Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 8 Jan 2021 04:00
Position: 46 35.77 S 168 20.23 E
Alongside Bluff
Wind: SSW F2 Sea: calm Swell: nil
Weather: cloudy, mild
Day’s run: 103 nm

After a bit of reflection on what to do next, yesterday afternoon I decided it would probably be wisest to head for Bluff rather than continue up the west coast. My reasoning was that Bluff is relatively close, the angle was okay for the wind direction, and the weather was forecast to moderate in the Foveaux region whereas the forecast was for the winds to strengthen to gale force on the west coast and remain strong for several days.
So, at 1600 I gybed to bring Sylph onto a NE’ly heading and made things as comfortable as possible. Then Oli and I had a bit of a rest while the newfangled tiller pilot took care of Sylph. At 2200 we were starting to come under the lee of Stewart Island. The seas and swell were moderating and the wind easing. We needed to make more easting so I set the mainsail with two reefs to help keep Sylph balanced. By 0200 the wind had gone all together so I furled the jib and started the motor but an hour and a half later the high temperature alarm sounded. I shut it down and turned in for a while and allowed Sylph to find her own head in the light breeze.
At 0800 I tumbled out of my bunk feeling sufficiently rested to continue on our way (I had been getting up every half hour to have a look around and generally check that nothing had changed). I topped up the header tank on the engine and continued motoring. Another job on the to do list – work out why the engine is overheating.
On the way into harbour, I noticed a trim blue yacht motoring out. As we passed one another a young dark-haired lady waved. She was clearly single handing. I recalled seeing the yacht, Windfola, at anchor in Golden Bay with a sign on the boom “Voyage for Voyce” on it but there had not been anyone on board to ask about it so I decided to look it up on our arrival in Bluff.
At 1115 we were secured alongside the fishermen’s wharf with the assistance of Dave who owns the only yacht here it seems. Dave advises me that Bluff is not a yacht friendly town. On the way in I had called Bluff Harbour Radio to check on traffic and for advice on a berth. There was no traffic and they had no berths but referred me to Bluff Fishermen’s Radio. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a reply from the fisherman’s net so I had to go in and ask whoever I could find standing on the wharf. Fortunately that someone turned out to be Dave, who kindly directed me to a berth astern of his currently mastless yacht, Aphrodite. The berth belongs to a fishing boat that is currently at sea and Dave told me that I should check with Bluff Fisherman’s Radio to find out if it was OK to stay there for a while. When I tell him that I had been unable to raise Bluff fishermen's radio he was surprised, saying that the very nice lady, Mary, who runs the net, is always there. I have since tried several more times on several channels but with nil response. Sometimes it just feels like the universe just does not want to cooperate.
Since coming alongside I have sent an email to Hydrovane in Canada enquiring about parts for the windvane, spoken with Kate (she is back in Dunedin or today), had a good windbag with Dave (he seems a very nice chap), and checked on “Voyage for Voyce”. It turns out that the skipper of the Windfola, Elana, is doing a figure of eight circumnavigation of New Zealand to establish a scholarship programme for youth in foster care to attend a 10 day youth development programme on NZ’s sail training ship, Spirit of New Zealand. Given my background in Young Endeavour, I felt beholden to put in a plug for her cause (and make a small donation).
And now I had best get back to solving my windvane problem.
All is well.