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).

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

From Kenepuru to Queen Charlotte Sound (14-15 March)

It was soon after midday when Honey and I headed away from Chunda Cove, with all clothes and perishables stowed back on board. A breeze had just started to come up and we sailed under the headsail out of the bay and across to Schnapper Point, where the wind reduced to a very gentle puff and Honey drifted to the start of the Kenepuru Sound. Rounding into Hikapu Reach and the start of the Pelorus Sound, the wind picked up to about 20-25 knots head on, and I started motoring. The wind turbine started whirring – it was obviously generating, although something wasn't quite right – it wasn't feeding any charge into the battery and I couldn't lock it (which I do when the wind gets too strong). Also the revs on the engine weren't steady – they kept dropping and sounding as if the engine would cut out. The engine obviously wasn't getting enough fuel. I turned back into the Kenepuru, where it was calmer and I could reach Tim on the mobile, and we talked through the engine problem. This was the first good run of the engine I had done since we serviced her and there was an air blockage stopping the fuel to the engine. I cracked one of the bleed screws and got rid of the air, and she sounded much better. I motored Honey up and down part of Kenepuru Sound, and happy that her engine was running well, I turned to head back up into Pelorus. And then the revs dropped again. I hadn't got rid of all the air and again turned the lift pump over until only fuel was being pumped through the line. And then finally I headed into Pelorus Sound, motoring through Hikapu Reach. Honey's engine didn't sound fantastic, but she was running ok, I hoped if there was just a little air left that it might clear itself. Rounding Turn Point, I unfurled the headsail and motor sailed almost to Tawero Point where the wind picked up and I cut the motor. When Honey's engine restarted, it still didn't sound right, so I headed for a mooring in Bulwer, one of the outer bays in Pelorus, where I would take a better look in the morning.

In the morning, I changed the wiring on the wind turbine, removing the regulator which we had installed, hoping that would solve the problem. But there was no wind to check if it worked. And then I looked at Honey's engine. I found that there was air leaking through the O-ring between the primary fuel filter and the bulb. A quick discussion with Tim, and he said I really should remove the bulb to deal with the leak, and if necessary replace the fuel filter if that was causing the problem. This would mean bleeding the fuel lines, and I was rather loathe to do this as it had been very difficult to do the other day and I didn't want to be stranded out in Bulwer if I had no success. I drained and removed the fuel bulb, the filter looked fine but there was muck on the O-ring. Replacing the fuel bulb with a new O-ring, it proved to be a quick and easy job to fill the primary filter with fuel using the lift pump (perhaps we'd had so much difficulty previously because of the air leak). With all the air out of the fuel lines, the engine started with no problem and ran well when I motored Honey out of the bay (and I have had no problems with it since). Feeling quite pleased with myself that I had managed to diagnose and solve the problem, I headed out of Bulwer bound for Queen Charlotte Sound at 11am.

The wind picked up and I found that my re-wiring of the wind turbine hadn't worked, something to sort later. When I was out of Bulwer and had turned towards the end of Forsyth Island, I raised the main and unfurled the headsail. The wind was gusty, typical Sounds wind, calm one moment and 20-30 knots the next moment. I had my first round-up as I passed the West Entry Point outside Port Ligar, one of many I had that day – I was over-powered with the amount of sail up. I reefed the main and carried on at a sedate pace of 4 knots, rounding Culdaff Point at the end of Forsyth Island. With Honey's speed dropping to around 3 knots, it was back up to full sail and I carried on passing a few metres from Titi Island, close enough to hear the birds chirping on the island – it was beautiful. The coastal shipping report gave a speed of 15 knots at Stephens Island and 32 knots at Brothers Island in Cook Strait, and with a line of wind approaching beyond Titi, I reefed again. The wind picked up to about 25 knots and it was lovely sailing – nice winds, no swell, and Honey's speed quickly picked up to 6 knots, then to 7 and 8 knots. This was the Marlborough Sounds, what could go wrong? I had to remind myself not to be complacent. I covered the ground in no time past Cape Lambert and onto Cape Jackson. With the wind picking up to 30 knots and another round-up, I thought it best to put a second reef in the main and partly furl in the headsail, particularly as I didn't want any round-ups while I negotiated the gap between Cape Jackson and the old lighthouse, and the tidal currents around the headland. Around Cape Jackson, with a fantastic view of Cook Strait and the North Island, the wind appeared to drop and Honey was back up to full sail. And then a 35 knot gust hit and another good round-up. I chuckled to myself about being complacent as I reefed the main back in and partly furled the headsail. The gusts kept coming, up to 40 knots with willy-walls (with the wind turbine without its 'lock' working, whirring so I thought it was going to fly off). Down to 2 reefs in the main and the headsail fully furled away and I was still rounding-up. When I had replaced some of the sail slides for the main, I had mistakenly looped the third reefing line around one of the sail slides – I wasn't going to be able to get the third reef in easily. But I got it eventually and sailed into the outer Queen Charlotte Sound with 3 reefs in the main, no headsail and at 7 knots. Until I was between Ship Cove and Motuara Island, when my speed quickly dropped to about 2 knots. The wind was coming in gusts – nothing then about 25 knots – back to 2 reefs and partially unfurling the headsail, and as I passed the southern end of Ship Cove it was back to full sail. Sailing in the Sounds sure keeps you on your toes! The wind died as I passed Resolution Bay and I motored a short distance, until it picked up outside Endeavour Inlet, and then died again off Kurakura Point. I pulled the sails down and motored into Cuttle Cove, a lovely little cove in the north eastern corner of Bay of Many Coves. There was another yacht in the bay, tied to the club mooring. I dropped anchor and pulled Honey's stern in, tying it to a tree on the western side of the cove. The couple on the yacht, Mike and Vicky, were impressed and when they saw I was on my own invited me over for a drink and then dinner. They were in Queen Charlotte Sound on their honeymoon, having sailed over from Mana earlier in the week – they were just coming up to their 1 week anniversary and had a number of useful tips on getting married. With a good catch of blue cod on board, they were eager to eat it all so they could catch their quota again the next day – I was only too happy to help – it was a yummy meal, the blue cod crumbed with corn on the cob. Then it was farewells and I went back for a good sleep on Honey after another very good day on the water.
Beautiful Titi Island
View from Cape Jackson across Cook Strait (between gusts)

1 comment:

  1. That's a great effort Emily and good work on the engine too