The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Fri 7 Nov 2014 20:09



33:19S  175:18E


We’ve had another slow day and only made 115 miles towards Opua. We’ve still got 135 miles to go, so we’ll be there sometime tomorrow. The damn wind is still against us and we’re beating up-wind for the third day.  I want my money back, the holiday brochure never said it would be like this. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


7 November 2014   Tongatapu to New Zealand (Day 7)

At dawn, we were still motor-sailing along the rhumb line to Opua with only 250 miles to go.  After breakfast, the wind picked up to 10-15 knots, but was still from the south, so we had a go at sailing again.  Unfortunately, the wind was still playing silly buggers and the waves were slowing us down to 2-3 knots, so the engine went back on again.


I downloaded my morning GRIB files which showed that the wind should back during the day to the south-west and then reduce in speed over night, but we'll probably be beating all the way to Opua.


We motored until ten o'clock, when the wind finally picked up and backed enough that we could hold a course 30 degrees off the rhumb line. We spent most of the day hanging on for grim death or sleeping wedged in a berth on the starboard side.


The wind dropped around four o'clock in the afternoon, so we were back to motor-sailing.  I decided that while we were motoring, we might as well gain some easting, so that we'd be in a better position when the wind comes back tomorrow and we set a course 30 degrees east of the rhumb line.  We had a nice hot beef curry for dinner, then donned extra warm clothes ready for the night.


It turned out to be a magical night.  The wind dropped to 5 knots and the seas subsided to a couple of feet high, so we slid along at six knots under a full moon.  However,  it was very, very cold.  I spent all of my 1-4 watch down below keeping warm and only popping my head up every so often.