Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Pondering the weather forecasts

We remain in Cook’s Bay as we study the weather charts for the week ahead; those reading this in the UK are probably doing the same, wondering when the heat-wave will end! Here the conditions here changed markedly yesterday, starting with a brilliant rainbow across the anchorage and some persistent rain in the afternoon.

The wind increased dramatically, with big gusts rolling down the valley at the head of the bay, so we decided to set a second anchor, for peace of mind. This was probably totally unnecessary as our main anchor is very good at keeping a grip on things but it was an excellent practice exercise for really bad weather and it also made Graham study the state of the second anchor’s rope and chain and replace the rather chafed splice between the two. As it happened last night was very gusty so the extra anchor stopped us worrying, though neither of us slept well due to the noise of the wind in the rigging.

Anchor deployment completed, our neighbours on a Brixham yacht Yindee Plus we about to come aboard for early evening drinks when we got a call from Stormvogel approaching the entrance to the reef pass. They’d had a very brisk sail across from Papeete, in up to 35 knots of wind, so had decided to come back here rather than risking an overnight passage to one of the islands to the north west. Just at a crucial moment, the ‘engine overheating’ alarm sounded and they turned away from the pass, making 4.5 knots under bare mast alone. Peter and Graham had a quick comparison of ideas over the radio and then we stood by, ready to motor out with a tow rope if necessary, whilst Peter undertook the fiddly job of replacing the water pump impeller (which had been renewed as part of the engine service only a week before). He discovered the old one had disintegrated, having somehow been starved of water supply, but we were all relieved when the new impeller restored the engine and Stormvogel anchored near us just as darkness fell. This morning Graham helped Peter and Heidi with the engine; the bits of broken rubber impeller were still somewhere in its cooling circuit and had to be removed so they used Maunie’s dinghy pump to push water in the reverse direction round the circuit to try to flush it clean. All were very happy when the bits were neatly caught in a sieve by Peter as they flowed out of the oil cooler and the engine is now back together and running.

Today the wind has dropped again but the outlook for the next week doesn’t look too friendly – the synoptic chart shows stronger winds with some rain and early next week looks particularly rough:

This is the chart for Tuesday (you can click on it to make it larger) and we are at around 17 degrees south, 150 degrees west. The yellow patch approaching from the south west is making us a bit twitchy.

We are therefore in something of a quandary as the anchorages in the next islands we want to visit, Huahine and Raiatea, are deep and not brilliantly sheltered. So at the moment it looks as though we’ll hunker down here for a few more days, knowing that the anchorage is secure and that there are things to do ashore, rather than risk some uncertain nights of anchoring in unknown territory.

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