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.
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.
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 until late evening when we could sail again in 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.
I’m sorry to hear about your troubles.
Those winds are quite something. I guess you’re in good company, given Cook couldn’t get south either.
Post a couple of pictures of the windvane. Jennifer and I hand steered for 800 miles on our way to Hawaii last year. It is not something we enjoyed.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi John, I will post a couple of photos later. Yep, hand steering sucks, Mickey is my right hand man.
It certainly seems an island of extremes, from 60 kts to motoring in full calm, and fairly frequently at that. I admire your willingness to sail (or anchor) in such conditions, Ray and Ngozi.
Epic journey thus far Ray. We’re following along with interest. Safe sailing. Tim and Alethea