Day Fifteen - New Zealand Time
Wed 29 Dec 2021 00:46
Course: E by SE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: W, F4 Sea: moderate
Swell: W, 2 meters
Weather: cloudy, cool
Day's Run: 110 nm (in 22 hours)
Yesterday, as we were getting closer to New Zealand, I thought it a good idea to advance clocks to NZ time. This meant a jump forward of two hours to time zone -13 (allowing for daylight saving). Now at least the sun would be rising at a more sensible hour, at around six instead of four.
The loss of two hours has contributed to a reduction in our day's run over the last 24 hours, but the most significant factor has been the lighter winds. In fact overnight I decided to beam reach down to the SE rather then maintain an E'ly heading so as to keep some pressure in the sails and prevent the mainsail from flogging. At least it made for relatively peaceful night even if we did give up a few miles of easting.
Consequently we will pass well to the south of Stewart Island and likely will not sight it, which is fine because we visited Stewart Island only twelve months ago. On the other hand we raised the Snares over the horizon at around 1100 which we haven't seen before.
This part of the world is the home of the Royal Albatross, second in size only to the great Wandering Albatross. Several of them have been soaring effortlessly about old Sylph. The two species can be hard to tell apart to the untrained eye so I have been studying Harrison's 'Seabirds'. The plumage of the juvenile Wandering Albatross is much darker than that of the Royal Albatross so I think I may have spotted a young Wanderer earlier this morning. In more mature birds it would seem the major identifying feature is the sides of the tail feathers, which are black on the Wandering Albatross while they are all white on the Royal. Thus armed I shall study the birds soaring around Sylph a little more closely.
Yesterday, with the lighter winds, I baked a loaf of bread and shot an afternoon sun.
Now the wind has freshened again and once more we run wing-on-wing, a reef in the mainsail and the jib poled out to starboard. We expect to round South West Cape around 1900.
Coconut lies about 600nm ahead.
All is well.