BACK IN AUCKLAND

A bit blustery last night but nothing special and didn’t live up to the doom and gloom hype from the weather forecast.  The morning was wet, cold and overcast with a light wind from the south.  As the wind was forecast to increase to twenty knots it seemed ideal to sail across the Firth of Thames.  We set off after a hearty breakfast, motoring out of Te Kouma anchorage in anticipation of a good sail. 

Up went the mainsail, spilling a ton of accumulated water over me as a freshener.  Then back to the cockpit to deploy the yankee and staysail.  Not much wind, maybe it was coming.  I scanned the sea to the south but saw no sign of the promised wind.  I furled the headsails and motored on towards Sandspit Passage at the bottom of Ponui Island.  It was a pleasant motor across in benign conditions.

Once into the Tamaki Strait we tried our hand at fishing.  It wasn’t a very serious effort, the fish were not biting and any enthusiasm soon evaporated.  The sun came out briefly as we passed along the south side of Waiheke Island in flat calm.  In early afternoon we turned up into Islington Bay and dropped anchor for the night.  I am not a fan of Islington Bay as the bottom is sticky mud, good holding but a terrible mess when weighing anchor. 

The evening was relaxed, the fire was on and all was well on the good ship Truce.

Shortly after midnight the promised wind arrived, singing in the rigging.  It sounded no more than twenty-five knots and I returned to a good sleep.  In the morning the wind was still blowing from the east and the updated forecast was doom and gloom again for a few days ahead.  I had half expected this scenario and we decided to head back to Hobsonville Marina rather than spend more days on board in nasty weather. 

We weighed anchor and as anticipated the chain came up a real muddy mess.  A few buckets of water helped clear some.  I have now added a deck wash pump to my project list and may get around to it before the spring. 

Once clear of Islington Bay the blustery easterly wind was ideal for pushing us up the harbour with the incoming tide.  We romped along with just the headsails pulling.  Rather than use the windvane the new Pelagic Autopilot was put into action and after adjusting the gain setting slightly it performed perfectly, what a pleasure to have a reliable autopilot on board again.

We passed under the Harbour bridge at nine and an hour later were all secure in the berth at Hobsonville Marina.  The wind increased and the rain fell but we didn’t care.  We walked up the Café and had a late breakfast, the full fried heart attack for me washed down with coffee.  A perfect end to a quick winter cruise.

The cruise has exposed a fault in my new electrical setup.  Although this has worked well at the dock, in real life it has worked but could be better.  I believe that the alternator (55amp) is overwhelmed when the DC DC converter cuts in and the house battery is simultaneously charging, potentially drawing 60 amps.  I have a solution in my head and will write about it when successfully tested.  I now have a long to do list for continued improvements and maintenance – it never stops – but I enjoy it.

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