Half Way

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 7 Jan 2020 01:43

Noon Position: 35 18.3 S 162 17.3 E
Course: NE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: ESE, F4 moderate breeze
Sea: moderate. Swell: SSW 3 m
Weather: overcast, mild
Day’s run: 119 nm

Winds eased yesterday afternoon such that we were able to shake out the reefs in the main and set all plain sail, both jib and staysail filling the foretriangle. Unfortunately, while conditions were much more comfortable, the wind remained on the nose and for much of last night we were only able to make good a course of 030. At midnight I tried tacking but this had us heading in the opposite direction and actually heading away from New Zealand. Initially I suspected a current was working against us but after monitoring Sylph movement for a while came to the conclusion that our poor heading was due partly to the combination of swell and light winds but mostly due to the wind shifting back into the SE shortly after we had tacked. So, at 0150 I tacked back to the east.

Since then we have remained close hauled on the starboard tack making good a course of 075 though we are slowly being headed to the north. During the forenoon the wind has picked up to about 15 knots and Sylph makes good an average speed of 6.5 knots. Storm petrels, shearwaters and the odd albatross keep us company, wheeling and gliding over the long even swells coming up from the Southern Ocean.

Today marks the halfway point across the Tasman Sea.

Kate’s night watch poem:


A study in dove grey
Evening slipped into being
If this were eternal rest
I would choose it
The long roll of a weary sea
worn down by wind changes
A vast blanket now lies over
a cover of mottled cloud
with the promise of a moon
not so rude as to shine
Under full sail, but easy
rather less than ruffling
now the water allows her by
How different tonight
Soon it will change
But for now perfection
Gently she goes


All is well