Final Approach

9 Feb

February 7, 2019/Day 126

Noon Position: 47 11S  156 47E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 6

Miles since departure: 17,514

Avg. Miles/Day: 139


We’re are on final approach for passage under New Zealand’s South Island. Distance to a waypoint between Stewart Island and The Snares Islands, 400 miles.

Mo is pounding upwind since the high receded early yesterday. Thus, this final approach is a creepily slow one. And it’s just the beginning of what portends to be a difficult run of days, including both strong winds from not quite the right direction and a number of dynamic wind changes.

Tonight a locally-developed low drops down over us with winds forecast to 35 from E of N initially, then backing slowly to W of N. The challenge will be to keep from getting pushed too far S. My hope is that because the low is essentially coming to life right around here, the sea will not be too daunting and will allow us to maintain more easting than we might otherwise.

As I type, the big SW swell of yesterday is gone, and all we have is local chop from local wind, still under 20 knots. That said, the barometer is falling fast, down 1mb per hour for the last four hours since noon. So, I won’t be surprised if we are made to run off downwind for some hours overnight.

Consequently, I expect to pass The Snares well to the S.

After this low, winds stay strong from the N and NW except for one or two ridges (no or light and variable air) that move through quickly.

The final challenge will be a wide band of very strong N winds right off South Island into Sunday. At normal speeds, we’d be plonk in the middle of these, so I anticipated having to slow down to avoid.

I’ve spent the morning getting Mo ready; all the usual steps; pump the bilges, lock floorboards, seal cabinets, move sheets around to leeward, get the solar panels below. Additionally, I’ve taken the storm jib off the inner forestay and rigged the small staysail, this for better upwind work, if it comes to that.

And I spent the afternoon napping, as it will likely be a long night with little or no sleep.

Once around South Island, weather continues to be contrary as a series of tropical lows drop down from Tonga and cruise the E coast of New Zealand, creating headwinds for many days to come.

But that’s next week. We’ll worry about that then.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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