13 January 2023
Sailing season opened on the 1st January. Unfortunately the weather forecast was atrocious for the week, so we delayed departure. This decision turned out to be correct, nasty easterly winds and plenty of rain made the first week of the New Year a wash out.
On the seventh of January we set forth, early morning, from Hobsonville Marina and took the ebb tide down and out of the harbour. A heavy rain squall in the Rangitito Channel reduced visibility and we used radar to pick out the buoys and other vessels. The rain soon passed and we had some wind, we set course for Great Barrier Island. Of course, the wind didn’t hold and we shaped course up towards Kawau Island, we managed to sail through Tiri Channel before the wind died. We motored the last couple of miles into Coppermine Bay. The anchorage at Coppermine Bay was delightful, peaceful and calm.
Having anchored and cleaned up the cockpit from sailing I decided to relax in the last of the afternoon sun with a rum and coke. Oh Horror! We had somehow forgotten the rum, we had a bag of lemons and two cases of Coke – but no Rum! I thought Ngozi had brought it (I saw her stocking up the booze locker) and she thought I had stocked up. Nothing could be done. I reverted to beer.
The following day, Sunday, I was up early and eager to get going. By 08:00 we were clear of Kawau Island and sailing in a light S’Wly breeze on a rhumb line for Man of war passage, Great Barrier Island. The wind alternated between light and very light. In the light wind Mickey the windvane managed to steer and for the very light we switched to the Pelagic tiller pilot which did a very good job. I am liking the Pelagic so far.
We had a wonderful sail in bright sunshine and sparkling seas. This is how it should be. By 14:00 in the afternoon we were anchored in Kiwiriki Bay feeling very happy and cracking a cold beer. Little did we know the next few days would be horrid.
A tropical cyclone was making its way towards us, bringing strong gusty winds and a tremendous torrential amount of rain. I watched the barometer steadily fall from Monday onwards until it finally started to rise on Wednesday morning. By my reckoning we have had rain every day in 2023 so far.
Thursday 12th S’Wly breeze moderating, less gusty, still rain showers. We had anchored overnight at Smokehouse Bay and I decided to head out of Port Fitzroy to have a look at the wind offshore. After an hour it was obvious that the lumpy sea was too much for the light wind and the sails flogged as we rolled. We decided to turn back and relax for another day, anchoring this time in Kaiarara Bay. We watched a big brown parrot type bird called a Kaka, didn’t seem to mind our presence at all and came quite close.
I passed the time by doing odd jobs. I wired up the floodlight on the new antenna mast. Now we have a wonderful bright light on deck and sails, either red or white. New lines were spliced for the traveller to replace the dyneema core lines I had used previously. I have gone back to polyester braid that is more elastic, an advantage in a gybe.
I am writing this on Friday 13th January. Although we had a good forecast for moving north today I would not sail for obvious reasons. Tomorrow is also looking good so hopefully we will be on our way again, heading further up the east coast.