Starting Back

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 10 Mar 2021 22:46
Noon Position: 43 40.7 S 176 06.2 W
Course: NNE Speed: 4 knots
Wind: NW, F3 Sea: moderate Swell: NW 2 m
Weather: overcast, light drizzle, mild
Day’s run: 58 nm sailed, 38 nm made good

After lolling around for a while in the sea and swell under a reefed mainsail, I decided I may as well set a bit of jib to see if it would make the motion a bit more comfortable, which it did. It also had us making reasonable ground to the north. Reluctantly, I decided to give up on the idea of getting ashore at Pitt Island and that we may as well start heading back to Chatham Island. So we commenced punching to windward against the fresh 20 knot northerly breeze.

We ended up making better time than I expected. I suspect we had the assistance of an east setting current through Pitt Strait which helped us to make ground to the north when on the starboard tack and sped us to the east when we were on the port tack. Come dawn we were half up the east coast of Chatham Island, though a fair way out to the east, some sixteen miles.

During the forenoon the wind has gradually gotten lighter but, as generally is the case when the winds ease after a relatively strong blow, the sea is still running in a confused state. Sylph does not like these conditions and with her spoon bow she struggles to make ground to weather. So, at 0800 I flashed up the BRM at low revs to give her a bit of an assist. Also, with the mostly overcast conditions we have experienced over the last several days, the house batteries were a bit on the low side, so a bit of motoring will get them fully charged again.

Now, at midday, we are six miles to the north-east of Point Manning, the north-eastern most point of Chatham Island. During the night I had also reviewed the weather with respect to getting back to mainland New Zealand. The forecast southerlies look like they should get us most of the way back to the North Island in pretty good time. Given that anchoring around the Chatham Islands is clearly a challenging affair, and the fact that I have achieved what I set out to do, which was simply to get here and, in the finest Williams’ tradition, have a beer at the local, I have decided to start heading back.

The batteries are now pretty well fully charged so hopefully this southerly change will come through soon so I can shut the motor down and get sailing again.

All is well.