Last night's sunset
Our position as at 09.30 (local) Friday (20.30 UTC, 24th):
31 degrees 11 minutes south, 176 degrees 41 minutes east
We've had about 30 hours of motorsailing in a very light NE breeze which occasionally picked up enough to stop the engine for a couple of hours' blissful silence. Today, though, the wind has moved round to the NE and we are sailing again at a stately 5 knots; we're hoping it might go a bit more behind us so that we can fly the Parasailor but otherwise we're very happy. The sea is calm and the sky clear blue and we have 270 miles to go; we hope to make it into Opua on Sunday afternoon.
Highlights of yesterday included Dianne's baking session – delicious flapjack – and Graham's macaroni cheese. We're trying to use up our flour, oats, rice and pasta as they will get confiscated by the biosecurity people when we arrive in New Zealand. Also on the banned list are honey, fresh vegetables (we wish we had some!), eggs, cheese and fresh meat (also now sadly absent from our fridge).
Our weather route has given us a pretty much direct course to Opua rather than the normal dog-leg west to approach NZ from due north. This has saved us a few dozen miles and kept us out of the adverse current and has been made possible by a unusually stable high pressure south of us. This is slowly moving east, which is why the wind changed direction last night and we will hit a small front, probably tomorrow, which will bring a bit of rain and possibly some SW head winds for a short time. A boat that arrived yesterday reported on the SSB net that the temperature was down to 11 degrees C in the morning but otherwise they were very pleased to have arrived.
The newly-discovered 'New Zealand Triangle' which seems to destroy autopilots on yachts has claimed yet another victim. Anico. a German Halberg Rassy which left Minerva with us and is now about 30 miles behind, reports that their electrical autopilot has failed so when there is no wind to make their Windpilot work, they have to take it in turns to hand-steer when motoring. Regina and Michael sounded pretty tired on the SSB net this morning so will be delighted that this breeze will enable the to hand over steering duties to the Windpilot. We think that the boatyards in NZ have clubbed together so install some Blofeldt-inspired device to create these problems so that they have lots to do when we arrive!
Counting the hours.....