Leaving Aneityum in our wake…
Landfall in New Zealand, Bay of Islands
G’day from slightly soggy Inzud!
In my last note, we were leaving Port Vila, headed for Aneityum as a staging post to head to NZ. By the time we got there, there was a Tropical Low (the possible genesis of a cyclone) starting to spin up in the Coral Sea. We could have left and tried to outrun it, but last time we did that, we got smacked (en route to Tonga in 2013). So we elected to stay put and let it blow through.
We spent a relaxing week with our buddy-boating mates on Kiapa: snorkelling, walking and swimming…and generally making the most of our last days in the tropics.
We finally left on a northerly wind that pushed us along for the first day, then the wind worked its way around and we were soon close-reaching. Over the next 6 days we had wind from every point of the compass, and long periods of almost no wind at all… But it wasn’t too strong, and the seas were slight, so it was pretty comfortable on the whole! It ended up being a slow passage – but we’d rather that than be beating our brains out!
We closed on the Bay of Islands on Thursday morning, but the rain and fog were so thick we could barely see the rocks a mile away from us!
Thankfully, the weather has improved somewhat since then, though it’s still showery and a tad on the chilly side. We’re now tucked up on the dock right behind Kiapa, who arrived about 6 hours ahead of us.
We farewelled our crew, Marine on Friday. She’s a delightful young lady and we really enjoyed having her on board and hearing stories about French Guyana – never met anyone from there before! (Yes, go look it up – it’s probably not where you think it is!).
So now what? Well, we’re not sure…
Unfortunately, even though we were sailing very conservatively, we had a bit of a problem…
Long story short, a sheave box ripped out of its position and shredded the cover of the main halyard, preventing it – or anything else – from running through the sheaves. (I won’t go into detail, but if you want to know more, let me know). The result was that we had a mainsail jammed up, that wouldn’t come down and a boom that we could no longer control with the topping lift. Of course, this happened at 02:00 on a black night, and it took us about two hours to get it sorted (meanwhile sailing slowly NE to keep the boat pointed into the wind). Luckily we discovered the problem when we did, before it chafed right through the halyard, and there was no wind and the seas were flat – so we averted a potentially disastrous scenario. But it meant we had no mainsail for the last two days of the passage.
And it means that we have a biggish job ahead to get it fixed… We’ll have a better idea tomorrow (we hope) about what’s involved in the repair, and then we’ll be better able to make some plans.
So meanwhile, we are back in interweb land. Love to hear from one and all and we’re sending lemony hugs from here.
Kerry and Damian