New Zealand to Fiji 2018 - Day 7

David & Susan's Adventures
David & Susan Simpson
Sat 2 Jun 2018 23:19
We arrived in North Minerva Reef yesterday at about 4.0pm and were very glad to get here. After a good 4 days sailing we had really difficult 24 hours. The weather system that was predicted to come in on Sunday arrived early and we had strong NE winds, 20 – 35 knots and we were close hauled for nearly 24 hours with lots of water coming over the boat and then it got worse and the wind was on our nose for about the last 6 hours. We also had lots of water coming into the boat and had to use our emergency bilge drain arrangement, using the engine to suck out the bilge water.
We decide to carry on rather than try to hove to, as we would be at least another 24 hours and as we couldn’t find where the water was coming from, we weren’t sure if we had a major problem. I had a very long night on Friday as Susan was feeling unwell. As we approached Minerva we started to furl the Genoa and the reefing line came apart from the furling drum, so the whole genoa came out and was flapping madly in the wind. We had to take down the genoa, which took quite a while and hopefully we managed without tearing any of the sail. We also noticed that one of the lifebuoys was missing, with one of our new lifebuoy lights. Once we anchored in Minerva, it was obvious that the water was no longer coming in quickly, so we started to relax and enjoy dinner a a glass or two of wine. I also opened our lovely bottle of Lagavulin and had a wee dram, thanks Graham, Natalie & Matt. Susan thinks that this was the worst 24 hours she has had at sea, I don’t think it was quite that bad, but it wasn’t fun!
We don’t now appear to have any significant amount of water coming in and we now think that it was mainly from the and stantions, the anchor locker and the hull windows. It looks like we have work to do in Fiji rather than just relaxing. Graham, don’t you need a ‘holiday’.
All the work we had done on the boat stood up to the hammering very well, the new doghouse windows were great with only a tiny amount of water coming in at the opening front window. The new bimini and solar panel support were absolutely solid despite lots of water both hitting the bottom of the bimini and landing on top of the solar panels. I am certain that we would have damaged solar panels if they were still on the side of the boat.
North Minerva reef is an amazing place as you only see the reef at low tide and there were 20+ boats anchored in this place, 300 miles from land. There have been at least 7 boats arrived this morning and quite a lot more on the way here.
We have a number of jobs to complete before we leave Minerva so expect to be here for at least 2-3 days and then it will be 3-4 nights at sea to Savusavu. We wont leave until we are sure of reasonable weather.
Cheers, D&S