Friday, March 8, 2019

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Testing times and a visit from a butterfly.

The last 24 hours have been hard, luckily we have kept our cool but that is all the positive news I have.

The western track clearly is not paying. And while the models show a huge patch of light of winds offshore our competitors continue to sail on at 8 knots towards the mark, with only Arbitare of late being slowed down.

We sailed yesterday in a Canterbury sea breeze and then transitioned into a the gradient westerly before dark, this built to 25 knots and we had fast down wind running. It then left, without a good bye, leaving us a sloppy sea way and no wind. We have had our main down for 4 hours, both of us taking a very uncomfortable sleep.

Rob this morning found a visiting butterfly in the cockpit and after we both looked at her beauty the wind returned. Currently doing 4 knots speed of the ground at the mark.



Monday, March 4, 2019

Maybe the tide will turn soon

Another cold, but also damp night, the boat constantly attacked by dolphin torpedos.

We are now sailing in a north west breeze 340 M. Our boat speed is OK between 4-6 knots. We are back on the tracker, so you can see we are definitely on our own.

The boat offshore continue to make good speed, however, Motorboat II the closest east-west in that group has slowed down with a speed over the ground of 4 knots between 0700-0800. We are hoping this is a sign of things to come for this group, as they bend in towards the country they too will need to transition to the new breeze. Time will tell.

Really looking forward to Napier especially the Ocean Spa!


Sunday, March 3, 2019

1800 hour position report up date

Boat, Distance to Cape Kidnappers

Krakatoa II,445.51
Motorboat II,447.54
Gale Force,458.12

The boats to the east continue to have a good day, but they have yet to transition to the new breeze. Time will tell if we have read the tea leaves wrong, I would think about the 0500 position report. We should be in better breeze and they should be starting to feel the effects of the area of light airs that we crossed today.

All well on the Coppelia, Rob is asleep and the mighty Marina our trusty pilot is keeping up going in the right direction while I type this to you.


Midday report

Venerdi toast me sourdough, cheese, salami and red pepper relish toasted sarnies - delicious.

Currently in 5 knots of onshore breeze and 1 knot of favorable current 6nm SSE of Cape Saunders.


Morning position March 3

Boat Distance to finish - straight line
Titanium 508.31
Coppelia 511.91
Katana 528.88
Motorboat II 529.09
Gale Force 538.94
Krakatoa II 543.93
Arbitare 547.22
A cold night. We were the western most boat in the Foveau Strait and after some very nervous times and having to sail to the west of a group of islands as we could not make it to the east of them due to the tide, we hooked into the westerly. The others were to leeward of the island. Titanium in sight, they passed us around 4 am


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Message from: Coppelia


All our tracker is not working at the moment, but do not be alarmed we are still alive.

I will send the 0700 and 1900 scheds to you.



Saturday, February 23, 2019

interesting weather

Yesterday we did more sail changes before breakfast than on the rest of the leg in total.

We gybed late on the evening of the 21st and headed to sea under zero, the wind increased and we went to the JT, ten though a front on to the #3, then # 1 and finally the make the set complete the # 2 as the wind started to increase. And so did the waves with giant lumps of cold Southern Ocean water at least 5 m tall roll through the course and make life a little unbalanced,.

Another front with rain in the early hours of the 22nd, where Sally was on deck in the pouring rain and 30 knts. The back ground wind speed continued to increase until we went to #3. We all thought of how long it would be on the wind at this speed.

THEN, the wind left. Just evaporated and we have spent the last 3 hours with Katana at the mercy of the waves. Finally we are out of it sailing down the line directly to Puysegur in a wind direction which is not in any forecast. Downstairs it feels like running with a bad driver as we roll along.

So Sara
- we did our best, got around the light on left, crossed the fleet to get to the next shift, UNDERLAID the mark, but unlike our Tuesday night where the layline is 400m ours is 200nm and weather seems to have decided it is not layline time.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Heading South by East

As I said yesterday I have had the pleasure of listening to the sea area reports and the key take away is that we are going to see a south east change sooner or later. South east is not usual wind in NZ, and on the west coast, the leewards side in these conditions it will bring many an unusual effects as the wind waves around the Southern Alps.

The difference between the wind close to the coast and further offshore will be marked and for us we are now pretty sure a fairly coast course will be taken. This makes Rob pretty happy as sailing the west coast of the South Island last time with snow capped mountains was a highlight.

The plan for today is lunch, sail into a series of clouds ahead which we expect to be a change in wind direction, gybe kite up ... simple


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Storm preparations

This is the forth time Rob and I have sailed down the West Coast in Coppelia. The first 2 trips in 2011 (RNI) and 2012 (RNZ) were rough, terrible in fact. So as we meander down the coast, moving between rivers of wind up to and including 8 knots of wind speed, we wonder when we are going to have to "man up" and deal with a good thrashing.

2011 18 of the 38 boats that start the RNI finished, most withdrew around where we are now, with Matt Woodley loosing the rig of Mr Roosevelt about here.

2012 we had 70-90knots of wind and sea state phenomenal - waves larger than 14m.

So today we have started preps for such situations. Rob and I both have new dry smocks for the South Island and we have cut the necks so they fit, dishes have been done, and the Coppelia made generally ready for sea.

I then listened to the MetService Coastal weather on SSB. At the moment it looks like the worse we will see is South West 35 knots in sea area Miford. But gusts of course will be 50% more.

Take care out there. For those of you wondering why we are not going faster.... this is as fast as we go!



Message from: Coppelia

Happiness is Expedition saying the sail you have up is the sail you should be using.


Leg 2 day 3 morning SITREP

Things we are currently grateful on the Coppelia:

1) Our decision to stay close to the rhumbline has worked out OK. Those who pushed further west have done well, but luckily we have not ended up too far behind.

2) Our SSB is working again. A very minor crimp issue with the new antenna was sorted yesterday and we are back on the air.

3) Steve Ashley who is bringing us a new pump for the toilet. Thankfully the situation with current pump is not too grim - ie it can still be used, but needs to be looked after.

4) Dry sleeping - yip we have both enjoyed many hours of shut eye in the past 24 hours that has been in dry clothes, something that may not be so common at the end of the week.

5) You guys - our followers, it amazes both Rob and I that anyone is watching.

Plan for today, toasted cheese sandwiches, coffee and a catch, before assessing the weather data and deciding where to go. A quick glance of the horizon revealed Katana is still to leeward.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Jack Sparrow adventure

In one of the Pirates of the Carribean movies, Captain Jack is being chased by Chinese pirates. They get into a whirl pool and a swept about out of control.

That is how this morning started. No pirates involved but the tidal race between Columbia and Pandora Banks. These are the areas of breaking water you see when standing in the car park at Cape Reinga.

We cross the top of the county in fickle conditions, and I headed to sleep at Cape Reinga. The fickle conditions became, becalmed in 4 -6 knots of current want to pull us over the Pandora Bank.

THEORY says you won't be pulled over the shoal as the current will be less in the shallow water. hmmmm I love theory as you all know, but neither Rob or I was keen to try.

We tried to get free of the grasps of the south moving jet, struggling in 3-4 knots of wind to create some north movement to enable us to exit to the west of Pandora Bank. The waves were large, east coast waves, west coast waves and of course all stood up by the current and the shallow water.

As there was little wind the rig was taking a hammering, the sails thrown around, crashing in to the rig. After all I could take we pulled down the number one headsail and put up the much smaller number 3. Very small for the conditions, but did the trick with damaging itself or me!

Rest of the day has been crusiey. Sailing in company with Katana. Only issues was Rob's beloved SSB decided not to want to cooperate this evening, after using of our emergency antenna to complete our position report, the issue - a brand new crimp as found and replaced so we are back on the air.

More of the same tomorrow, walking line of being east to not sail more miles than we need and being west to stay in the breeze. And of course keep our eyes open for the Kraken and any Chinese Pirates!