancied something different. Also, the next time I go to Houhora I would like to spend some time there. This cruise is coming to an end and I feel the need to move on towards home and not linger.
As the sun was setting we anchored in Raupo Bay just outside Rangaunu Harbour. This is another harbour that I would like to visit and spend some time exploring. But not this trip, maybe next year. Yet another peaceful night at anchor, hardly a breath of wind all night and just a gentle swell coming into the anchorage to let me know we were still floating.
The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit I weighed anchor and headed towards Cape Karikari. There is a passage between Cape Karikari and Rocky Island just offshore. The passage is deep and perfectly safe in calm conditions. However, on a previous occasion when coming this way an easterly swell was running, conditions between the cape and Rocky Island looked dangerous and not having local knowledge I elected to take the safe outside route.
Once past Cape Karikari it was a straight run across Doubtless Bay to the Cavalli Passage and then along to Cape Wiwiki where I passed inside Tikitiki Rock and around to Whale Bay anchorage and familiar ground. Once again, we anchored as the sun went down. The night was calm and peaceful again with just a low residual swell coming around the corner into the anchorage.
Tuesday morning started with no wind again. The big high pressure sitting over New Zealand is hanging on and providing calm everywhere. I am not complaining, the wind may be lacking but the days are sunny and warm, very welcome this late in the year. Today I have planned only a short run down the coast to Tutakaka where I will top up with diesel from the fuel dock in the marina. First we motored across the Bay of Islands towards Cape Brett. A slight breeze sprang up and we motor sailed for a while until the wind died as we approached the cape.
Passing Cape Brett is always a milestone when travelling up or down the east coast. It seems to separate the winterless North of New Zealand from the rest of the country. Once around the Cape it was an easy run down to Tutakaka on flat seas with no wind but a lot of fish and bird activity around.
In early afternoon we rounded Tutukaka Head and ran into Tutukaka Harbour on the leading marks between the rocks to Starboard and the reef to port. The tide was starting to ebb so I headed directly to the fuel dock and bunkered $100 worth of fuel. Once the fuel was onboard I headed out to the anchorage, anchoring just after three in the afternoon.
In the late afternoon I recognised a yacht coming into the anchorage. It was Legacy, an American yacht I had first met last year when locked down in the Marlborough Sounds. Like many other foreign yachts they are covid refugees in New Zealand, just waiting here until the world opens up again so they can sail on.
CIRCLE COMPLETE, BIOLUMINESCENT DOLPHINS TO FINISH
May 8 2021
From Tutukaka to Parua Bay in Whangarei Harbour was another short hop down the coast, again under motor as the lingering high pressure over New Zealand continued. Before eight on Wednesday morning we were clear of Tutukaka Harbour and motoring on glassy calm waters down the coast towards Bream Head.
Bream Head is a high point of land visible many Miles distant and an easy point to aim for when moving along this coast. Once around Bream Head it’s a short distance to the shipping channel into Whangarei Harbour, an extensive harbour with a dep water port near its mouth and then extensive drying flats and channels leading up to Whangarei Town.
Today we were not going up to Whangarei but instead into Parua Bay where I had arranged to meet Russell and Anne Hohmann. Russell had designed Truce for Anne’s father, it’s always good to catch up with them for a chat.
We made excellent time down the coast and into Parua Bay with the flood tide and anchored in a clear spot among the moorings in the shallow bay just after midday. Last year I was in Parua Bay and it was most uncomfortable with a strong wind and short sea over the shallow bottom. But today it was calm, sunny and perfect.
A big attraction of Parua Bay is the pub which has a jetty and easy access by dinghy. In the afternoon I went ashore and met up with Russell and Anne. After a couple of beers and a meal it was time to return to Truce. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to switch on the deck lights or anchor light before I left. Now it was pitch dark. With just the light of my phone I was able to pick out the retro reflective tape I had applied to the forward edge of the mast spreaders, dodge the other moored boats and get back safely on board.
The next day it was same again, calm and warm sunshine, hard to believe its autumn. But the weather is changing, the high pressure is moving away. I had visitors again in the morning and received some excellent fresh lamb chops from the Farm. By mid-afternoon I was eager to move on again, this will be the last leg down to Auckland which I have planned to do in one hop overnight. I waited for high water and weighed anchor, departed Parua Bay and dropped down Whangarei Harbour on the afternoon ebb tide.
By sunset we were well clear of the harbour and heading down the coast towards Cape Rodney, the sea was still calm, Mr Yanmar ran like clockwork under the cockpit sole and we made good speed south. By ten in the evening Cape Rodney was abeam to starboard and we changed course slightly to pass outside Kawau Island.
As we approached Kawau Island a headwind sprang up from the south. I altered course to pass through Whangaroa Passsage and down past Rangitoto light before heading across to Tamaki River entrance, keeping to more sheltered waters.
I now realised that we were going too fast to and would reach the mooring before daylight and before the tide had turned to ebb. Its much easier to tie up to the pole mooring single handed when going against an ebb tide. I slowed the engine but still we charged on, once in the Tamaki River I stopped for a while but still Truce seemed to want to keep going, a slight breeze pushing her on. Truce was unstoppable, like a horse sniffing the stables she was eager to get home for a rest.
In the early dawn light I picked up the slime covered mooring line and made fast to the forward pole mooring, then I picked up the stern lines and as the sun rose we were safely moored fore and aft between the poles, four months and seven days since we had left. The big 2021 cruise was over. For once I was at a loss what to do next. I had breakfast, tidied up a bit and prepared myself for going ashore for a while.
To finish the trip I had a wonderful experience on the way down from Whangarei. In the flat calm there was a large amount of Bioluminescence in the water, the bow wave and wake behind Truce illuminated with bright blue light. I wondered if dolphins would turn up, sure enough shortly after a dolphin surfaced by the cockpit and blew out through its blowhole, the sudden sound startling me, they do that often, it seems to amuse them. Then they played all around Truce in the bioluminescence. The show was spectacular. I had only seen this once before in New Zealand, but this was the best. The dolphins were jumping out the water, doing belly flops and tail slaps sending showers of Bioluminescence everywhere, even onto the forward deck of Truce. I spent thirty minutes watching the display from the bow, absolutely captivating. I tried to capture the action on video but failed. But YouTube has a clip to give an idea, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg69Hbg1s88 .
What a wonderful, memorable way to complete the cruise.
REFLECTIONS ON NEW ZEALAND CRUISE 2021
June 1 2021
This year I completed the New Zealand cruise that was interrupted last year by covid and a long period of lockdown in the Marlborough sounds area. So, a year later I finally completed my adventure, sailing around New Zealand and visiting many places that are only easily accessible by boat.
Last year I tried not to hurry, spending time to enjoy the attractions of New Zealand. This year I had the same philosophy and took even more time on my way around. A big difference this year was my decision to motor when the wind dropped away on passage and not to hang around waiting for a breeze. Part of this decision was due to having my wife, Ngozi on board (who doesn’t enjoy being bounced around offshore going nowhere) and partly my desire to limit the time sailing to windward.
Having Ngozi on board for the first two months of the cruise was a bonus. I modified my tendency to press on and was conscious to provide a safe and comfortable cruising experience. My diet benefited hugely with healthy meals at regular intervals and someone to share sundowners with onboard.
By picking the right weather windows the cruise was accomplished with only a few hours of windward sailing. We did however have some brisk sailing on occasion.
This year’s cruise started and ended in Auckland. On the 1st January we departed our mooring in the Tamaki River and headed over to Coromandel, spending the first night in Ranger Bay, Te Kouma Harbour. We visited Coromandel and a number of anchorages on our way to East Cape via the Mercury Islands and Whitianga. Once around East Cape we travelled down the East coast, stopping at Gisborne, Napier, Akaroa and Port Chalmers before heading down to Stewart Island.
From Stewart Island we headed up the West Coast, visiting Fiordland, Westport, Abel Tasman, Nelson, Pelorus Sound, Havelock and New Plymouth before heading around Cape Reinga and North Cape and then down the East Coast back to Auckland. The whole cruise was conducted with reasonably short hops between refuge and avoiding adverse weather mostly.
Truce handled the cruise very well with no major gear failures or breakages. The only problems encountered were mechanical (engine and wind vane), I will detail those below. As with any cruise or trip to sea preparation is critical. Cruising around New Zealand can be challenging, sea and weather conditions can and will change without much warning, voyage planning and vessel preparation are important. Shelter is not always readily available on the coast and the boat needs to be well found and set up for offshore conditions, anything less is foolhardy.
Some highlights from the cruise: –
- Port Chalmers. A friendly place, great pub with the best food. Free moorings provided by the Harbour Master.
- Ten days in Napier. A very welcoming Yacht Club and wonderful city. A good place to stop over, relax and wait for weather.
- Sailing to Stewart Island with a brisk Easterly wind across Foveaux Strait making for a fast and exhilarating passage.
- Arriving at night in flat calm into Paterson Inlet.
- Stewart Island. Friendly, generous welcoming locals. Good fishing and eating.
- Rounding Puysegur Point and into Otago Retreat with serious following seas and wind.
- Fiordland. Gifts of Crayfish.
Some of the less pleasant events: –
- Sandflies in Fiordland. I could go on…..
What worked well this cruise: –
- Fridge. Over the winter I converted the icebox to a fridge using an Isotherm 12-volt compressor. The fridge worked wonderfully, providing crispy cold beer on the lowest (most economical) setting, all powered from the solar panels during the long summer days.
- Solar Panels and battery storage. Upgraded over the winter period to two 100w solar panels and 220 Amps of house battery. Provided power and storage during sunny days without need to run the engine for days on end.
- Rig and sails. No changes this year, it all just works well and in balance. Increasingly I use soft shackles and low friction rings to replace shackles and blocks and find these are excellent alternatives, standing up to wear and UV very well after many thousands of miles.
- Yakker WiFi. I send GPS and AIS signals from the Matsutec AIS unit via the Yakker WiFi router to my phone, laptop and tablet. This works with both OpenCPN and Navionics navigation software. A great little low-cost device that makes navigation easier and facilitates a visual display of AIS targets on the chart.
- Madman remote autopilot control. I use a madman autopilot control on the Raymarine ST2000+ tiller pilot. This allows me to alter course when sheltered under the dodger or on deck. A handy device in wet weather or when working on deck away from the cockpit.
- Pressure Cooker. A lifesaver for cooking one pot meals or rice, pasta, porridge etc.
- Windvane. Just awesome. Performs without complaint, day in day out and never sleeps.
What didn’t work so well: –
- Raymarine tiller pilot. I carry two on board and finished the cruise with only one struggling to perform. I also had problems last year with Raymarine tiller pilots. They are not robust enough, not waterproof (even when new) and unreliable. Unfortunately, there is not much option for an economical tiller autopilot outside of the Raymarine units, I dislike them. Maybe a pelagic autopilot in future?
- Radio. The short-wave radio on board was not picking up weather forecasts well. The radio is old. I will be replacing it with a modern short-wave unit. The new radio will give me the ability to download weather fax to the laptop and into OpenCPN, its on my wish list.
- Engine failure. The engine failure was certainly inconvenient. With some assistance from fellow cruisers the engine was able to run and make the trip from Milford Sound to Nelson where testing, parts were available. The fault was worn injectors, new injectors had the engine running back to normal. Many thanks to the helpful people at Marine and General in Nelson. The engine problem gave me an excellent opportunity to anchor, stern moor, sail into Milford Sound and hone my sailing skills.
- Windvane. A broken gear mechanism on the windvane was caused by my poor management and a repair was performed quickly by Stark Brothers in Lyttleton without delaying the cruise.
A wish list for future Cruises: –
- Light wind/downwind sail. This item was on my wish list last year as well. Something easy to manage, set, furl and stow. I have given up on using the spinnaker when single handed and need an alternative. Same as last year, they are still expensive.
- A lighter spinnaker pole to replace the malevolent timber stick on board.
- Horizontal windvane sail. The windvane on Truce is a vertical vane type which drives a trim tab on the transom hung rudder. The unit works well in both light and heavy winds. However, in heavy winds I can’t reduce the vane sail area, a heavy flutter sets up on the vane. To reduce the area of the vane I would like to change to a smaller horizontal vane that can be ‘reefed’ in heavy weather. I have looked at options but can’t quite get the mechanics sorted out in my head.
- Furling Staysail. The staysail on Truce is hanked on. To reduce to storm staysail I need to go on the foredeck and change sails. A furling staysail would be easier to manage from the cockpit and reduce trips on deck in heavy weather.
|Distance covered (Nautical Miles)||2,732||2,814|
|Total Fuel Cost NZ$||570||604|
|Total Fuel Consumption Litre.||439||476|
|Fuel Consumption Per Hour L/Hr.||1.37||1.42|