HEADING TO COROMANDEL

At seven in the morning the sky was getting light and we weighed anchor, saying goodbye to Smokehouse Bay.  One of the other yachts at the anchorage departed just before us and looks like they are headed back to Auckland.  The weather is grey and overcast with a lot of moisture in the air.

The weather forecast is for fifteen knots from the North East increasing to thirty knots later.  Perfect wind for a sail down to Coromandel.  Once outside Port Fitzroy we hoisted the mainsail with one reef, a good wind was expected once we had cleared the coast.  We motored south with not much wind.  Once in the Colville Channel the wind picked up a bit and we started sailing only for the wind to die down again ten minutes later and the rain to set in.  We motored past Channel Island with not enough wind to fill the sails.  A bit disappointing. 

Later in the afternoon we had some gusty breeze off the high land of Coromandel but it was fluky, with rain squalls, motor-sailing was the only option if we wanted to arrive and anchor before dark.  In the wet conditions I wasn’t keen to hang around so Mr. Yanmar kept on beating away down below.  At least a prolonged period of motor-sailing gave us time to become familiar with the new Pelagic Autopilot.  So far it has performed faultlessly and is far superior to the Raymarine Tiller pilots we have been suffering with.  Its early days yet but I am already thinking of getting the Raymarine units off the boat and just buying a spare ram for the Pelagic. 

Late afternoon we arrived and anchored in Te Kouma Harbour.  The wind has died down and the predicted thirty knots is missing. Te Kouma is a good anchorage when strong winds are expected, the bottom is thick sticky mud.  The evening is wet and cold outside.  I have moved the dinghy on deck to clear the smoke stack for the Dickinson heater.  With the heater on the cabin is cosy as the wind and rain start to play around outside.

Tomorrow the winds are forecast to reduce and blow from the south at fifteen knots.  We will see.

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