Monday 6th July 2015 - Back in the Starting Box

Jon & Carol Dutton
Mon 6 Jul 2015 09:13

Monday 6th July 2015 – Back in the Starting Box

The new forestay and roller furler did eventually arrive on Wednesday 17th June and were fitted the next day.  The boat yard completed the final bits and pieces to do with hull polishing and coating the propeller with ‘Propspeed’ (a special sort of anti-foul) and we launched on Friday 19th to take up a berth in Opua marina.  We knew that, whatever the weather, it would take us a week to get the boat ready for sea.  It always does.  By Friday 26th we were more or less ready to go and looking for a decent weather window to get us north to Fiji.

This is, apparently, an El Niño year.  That is causing quite a lot of chaos in the S Pacific – not least an out-of-order and out- of- season cyclone very recently in the Solomon Islands.  Not on. C’mon, weather; you know the rules – you’ve been around long enough and you taught us them in the first place.

Eventually, by 1st July, the data we could see and that the weather guru, Bob McDavitt, could advise upon indicated that  a window was due to open on Saturday 4th July.  Then the situation changed and it looked a rather dismal option involving very little wind followed by headwinds.  Monday 6th looked a goer.  Then it became a non-starter because, as things changed, it became clear that it would pretty well guarantee our hitting gale force NW winds 36 hours out from Opua.  Those winds still look due to hit Opua on Tuesday afternoon/evening NZ time despite the fact that as I type (Monday evening) there is not the slightest breath of air in Opua.  The associated low pressure system from the Tasman Sea, having passed through,  should leave us with fairly strong southerly winds by about midday Wednesday.  That’ll do us, as will the gradually backing winds which should eventually see us sailing the last portion of the essentially northbound passage in easterly winds of very manageable strength  – say F4 – 5 (15-20 kts).  Anyway, that’s the latest light fiction regarding the weather.

Much though we love NZ, it will be lovely finally to cut the apron strings.  With luck we’ll be out of here by midday (NZ time) Wednesday

If you are interested in seeing one of the sites we access to get the developing weather picture in the S Pacific you might wish to check out  It is all the same fiction - just more divertingly packaged.