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.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Team StormMaunie takes first place at Vava'u Regatta!

Winners of the 2013 Vava'u Regatta (Fancy Dress Division)
Right to Left: Little Red Riding Hood; Robin Hood, Motherhood and a Fine Specimen of Manhood
We were delighted with our first prize at last night's prize-giving ceremony, even if it was for the best fancy dress team! The prize was pretty good – a free haul-out, pressure wash and five days on the hard-standing when we arrive in Opua, New Zealand. Stormvogel have already decided to do their lift-out at another port so generously passed the prize onto Maunie.
As for the final race, well we did pretty well. There was a very good breeze (around 25 knots) for the return passage race so the conditions suited a heavy boat. We managed a very good start, neck and neck with fellow Southern Cross Net boat Ithica, and began to pull out a good lead as Stormvogel touched 9 knots. On the final run towards home, though, a very well-sailed (and much lighter) Beneteau hoisted a spinnaker and overtook us. The finish was slightly novel – a crew member had to get ashore to a waterfront bar to sign off before each boat was deemed to have finished. Any means to get the crew member ashore was allowed so we brought Stormvogel close to the shore and Peter bravely jumped overboard and swam for it! We came a close second and Peter swam clutching a a waterproof bag containing some cash so he could enjoy a cold beer as just rewards.
Internet is still pretty unreliable here but we hope to be able to post some photos before we leave.
Talking of leaving, we are looking at the weather forecast and think our time in Tonga will be cut short by a week or two. The long term forecast shows a reasonably intense low pressure system building over Vanuatu to the north west of Fiji and it's heading roughly our way. Close to its centre there could be winds of around 40-50 knots and, if nothing else, it'll bring rain and squally conditions here by the middle of next week. Meanwhile, there's a nice looking weather window for the next few days to had towards New Zealand. So, pending a few more reviews of the weather charts, it looks as though we'll clear out of Tonga tomorrow afternoon and set sail for NZ on Thursday morning so as to get south of the nasty weather.
We'll keep you informed of our plans...