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Date: 09 Feb 2011 10:03:00
Title: Sailing South Day 4 - Napier - 39 28.98S 176 53.48E

The noon-to-noon run was only 118.8 miles and it's been a real mixed bag in the last 24 hours, leading to a change of destination (or at least a stop-off on route). Early last night the winds suddenly changed from north (behind) to south, and on the nose. Winds of 20kts plus (apparent winds of 25 to 30kts) made it difficult to make progress and the new forecast gave more 20kt winds all the way down the east coast - not a very pleasant prospect. Tacking back and forth would also mean that it would take a lot longer to get to the Cook Strait and we would then miss the ever shortening weather window to go through it. So as we had just past the town of Napier (only 50 miles to the west) we felt the detour to get there would be worth it, to be in port while the Southerlies blow and wait for another weather window for the Cook Strait. Getting to Napier should have been relatively quick - 8 to 10 hours, however, after a few hours the wind changed again and it was a battle against strong winds and big seas. We made it to Napier and are now tied up nice and snug, but while getting here the wind changed direction from south to west to southwest to southeast and varied from 10kts to 25kts, often switching between the extremes like a flick of a switch - very easy to find you're over canvassed. So it proved to be a bit of a battle to get here. Napier is located in Hawke Bay that reminds us of Lyme Bay. The promontory on the north end of the bay looks like Portland and is called Portland. The sea area is also called Portland. Napier's position in Hawke Bay is similar to Torbay. We always used to run into difficult seas when going in there, so nothing has changed! So far on our passage south we have covered 541.6 miles in the 4 days we've been at sea, with a further 264 miles to go to get to Picton.

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