1999 New Zealand - published newpaper story PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
1999 New Zealand - published newpaper story
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9

We all take a turn steering for a while so the others can eat. My turn at the helm and a ship appears off the port bow. Our second ship since leaving Newcastle and I spot them both. I think the other guys are jealous. The lights are not clear enough to be able to see its nav lights and so are unable to tell which way it is going.

Charley calls them on the VHF, Ivan turns on our Nav lights and I shine the torch on the sails to highlight ourselves. They can't see us and refuse to tell us their ships name, but by now I can see that they are slipping away to port. Even amongst all this there is humour. Every now and then someone will say something and crack the other two up. Not like a few days ago when we all laughed until we were fit to burst though.

There is an undercurrent of tension. The humour just discharges this occasionally. I get Ivan with the same joke that caught Charley a few days earlier. Charley has a great laugh as well at Ivan's expense, as he saw it coming. During the afternoon we have a bit of a conference and decide to pump up the inflatable dinghy, a dinghy only used for getting to shore when anchored.

It will give us some added security combined with the life raft. The wind builds through the afternoon. The wind is now solidly out of the south and the swell is rising by the hour. We had looked at the cracks and discovered that they ran the full length of the welds. Only the rudder shaft itself and the thick solid steel keelson are stopping it from coming right off. The inflatable dinghy is trying to blow away.

The wind has picked up another notch. Fortunately it is fully dark now, so I am saved the bother of looking at the waves and worrying. Every other wave hits the side of the boat with enough force the shake the rig and send a shudder through the hull. We are all conscious of the skeg and how much is holding it on.

It is difficult to steer the boat and take it easy on the steering as well. To effectively steer you need to be able to load up the steering as needed, and this is just what we mustn't do. The bilge pump seems to be handling it for the time being. Not having to lift the water and further than the sink has helped.

We are still steering a northeasterly course and running much to high. We are already 40 miles above the top line of the island and getting worse all the time. For every mile we head east we are making two north. If only we could steer effectively we could steer a bit tighter to the wind. It might not be the exact course we want, but at this angle we will miss the top of the island by many miles.

Getting further from New Zealand doesn't seem like a good idea at the moment. Ivan has the best wet weather gear and opts to steer. We now only have a mainsail up on the third reef. The forward motion of the boat is comfortable, but we are still doing 5 to 6 knots and the strain on the skeg is very obvious. Charley is a bit tense and tells us we need to slow down again.

I decide to go down into the boat and tidy up a bit. Really I want to get out of the wind and check on the skeg again. Charley is down there and between checking the bilge and the skeg spends some time snoozing. I make a comfortable nest on the lounge in the aft saloon cabin. I am cursing not bringing my own torch with me.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2007 World Adventure Tours. All rights reserved.
Service designed and offered by MIKELO Webservices.