Difficult decision; safety first

 Dec 11

Dec 11 @ 6 a.m.

Fresh morning here after a very busy night. We ran before a 15-20 knot west wind all night, with triple reef main and double reefed jib. The seas were running about two meters and white horses ran with us all night breaking on the side deck occasionally. WW II has acquired some new and rather loud creaks and groans since my last passage. Her hull is moaning and that combined with the rigging and deck hardware clanging presents a cacophony of sounds that makes it rather difficult to sleep.

Not that sleep was available in any large measure. We gybed several times during the night which required immediate attention and a rude wakening from a nice warm bunk and deep sleep. The temperature outside is cool and bringing her back on course could be done from the cockpit so no need for full rain gear.

On one of my forays on deck I noticed we sailed through a school of fish whose shadows showed up as steaks in the bioluminescence, like the fish in Life Of Pi. Claire ate some dinner last night,  rice and fried zucchini which is a good start.

I will take one of the reefs out of the main after breakfast this morning which will bring us up to 7 knots. We have made a good 100 nm since noon yesterday and we should see 125 nm day today which brings us to less than 2000 nm to Tahiti.

I talked to Alek in Perth and Cliff in Belclutha on the ham radio last night at 08:00 zulu on 14.140 mz. Always great to catch up with those two friends. Isobel came on the air as well and sends her regards. We’re looking forward to a good day of sailing and plenty of rest again today. 

Dec 11 @ noon

All is well. Claire is resting and has been on deck this morning for an hour or so listening to music and enjoying the very fresh air.

I have been resting also. We have a full jib and triple reefed main and are running before the wind nicely, could go faster but the ride at 6.5 is fine and it’s important to be comfortable at the moment. We have been making a fair bit of water in the bilge and it seems, after thorough inspection, that it’s coming from some original caulking around a pair of keel bolts just ahead of the engine that has perished. We’re keeping an eye on it and searching for solutions. One is to get it dry and re caulk from above, and there are no others at this time. I am going to reinspect it again this afternoon. To say it is not troubling would be a lie.

I am trying to put it in perspective. I hope I can come up with something to stem the flow. We are pumping every two hours and it does not seem to be getting any worse. Other than that, things are all good here. Just going to make lunch and have started to turn the eggs.

Lat. 35′ 33.037’S

Long 179’11.629’E

Course 103 T

Speed 6.5kts

Wind W15

Waves W 2m

Cloud 100%

Temp below 20C

Daily run 140nm

Distance to Tahiti: 1989 nm

Dec 11 @ 5:30 p.m. Turning around

I’ve spent the last two hours evaluating our position and the leak in the bilge through the keel bolts. I’ve decided to return to New Zealand and do repairs. There are of course many things to consider and the impact of the decision on the arrangements already made but far and above all that it is and always will be safety first. So with that in mind, we will be turning around in the next hour and heading back. Not an easy decision to make but I believe it is the right one. As the next few days pass we can discuss the changes that will have to be made and what new options are available.

We will be back in the Bay of Islands in about three days time. 

Dec 11 @ 7:24 p.m. Heading back

We have turned around and are headed back. We’re beating hard on the wind, Claire is again down in her bunk and toughing it out, an amazing young women. WW II is beating with triple reef main and double reefed jib. Lots of water on deck and the motion is a lot different than when we were running. Tomorrow should bring a NW wind and we will be able to get on a starboard tack. For now we will work a little north and east. Our course is 349 t and our boat speed is 7 kts.  I have lots of feelings but I believe it is the right choice.



  1. Ann & Steve Merriman says

    Right decision to turn back to Bay of Islands. We are thinking of you .
    Love Ann & Steve

  2. Joseph Longo says

    Hi Mary Lou…

    Tough decision to turn back but I’m so glad they did. I follow your blogs like a new episode in a newspaper story. I can’t wait to hear of the progress. Best wishes to all from Stouffville…Joe.

  3. So glad to have you guys back on the air! And Glad that your normal good yachtsman sense is being applied. Any decision that maximizes your peace of mind today and sets you up best for tomorrow is a good one. Just like in flying – do what you would advise your best friend to do.
    Good wishes to you and please keep those messages coming.
    Alan Campbell, Penticton

  4. Dear Glenn
    As always, a wise decision. You have on board one of the two the most important people in the lives of Glenn and Marylou Wakefield. To do anything, other that what you have done, would have been totally un-Wakefield.
    We are proud of you Captain.
    A safe journey back to NZ.

  5. Graham Barnard says

    Thanks to Mary Lou am reading your blog
    Stay safe good choice to turn!!

  6. wayne vk4xg says

    Thanks Glenn for the heads up sorry to hear of the change in plans hope all goes well with the repairs I will listen out for you monday about 5pm brisbane time I haven’t heard cliff for some time poor propagation I think , all the best wayne tasker.

  7. Good decision Glenn. Otherwise you would worry about it every moment. Also, better prospects for repairs in NZ. Hope Claire gets her sea legs soon.
    Love to you both, James and Louise

  8. Sally and Geoff Dolman says

    Hi Guys,
    Made the right decision Glenn. Always safety first! We are both sure you will both be fine and safely return to NZ. Please let us know if we can help in any way. Aus is a little out of the way but we and our family are here ready to assist.
    Cheers The Dolmans x

  9. Pat and Fred says

    Glenn, Marylou, and Claire,

    Greetings and best wishes from ” the land of living skies”. I can only imagine what your skies look like. We will be following and hoping repairs solve the problem as you turn back. Take care.

    Pat and Fred

  10. Tough call for you both. See you when you get back. Safe travels xx

  11. Archie Campbell says

    Good move Glenn. May you and Claire have a safe return to N.Z. My thoughts are with you and Claire. Archie

  12. Sorry to hear the news Skipper but the right decision. Will be following your journey with interest. Best wishes for safe return to harbour. Don Nanaimo, BC

  13. Hi Glen and Claire (and Marylou) Hope you can solve the problem really quickly. Good decision to return. Safety should come first. (coming from an inexperienced novice who just likes sailboats!) Stay safe Santa

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