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, 23 March 2016

North East 40 knots, gusting 55 knots

The first storm of the Autumn has arrived her in North Island. It has been forecast for a few days so we decided to move off our mooring and anchor in the shelter of the land near the town of Russell. Our mooring is usually pretty sheltered but it's not a great spot in strong NE winds, particularly when the flood tide causes the water to ramp up into and uncomfortable wind-against-tide chop.

The anchor is buried deep in soft mud with lots of chain out, we don't have boats to windward of us (always a worry if they start dragging their anchors) and there is plenty of space behind us but the wind has been building all day. Last night we had fairly disturbed sleep as the gusts made Maunie heel over and the wind whistled through the rigging but the forecast for tonight is a lot worse:

Gale warning.
Northeast 30 knots gusting 40 knots rising to 40 knots gusting 55 knots this evening. Sea becoming very rough this evening. Poor visibility in rain

55 knots is the top end of a Storm Force 10 on the Beaufort Scale.

So this afternoon we hauled the dinghy aboard to lash it down on the foredeck - we had it braced with the spinnaker pole alongside the boat but the gust were still trying to lift it.

The only upside in sitting, trapped, aboard in this weather has been that we've been able to get on with lots of admin jobs and Graham has been working on the watermaker pump to solve a problem of low output.

We'd already discovered that the fault was a damaged valve (after quite a struggle to take the pump apart) so a set of spares were sent to us by the excellent UK agents and the watermaker is now back to full health.

The damaged valve
So, a few more jobs ticked off the list and we just hope to be able to get some sleep tonight as Maunie veers from side to side as the gusts tumble off the hill ahead of us. Out in the main Bay of Islands the automatic weather station is reporting gusts of 45 knots at the moment but we're getting more like 35 so we're hoping it won't get much worse here. The GPS anchor alarm is set and Graham plans to sleep up in the pilothouse to be ready for action if it's needed - hopefully not!

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