We drink to him when trade winds blow and we curse him when storms and high winds beat us down.
Finally.....I cleared Customs, Immigration at Newcastle bound for NZ. I headed offshore into 25 knots SE with the forecast reporting the breeze dropping and backing to the East. Yeah right. No backing, no dropping here Mr weather god! I beat NE on starboard for most of the day and night until I could finally tack onto port and head in the general direction of NZ.
|Blowing dogs off chains|
The low pressure system intensified and it was howling a constant 50 knots with gusts much higher, torrential rain squalls with 2m seas on a 5m+ swell with the top metre blowing off as surf.
I had a full reefed main and flying a rag of a headsail since late afternoon. In hindsight had I known the front was so intense, I would have dropped the main and run under storm jib and Trysail, a lesson learned. Although at that point RW was behaving well and fully under control, plus I was still making great headway at around 8-10 knots (she is a beautiful seaboat). The plan was to ride the back of the Low pressure system as the Low curved back SE toward NZ giving me a lift on the way.
|Trysail, Storm Jib and Genoa doing their thing.|
After the boom was secured I ran off under jib and dropped the main, lashing all to the rail until morning when I could properly inspect for damage. My problem was we were covering a lot of ground at 10-12 knots and headed back toward Newcastle. After five hours the storm abated enough to inspect for damage. Pics were taken of the boom so I could enlarge on the laptop to do my Non-Destructive Technician (NDI) Tech inspection. I then made the difficult call to return to Newcastle for closer inspection of the boom.
|Safe back in Newcastle|
I sailed with my trysail, genoa and storm jib and four days later cleared Customs in Newcastle.
Result: Boom sustained damage that required the gooseneck to be reattached; what I though to be a crack in the boom turned out to be deep scaring. The Fridge died as a result of so much water inside the boat that it sloshed up over the fridge electrics. Two sail Battens were broken (now carry top 3 battens spares) and several sail slugs snapped off. I installed two additional bilge pumps port and starboard to deal with future water woes. Lessons learnt - after four days under trysail and storm jib happy to say very pleased with the performance I can get from these sails and will deploy earlier next time so I save my main and genoa. Will purchase a Heavy Weather jib and 110% jib for offshore work and a Code Zero for light winds.
|Quick lap of the Tasman Sea - 8 days!|