Tonga>New Zealand - Day 3 (2012-11-06 18:30 UTC - 27:17S 179:33W - DTW 582)

Vries Peter Pons
Tue 6 Nov 2012 18:58
So much for steaks, french fries and a glass of red wine in the cockpit!
Before this lunch yesterday we decided to take down the bimini in
preparation of the heavy weather to come and it was just in time. The wind
gradually picked up, and now we're in 30-35kn winds with gusts to 40kn, much
sooner than expected, and short breaking waves up to 4m. We hope it has just
come sooner, and not that it will be worse than forecast, as it is
definitely not a comfortable ride. The snapshackle of the portside backstay
broke, sending a heavy block and steel wire through the cockpit at a
dazzling speed. We did not get hurt, which is the most important thing, and
we fixed it temporarily.

Managed to get VHF contact with Santa Paz for some time, who left for NZ the
evening before us, they're doing fine. Haven't been able to contact Pacific
Bliss who left together with Santa Paz, as they will be sailing at our speed
at least.

Although we're sailing in reasonably heavy weather now, we quite likely left
just in time, as there is talk of a cyclone forming over Tonga. Moreover, we
ride the south end of a low, which means ESE winds and thus a reach to NZ,
instead of the normal pattern on this route of having to beat the wind in
the north end of a low.