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Fiji to New Zealand Day6 – Tralwer days

Its supposed to be a sailboat, but good thing it has engines too! Tried and tried agin to get enough wind to keep the journey going with the power of the wind. But alas, it was not meant to be. Well it could have been, just would have taken much longer and exposed us to the front that is coming. Or forecast to come at least.

After a few good days of knocking off the miles under sail, having to resort to the engines is a disappointment, however it is a means to an end and a pretty good safety factor. So we have a pretty good range on Engine power alone. We carry 800 liters, thats 220 gallons of diesel on board. We also even have another 100 liters in jerry cans stored “Just In Case” . With the normal 800 liters, thats 400 per engine. Which translates to about 100 hours of run time per engine. So we can run them together or separately. Together we get to go faster, but separately we get to go further but slower. If completely necessary we could get about 800 miles out of the fuel on board. Now the wave and wind direction will have a HUGE say into exactly how far we can go on the fuel. The tanks will still be more than 1/2 full, actually are reading 75% full.

Prefer to sail, but we make the most of it, topped up the water tanks with all the extra electricity that the engines were producing as the batteries were full as well.

The day was gray, they blue, then gray, then drizzal – just a mixed bag. Everytime the wind picked up to over 7knots we’d try to use it.. but ended up just letting the engines do their thing.

Another comfortable night of rest with the drone of iron jenny (slang for engines) ..

Here is a photo of the ring and pin that were trouble some yesterday.. The split ring at the bottom holds the silver pin in from coming out, it can only go up. When I found the one trying to escape, it was 3//4 of the way up.. was bound by the force trying to pull the bungie off.

All good on board, quick pork tacos for dinner and should arrive on Day 7 either at Opua or Marsden. If neither of them will be in daylight, Marsden will get the nod. Its a bit farther so it’ll be the wee hours of the night when we arrive.


Fiji to New Zealand Day5 – Poof and its gone

The champagne is gone, the bottle must have broke.

Cruising along comfortably and its time for breakfast and we know we are going have to change directions a bit today with the rain clouds all around and gray skies everywhere, there was bound to be action. So a big breakfast was necessary..

Once again enter Mr Jimmy Dean! Dangerously low now, but at least the customs office won’t get to confiscate the treasure. A nice big breakfast of Texas Migas (well some Malaysian chips for tortilla chips), Jimmy of course and anything else that sounded like Migas that needed to be used before arrival. Yum.. served over Fijian tortilla – close as it gets out here.

Gray clouds, everything is gray. Gone are the blues of the pacific, just grays. Some darker than the rest, those dark ones are dropping water from the sky so avoid them. Rain means a wind shift of some sorts. We were getting set to Jibe through all the gray and trying to avoid the rain droppers to cut across and minimize our time being wet.

There were 3 other boats on our make shift AIS setup that we could see. Also navigating the maze of thunder showers. Visually I spotted what looked like a good opportunity to cut behind a thundershower that just passed but infront of the next one back. Was patiently waiting, and waiting on the passing shower to go by. Taking forever. Hmm. Radar alarm goes off. Go check the radar, sombiotch. That thing is huge, 6 miles long and at least 2 miles deep. Well lets just slow down some and let it pass faster. Bearing away a bit to give us more time. Well the thing gets closer and closer, what was 6 miles from us was now getting closer to 3 miles. Okay, lets just drop the sails and let it do its thing, we’ll motor across.

Roll the foresail (jib) no worries. Turn into the wind to drop the main, now the wind is kicking upper 20s, mainsail get stuck on the way down. First time since we’ve owned the boat it doesn’t come down smoothly. Now we have bouncy seas and lots of wind and sail that won’t come down. I go to the mast to investigate and climb up on the boom and was able tug on the sail and bring it down. Not to bad. Now to tie the main down, I notice that the top batten, where the sail attaches to the cars that slide up and down the mast had an issue. The pin that holds the slide to the sail was dangerously close to going swimming. The pin is normally secured by a cotterpin/split ring that prevents the pin from leaving of its own free will. Well the cotterpin took a break at some point and went swimming without asking. Silly thing didn’t know there was not a lifeguard on duty. Oh well he knew the risks.

Now holding on for dear life with one hand for me and one on the pin the struggle started. Bouncing back and forth, up and down and trying to get leverage to pull the pin or to complete re-insert the pin, either would have been fine, the pin was bound pretty tightly needed a tool or something help. Christine brought me some things to try eventually, a large and I mean large screw driver I was able to re-seat the pin and go in search of the spares. Found em, now back to the bucking bronco to thread this needle with one hand and not dropping anything.

Success, sail still onboard and now completely attached again we will be ready for the wind when it returns in our favor.

We motor on through the clouds, look back at our track and the track of the neighboring boats. No one had fun, they all went different directions to fight their own battles. And then continue on.

Later that evening we are still motoring along, we tried to sail again several times but the wind was too fickle with its directions or speed to provide adequate speed to arrive in New Zealand before the ‘approaching front’ with high winds that we want to avoid. So motoring is the call being made by us.

We chatted on our evening SSB (radio) net with our friends boats behind us, and several hours after our fun, the found the rain system and had also resorted to engines. Made for a nice restful sleep and evening watch as there wasn’t much wind, the waves were moderating so it was just the dull roar of the diesel being burned to keep you awake. Staying awake with nothing to do is always a challenge for me.

Gone is the Champagne sailing, enter the day of the dry-suit. Its cold and rainy, at least most of me stays dry and warm with the layers under the dry-suit.

FIji to New Zealand Day4 – what to do today

With champagne sailing comes responsibility. Responsibility to not become bored. So what to do today Christine thought. She wasn’t seasick tho wasn’t feeling 100% but still needed to do something. Or so it seemed.

I suggested a quick trip up the mast to see what the view was like from up there. I can’t remember exactly how she replied but I think it was something about “letting her down”. Something like she is used to Me letting her down, but is sure this is the one time that I wouldn’t let her down. Now I’m not sure if she wanted to stay up on the mast or not – but I got the impression that was not going to be the choice of activities for the day.

She figured it was a good day for baking. So lots of cookies were baked, I think I have already finished the Snicker Doodles .. Gingerbread cookies are probably gong to warm the cold out of the living room in the near future.

Just another nice day of sailing along toward the destination. Lots of naps to the sweet sound of water passing by the hulls.

Another Egg McMuffin for breakfast, and some Cajun Chicken pasta kept the hunger pains away. Oh and lots of snacking fresh cookies too.

All well, still moving along.