South West Cape ... and a bang on deck

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 7 Jan 2021 02:37
Position: 47 19.3 S 167 21.2 E
Course: NNW Speed 7 knots
Wind: SSW F6 Sea: moderate to rough Swell: SW 2
Weather: overcast, showers, cool
Day’s run: 70 nm

Kate and I enjoyed our short stay at Millars Beach, taking the opportunity to make the short walk to the ruins of the old whaling station that use to operate out of Paterson Inlet. On Tuesday we moved back to Golden Bay to restock provisions before continuing to visit the bays along Stewart Island’s southern coast. However, yesterday Kate and I made a fairly sudden though not unconsidered decision. Kate would explore the South Island by other means while I sailed Sylph single-handed up the west coast to rendezvous with her perhaps in Nelson or somewhere else yet to be decided. The reasons for this decision are several …

And I just heard something go ‘bang’ on deck. I had best investigate.

… …

An hour or so later and I return from a rather tumultuous time on deck. The bang was a strut on the windvane self-steering breaking. I lashed some lines to the windvane to prevent the whole lot going over the side. I knew I was not going to get it operational again while at sea so my objective was to salvage the system, minimise damage and not get hurt in the process. It is rather rough on deck at the moment so I ended up wet and bedraggled but the windvane is now lashed to the side of the counter. I could not get it all inboard because one of the struts remains firmly attached while every other means of attachment has broken.

Now ‘Sylph’ is being steered by the tiller pilot. I am not confident this piece of electrical gadgetry will make the distance, nor whether the batteries and solar panels will provide enough power. And now i am not sure where I should head for either. For the moment it seems easiest to continue on towards Nelson; however I will likely stop in at Milford Sound for a regroup.

… …

As I was saying, the reasons for Kate temporarily leaving the ship are several. Probably the dominant one is my feeling the need for some single-handing time. Also, I figured it might be a little less stressful on Kate and me for me to do the hard yards getting ‘Sylph’ back up north into more benign cruising grounds. The above incident would appear to have vindicated my thinking. Clearly, when I get somewhere that can do some fabrication, I am going to have to beef the system up a bit more.

All is well.