Day 57 Filling in from the NE 28/10/13

Oct 28 w Gisborne NZ

Week 9

Position: 38.59 S, 179.21 E

We are a little more than a hundred miles off Gisborne at the moment. The last time I was on deck my nostrils caught the unmistakable smell of land, earthy, and kind of smokey.

The number of birds, both albatross and petrels, has been increasing. I had about ten petrels around the stern of the boat for about an hour this afternoon. I took the fishing line in and they went away. The graceful albatross have been around, swooping right under the bow of West Wind as she pounds through these big swells from the south. I got some wonderful video of that this afternoon in the bright sunshine. My gawd, it’s rough at the moment!

I’ll paint the scene this morning. I had a very nice sleep in my warm and cosy sheep skin quilt. Difficult to pry myself out of that soft warm cocoon to go on deck and face a brisk New Zealand morning at 5:30 am. The really wonderful part is I am rewarded with the sunrise. It is always different and it always raises my spirits. No matter how difficult the previous day has been, it’s a new day and I can draw a line in the sand and move on. I can’t change what happened yesterday. I’ve been trying in vain to get sat phone coverage for the last two days. I went so far as to sail into shore in the hopes I could make a call to MaryLou. It initializes, the umbrella symbol comes up with three bars, then it disconnects before I can go any further. I am as close to shore as I am going to get for a while so I hope there is better coverage further south.

West Wind II's jib

We’ve been becalmed since midnight so I now have West Wind II pointed on a course of 223 T, hoisted the main, set the windward running back stay and unfurled the jib, which put us on port tack. The wind from the Southeast was light <5kts so steering with the vane was almost impossible. Yesterday left me with 12.34 volts in the bank, so the little Auto helm 2000 would need a boost if I was to use it this morning. I decided it was worth it so I started the engine, opening the exhaust valve first, and ran it for half an hour. Fifteen minutes after setting the auto helm the wind filled in really nicely to 15 kts so I was able to switch over to the Fleming wind vane and put the Auto down below. This exercise is accompanied by several trips below to put on my wet gear and of course finish my tea before it gets cold. The increase in wind and boat speed meant I had to go on deck and put in the flattening or first reef in the main and roll one in on the jib as well. This does not reduce our speed much but does make it easier for the wind vane to do its job.

The wind has just filled in from the NE 10-15 and we are on a broad reach 6-7 kts so we are off and running. Looks like we will have this for at least 24 hrs and we have a good course to the way point off Stewart Island, 740 nm south of here.. YES !!!

It doesn’t look like I will get any phone coverage till I get to the South Island. I am moving away from shore, or the shore is moving away from me as the South Island swings in towards Wellington and back out again to Christchurch. 

Course 223 T Speed 0.0 kts Wind 0.0 kts Waves 0.0 m Cloud 100% Temp 16 C Baro 1018 steady Miles in last 24 hrs: 85 nm







  1. Morning Glenn & Mary Lou I look forward to reading your posts,makes my day.You have great writing skills Glenn,i can picture in my mind the scene as you describe,the dawn,or the set of the sails.Stay safe.Wayne

  2. Unless you were using the land phone, rather than the sat phone, as you typed, Glenn, it doesn’t matter how close to the shore you are.

    Back to Ham Radio, Mate! I didn’t get a response to my frequency question some time ago, if anyone knows the freq for the ham net you check into.

    Thanks – Ron

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