Weather Window

Sun 26 Oct 2014 00:55
Ok, this is it, we're heading off for the last leg down to New Zealand. 

We've been watching the weather for some time, looking for a window for the week or so it will take us to get there. The problem is it's Spring time in New Zealand, with depression after depression sweeping over it. But we have to go because it's getting rather close to cyclone season here in Tonga.

Some of our friends have made the trip already, sometimes without incident but others have had main sails blown out and coped with 50 knot winds on the nose. We can plan as much as we like but beyond a few days the forecasts are just that, forecasts, not set in stone, and things can change rapidly. 

We have a get out clause, about a fifth of the way there, Minerva Reef, a couple of atolls in the middle of nowhere. We can anchor inside them, with the surf breaking on the reef, pools of calm water inside the huge swell of the Pacific Ocean.  We can stop there if we need to wait for a depression to pass through. Otherwise we get what comes.

We are well prepared, trisail bent on ready and storm jib checked and set to go, but most likely we'll have to be using light weight sails or having to motor with light winds as we're counting on a high pressure area to keep the depressions passing under New Zealand instead of above it. 

Either way, we're finally leaving the tropics, after nearly two years. I looked at the air temperature on the GRIB files to see what's in store... the rainbow colours showing the transition from 30° to 10° spoke for themselves! Now, where did I pack the thermal underwear, and what were those things you have to wear on your feet? Oh, yes, I remember: socks.

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