Sailing around New Zealand

Emily is sailing solo around New Zealand on her 32 foot yacht Honey, from Lyttelton south down the east coast, around the bottom of Stewart Island, up the west coast of the South and North Islands and down the east coast back to Lyttelton. The whole adventure is expected to take 3 months. This blog will provide updates as I travel (when I have mobile reception to upload).

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Motoring up to George Sound (21 February)

It had rained hard overnight, but as the morning dawned the rain lifted and it was beautiful and calm at the mooring. The forecast was for N 25 becoming SW 25 knots in the morning, so I wondered if it was windier outside the sound – that should make for a great sail up to George Sound. I left the mooring and suddenly it started raining hard but only on Honey – oops, I had reversed the back stay into an overhanging tree which was obscured by the bimini! With no further mishaps, I motored up the still calm sound with fish jumping in the clear water. I was quickly out at the heads and turning NE towards Caswell Sound and George Sound beyond. But there was no wind at all – the Northerly had died away, but where was the SW? I motored towards Caswell Sound, looking to the SW expecting to see an approaching front. As I approached Caswell Sound it had still not arrived and I thought about ducking in to take a look at Caswell while I waited for the winds to arrive, but then decided to carry on motoring out to sea – I was then in the best place for when they did finally arrive. I had no wind the whole way up to George Sound, bar the last mile when a stiff easterly was coming out of the sound and straight on the nose – no great sail for me today. As I turned into George Sound, the wind strengthened to about 30 knots and came straight at me on the nose – I presume this was a day breeze, but I'm a little mystified that it was coming out of the fiord and not heading into it like a usual day breeze. As my speed dropped to less than 2 knots, I pulled out the headsail to get some wind assist to the motor and tacked in at a slightly faster speed. The day breeze in George Sound usually reduces further into the sound, but there was no sign of this happening. Rather than keep beating into the wind and moor up at Alice Falls at the head of the sound, I stopped at Anchorage Cove. This was two thirds of the way into the sound and sheltered, although it was still gusting into the anchorage which made for some tricky maneovering. There was a fixed bow line joined to a stern line, the depth was only a little over 2m and it was a tight spot. I managed to grapple hook the bow line, zoom back to the helm to reverse Honey around – a gust almost had her landed on the island, and throw a line over the back. It was lovely and sunny and warm, but the sandflies were out in force – this doesn't make it easy when its too hot to be completely covered up, but you need to be to avoid hundreds of bites! Once I was sweltering, I retreated into Honey and busied myself with some chores inside.

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