Ready to go again...

The repairs have been completed and we will now check out with Customs tomorrow morning and leave early am on Tuesday.  Could really have left much earlier.  Today it is blowing like hell and raining.  Below is the current weather forecast for where we are in Picton just by Cook Strait.

It is looking good to have following seas on the run to New Caledonia which should be about seven days.

Coastal Forecast: Cook


Marianna gets a taste of the Southern Ocean...

Marianna is my crew lady whom I mentioned earlier.  She has been on ocean voyages before but only in the tropics...nothing quite like she has experienced on the first leg of this trip.  I explain more shortly.

But, first I thought that it may be a good idea to show you the intended route graphically.  I have changed it slightly on the suggestion of a good friend who has sailed into Darwin many times.  Rather than divert to there we will call into West Timor for fresh supplies. 

OK...back to Marianna.  When we left Lyttelton early Tuesday morning 15th May the conditions were benign with a light breeze and sunshine with a 1.5 meter swell from the North East.  As the day wore on we started picking up the beginning of the southerly expected which was anticipated to be around 25 knots.

However, later in the evening the conditions began to deteriorate, and at 9pm the first somewhat mild gale came through with sustained winds of 35 knots and gusts up to 40 knots.  Unfortunately it also rained and the temperatures were close to freezing, and so it was bloody cold.  But, it was my shift on so Marianna was wrapped up warmly in her berth.

By 10pm when it was Marianna shift the wind had settled down to a comfortable low 30's.  Marianna kept watch (if that is what you can call it given there was no moon and no stars and zero visibility).  Anyway, at 3am I started my shift and Marianna went to get some sleep.  About 5am about 30 miles south of Cape Campbell the second gale hit us at storm force.  Winds were sustained at around 44 - 45 knots and rising at times to 50 knots.

The seas and winds were slightly to on the aft port quarter and we were doing a lot of surfing with speeds reaching 13 knots.  Couldn't see what the seas were like because of zero visibility.  However, from the reflection of the nav lights I could see the breaking tops of waves behind us which looked like they would tumble down on to the aft deck...but, they never did.  Instead they just broke and slid underneath the boat.

When surfing down the waves there was only a few occassions in which green water came through the slates on the deck.  The bows raised nicely and the boat tracked well.  I wonder how big a role the bulbs played in helping the bows lift so well.

Also, not once did we have any crashing underneath the cockpit.

Conditions were predicted to get worse over the following 24 hours so I decided to take shelter on the lee side of Cape Campbell and anchor whilst the rest of the storm passed.

Back to Marianna...she came back on deck about 6am but it was not until it started getting light around 7am that she could see the state of the sea conditions, which would be pretty scary if you have not experienced it before.  However, instead of Marianna being frightened she was thrilled because she had no idea when she was in her berth how big the seas were and any reservations she may have had about the boat being caught in bad conditions evaporated.  In fact, if it hadn't been so damm cold it would have been fun.

Although we had a sea anchor and a drogue the conditions were still a long way away from even having to consider the deploying of either.

I am completely confident that even in sustained 60 knot winds from the aft quarter that having the aft main sail reefed and the jib reefed and putting a drogue out would give a comfortable and safe ride.

We however found that one of our lockers in the cockpit containing electrical gear was not sealed well and water got in and found its way down the leg of one of the motors which stuffed it.  So, we headed for Picton which is where we are now replacing the motor...which fortunately I had a spare of. 


The Journey is about to Begin...

Sorry I have been somewhat silent over the last few months.  I have had a lot of business issues to attend to as part of my process of removing myself from the operational side of my business so I can spend time at sea without being 'bothered'.  I have also had to arrange a lot of other 'stuff' for the boat.  Over the next week or two I will outline what that 'stuff' was and post photos.

Everything is now complete and we will be leaving on the first leg of the voyage on the next suitable weather window...likely to be next Wednesday.

The voyage will consist of two legs.

The first leg will be from Lyttleton in the South Island of New Zealand to New Caledonia via Cook Strait.  the second leg will be from New Caledonia to Phuket, Thailand with a couple of stop offs on the way, one at Darwin, Australia and the other at the Coco Keeling Islands in the Indian ocean before heading north to Phuket around the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia.

We may have other stops on the way, such as the northern reefs of New Caledonia, and some of the small islands in Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea.

There will be two of us on board.  Myself and crew lady, Marianna who is Chilean/Scottish.  My wife does not share my love of the sea and has no desire to go on a lengthy ocean voyage.  She will come and visit the boat once it is safely in Thailand in calm waters.

I advertised in for a suitable crew mate and had about 80 responses from around the world. Marianna had the right temperament and we seem to get on well so she will stay with the vessel until we get to Thailand.  I am confident it was a good selection.  

I plan on updating the voyage on a daily basis whilst in transit with position and time made good along with conditions.  I won't be uploading photos or videos whilst in transit but will do so when in port with a good internet connection. 


New Sails...

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had some new sails made to help light weather performance.  Unfortunately I have been out of the country for the last month and haven't had a chance to test them well.  Here are a few more photos and details of the two sails I referred to recently plus a new upwind sail.

Firstly the one for using when the wind is off the aft quarter.  The first photo shows the sail attached in the center and the next one shows and alternate position.  Both positions worked well.

The next photo shows the new upwind sail which also made quite a difference to performance. 

The next photo shows how the spinnaker is fixed.

Later in the month I will be doing some more sea trials so I will be able to share with you the performance in different conditions and sail configurations.


Stowage of Paddleboard...

I've been trying to figure out a good place to stow the paddleboard.  I use this a lot as it is more convenient in many situations than assembling the dingy.  I wanted somewhere easy to put it out of the way whilst sailing without cluttering up deck space.  I was towing it for a while but the slapping of it on the water disturbed the peace.  So, we made up a bracket on the aft beam and it fits on there nicely.

Only problem is that it interferes with the fairlead I have fitted for the, I will have to figure out somewhere else I can put it in storm conditions in the event of having to tow a drogue.



DIve Compressor...

The new dive compressor is now fitted.  I had a bit of an issue where to fit it so it was out of the way when not in use.  The solution was to cut out the bottom of the aft seat and lower it by about 100mm.  It now fits in there nicely and is easy to lift out when needed for use.


New Sails...

I mentioned a while back that I felt the drifter was too small.  Also, you may recollect that Maxim who charters some Tiki's in Thailand made a suggestion concerning a spinnaker which he attaches to the stem of each hull.

I passed this info on to the boat builder Davie Norris and he referred me to Rodney Keenan of Evolution sails in Auckland.  I met up with Rodney as he happened to be in Fiji at the same time as me.  Rodney designs and makes many of the America's cup yacht sails including Oracles.  He also supplies sails for many of the round the world race yachts.

Bottom line...he designed both a spinnaker and another large downwind sail so that I could improve downwind performance a lot more.  He flew down to Christchurch last week to spend a day with me on the boat to learn how to get the best out of the sails.  I was delighted with the results.  The breeze was very light but we got 5 knots in 8 knots of breeze.

I have now commissioned him to build another sail to improve upwind performance.  Also, he is redesigning the jib which he confident will improve performance more.

During December I will be doing a lot of testing and documenting the performance of different sails in varying conditions which will be logged into a computer program which will in turn link into the routing/weather software to help improve passage making.

Aug102011 last.

Finally I have figured out how to upload a video. This is the video that I made back in January. Later that day the wind increased to 35 knots and the boat speed was just under 15 knots.