The Squash Zone

Bob & Sue Dall
Wed 7 Nov 2012 17:13
When I went for my morning nap, the sun was shining, the sea was flat and the engine was purring. Two hours later the wind was howling, the sky a threatening grey, and Bob was at the bottom of the companion way holding the alternator. . . .The spares departments moment of glory had arrived! At least we were able to sail now and the new alternator was in place in no time. We managed to miss the momentous occasion of crossing 180 degrees though. . .
Each morning and evening we listen to 'The Drifters Net' on the SSB radio. There is a roll call of 'yachts underway' who give their position, weather and sea conditions and ETA to destination etc. Its really good to have contact with others when you are at sea. Gulf harbour radio is another wonderful service, David and Patricia speak to yachts underway to New Zealand and Australia , giving weather information to help plan the best route. We are still in VHF range (about 25nms) with Ever Green, so we can chat with them too!

We had been anticipating a period of strong winds as we crossed the 'squash Zone' and sure enough, at 6am on Wednesday morning, everything seemed to double, the wind speed, the height of the sea and our boat speed. Fortunately we have become well practiced at reefing on this trip (reducing the area of the sail). With 3 reefs in the mainsail and our gib reefed we were still doing over 7 kts, Mawari is handling the seas really well, which makes the experience slightly less scary! The wind was very considerate in waiting for daylight before it came out to play, by night fall we had become accustomed to the sound affects and the crashing and banging. The sea state is such that making a cup of tea is a dangerous activity, which is just as well as using the loo also comes into this category. Its 1am on Thursday morning, pitch black outside, the seas are about 4 metres high (or perhaps its 8), and the wind has been between 25 and 32kts for the last 19hrs, gusting to 35kts now and again just to keep us on our toes. Waves are breaking over the cockpit and the air smells of snow. On the bright side we are zooming along and have less than 200nms to go, help! we've still got a 12lb water melon and a 4 lb cabbage to eat. . We had our last Wahoo dinner yesterday,TG,( 8 days in a row. . .) So we are now free to eat up the ships stores, some of which started the journey on the other side of the world with us, yum. Oh for a bar of chocolate, we even consider raiding the grab bag, as we must be in range of the NZ search and rescue by now, but Bob reminds me that we ate the last Twix from the grab bag on my birthday (we did replace it with some cereal bars!) Still, In about 30hrs time we should be able to buy some more. . can't wait.

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