Day 392, Year 1: Passage to New Zealand, Day 5—Weather Change
Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Weather: Sunny with Long White Clouds on the Horizon; Winds NW18 Knots
Air Temperature: 63 degrees F
Water Temperature at Surface: 58 degrees F
Latitude: 33 degrees 47 minutes S
Longitude: 174 degrees 56 minutes E
Location: Passage from N Minerva Reef to New Zealand
Miles to Go: 88

At dawn this morning, both the air and water temperature were 58 degrees F. But it has been another beautiful sunny day so the cockpit is quite warm. We have not had the cold rains that were predicted, but that could still come tonight and in the morning. It is possible that we will have miserable weather for our arrival in Opua, but the rest of the trip has been most pleasant . . . so no complaints. We continued to motor through the high and then it was like we crossed a line in the sand. Within minutes, the winds increased to 18 to 20 knots and they have stayed steady all day. The seas have increased from flat to about 6 to 8 feet so we are doing a bit of “bobbing”, but so far it is a gentle downwind roll. The winds are on the starboard quarter as predicted and should stay that way, but it could get a little rowdy tonight.. Even if the winds increase to 30, we should be okay. Of course, the seas will increase as well, so who knows what the ride will be like by morning. The good thing is that we should arrive early in the am. We will be very thankful if we can get to New Zealand safely.

Windcastle is about 50 miles ahead of us and they plan to come in during the night tonight. Not sure I would want to do that, but they are trying to beat the strong winds. They have been sailing close to a boat named Kabuki for the past couple of days and enjoying VHF communication. The guy on Kabuki is a gold miner from Alaska, and Doug’s love of rocks has made their conversations most interesting. Mark is a little better today, but not what I would call on the road to recovery. My symptoms come and go. I started to go downhill today, so Mark took over on watch while I slept for an hour. I have been much better since, so hopefully once we are in and can get some rest, both of us will be fine.

The sun here does not go down until 8pm and rises again before 6am. We have had some moonlight helping us during the passage, but tonight the sliver of moon that is left does not rise until about 2:30 am. That won’t help me on first watch, but it will assure that the last part of the passage has light. By the time land is in sight, the sun should be up. That should make coming in a little easier, even if it is stormy. I have to say that I will really be glad when we reach Opua. This has not been our longest passage by any means, but it has been the most worrisome. Here’s hoping for New Zealand by early morning.

061114 Day 392–Minerva Reef to NZ Passage