Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Departing Nelson - for real this time

The plan is to depart Nelson tomorrow (Thursday) in the AM. It looks like conditions will be similar to the ones we (Twister and I) had coming into Tasman Bay, but after a day or two it should be smooth sailing up to Cape Reinga. If the wind continues to cooperate, we'll sail straight to Auckland. If not we'll stop somewhere between Bay Of Islands and Auckland. Hopefully we'll be in Auckland in a week.

Oh, this afternoon I saw a boat I recognized moored next to Twister. It was a surprise to see Sean whom I met in American Samoa. He sailed from American Samoa to Tonga then to New Zealand and has been making his way down the east coast of the North Island and through the Cook Strait.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

second thoughts

After looking at the latest 5-day forecast, it seems I will have strong headwinds coming up the east coast if I leave today. Much more favorable winds are forecast for sailing back up the west coast later this week, so I think that is what I will do. I had hoped to sail around the North Island, but not enough to bash into a gale for several days when I can have tailwinds by going back the way I came. So, I'll have a few more days to enjoy Nelson.

Cook Strait Then Northwards

Planning for midday departure from Nelson tomorrow (Monday the 20th). Forecast looks good for transiting Cook Strait early Tuesday. Then northeast around The East Cape, past Bay Of Plenty, The Coromandel Peninsula, and back into The Hauraki Gulf. Next stop will probably be Somewhere on the Coromandel coast, Great Barrier Island, or maybe Waiheke Island. I expect it will be a week or so before the next landfall.

latest pics from cruising NZ

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The South Island

Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I set foot on the South Island of New Zealand for the first time.  Sailing in New Zealand is a lot more work than tradewinds sailing. This passage was typical--the wind went from calm to gale and back to calm (ie no wind) and from almost every direction on the compass. Nelson is beautiful. Twister is sitting on a mooring (looks well maintained) which the owner was generous enough to let me use.

The passage from Raglan to Nelson was tough. I had a bit of a cold and my back hurt. Coming out of Raglan Harbor (no problems crossing the sandbar going in or out), I motored for a couple of hours to get away from land and be able to sail southward on the port tack. Again I observed (as I did after rounding Cape Reinga and heading south to Raglan) that it's difficult to make  headway when beating into light winds. This time a light bulb went off in my head and I understood why (and this illustrates how little I know about sailing). I have, as most sailors probably, noticed that when the wind gusts, the boat can point closer to the wind. Now I understood why--when close-hauled in light winds, the speed of the boat contributes significantly to the apparent wind (that is, the wind experienced by the boat), while in strong winds, it contributes less. So when sailing at a particular angle to the true wind, the apparent wind is farther forward in light winds than strong winds. The catch-22 is that stronger winds build bigger seas to bash into, slowing down the boat.
I had a couple of visits from what looked like Black Browed Albatrosses. They tend to follow ships, but apparently Twister does not fit their definition of a ship, so after circling a couple of times, they flew on. Only noticed a couple of salps this time.
I endured the first gale of the trip after rounding Cape Egmont. It was frustrating sitting becalmed waiting for the forecast gale. The wind went from calm to gale amazingly fast. I had up a small patch of jib, and the triple-reefed mail was still a bit much (a trysail might have been the right sail for the job). But Twister handled it like a champ, I think. 24 hours later, I was becalmed again, ca 20 miles from Nelson. I motored the last bit. Once ashore, I felt content and pleased with myself for having sailed to the South Island.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Onward Southward

I plan to sail out of Raglan Harbor this afternoon (Monday Feb 13 on this side of the date line) with the high tide. Next stop--Nelson on the northern end of the South Island. This passage will take me south of latitude 40 S which I had not planned on crossing when I left California in April. The forecast is for favorable winds most of the way and some rain (I may have to beat into 25 knot winds the last 12 hours). I've had an enjoyable stay in Raglan, surfing, camping, throwing the frisbee. Pics to come. I expect the passage to Nelson to take 3 days. After Nelson, the journey continues through the fearsome Cook Strait and northward along the North Island's east coast.
My latest epiphanoid: 'Tis better to have snoozed and lost than never to have snoozed at all.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Twister made it into Raglan Harbor. It was a lovely sail up around the North Cape and Cape Reinga and down the west coast. The ocean was teeming with salps and I caught a Skipjack Tuna which has now been consumed. Going camping with friends in Raglan this weekend. Twister is sitting in Raglan Harbor with two anchors and lots of chain, so she'll be fine.