Day 59 Blowing a Gale 30/10/13


Oct 30, 2013

Position: 42.02 S, 176.44 E

West Wind II is navigating through 3 metre waves off our starboard aft quarter in 30 knots of wind. We’re on a broad reach with a triple reefed main and a small handkerchief  yankee up.  Boat speed is 6 – 6.5 kts. The clouds are low overcast grey and off the bow on the horizon there is a small patch of blue sky. Conditions below decks are dry and conducive to lying down and taking it easy. Still nibbling at last night’s dinner and enjoying a mug of hot chocolate. We are making good progress and passing by the southern tip of the north island and the western entrance to Cook Strait which is living up to its reputation of blustery conditions. The sea is a magnificent scene of legions of waves marching along, breaking into white foam as they get steeper. I feel good, and a little excited at our progress in these southern ocean conditions.

I’m below at the nav station typing with one hand and holding on with the other.  I have two layers of fleece on as well as my skull cap the girls got me from MEC and still my fingertips are cold and damp.  I made one cup of tea but it succumbed to the brisk motion so I’ll try later when things calm down. We’re experiencing our first Southern Ocean gale. It started to build last night so I set things up before I turned in.

I’ve been out on deck quickly to adjust the vane and while I sat in the shelter of the dodger a small white speckle beaked petrel hovered close by. It seemed totally unfazed by the breaking seas and gale force wind. He was persistent and I could almost hear him say “any scraps mate?” A  graceful and powerful albatross soars easily up and over the green breaking waves.

The motion and noise created by the gale outside is all encompassing and I had my industrial ear plugs in most of the night. I was up at my usual 5:30 am and this morning and then got back in my warm sheepskin till after 7:00, listening and dosing. It’s a day to find a safe spot and stay there reading a book, till the weather passes. I’m going to try to make tea again now. 

Course 227 T Speed 7kts Wind NW 30kts Waves NW 3m Cloud 85 % Temp 13 C Baro 1003 Miles in last 24hr 110


  1. Glenn, sounds like an awesome journey and adventure. I’m interested to learn about your sleep schedule. Are you able to sleep a few hours at a time? Waking every 20-30 minutes to check the horizon? Are you using AIS or any electronics to warn you of traffic?

  2. Pat and Fred Lark says

    Hi Glenn,

    We were happy to see your post today. Keep warm and snug. New adventures lay ahead I am sure. No snow here for a few more days…so we are happy. Wish we could send you some hot homemade soup. As always keeping an eye on you.


    Pat and Fred

  3. Stay safe & warm Glenn. Hot chocolate and sheepskin and a hat from MEC… a combination for this Hallow’een.

  4. Phil Nielsen says

    Sorry, that’s 176.44 degrees. Still wrong though, isn’t it?

    • MaryLou Wakefield says

      Thanks for your note Phil. His position that day was 42 degrees 02 minutes S, 176 degrees 44 minutes E. nNow that he’s crossed 180 degrees we are reporting his longitude as East and will now until he continue that until he crosses the Prime Meridian and then we’ll switch back to west.
      Hope that makes sense.

  5. Stay safe in that warm bunk, Glenn. I’m seasick just thinking of 9 meter waves and gale force winds!

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