South Seas Adventure Leg 8-1998 Log 17
Nov 19, 1998 1730
35.47S, 174.25E Log 19,720 Baro 1008 falling rapidly, Air 76F, Water 62
Beam reaching up Whangarei River at 9 knots!
We never planned to sail to Whangarei, 12 miles
up a river from the ocean but
after getting a forecast for gale force headwinds it seems like an
interesting diversion to a safe harbor. It is also providing excellent
navigation practice as we surf past channel markers pushed by a 3 knot flood
tide, dodging oil tankers and trying not to stray out of the narrow dredged
channel. The surprising part are the rugged jagged mountains on the north
side of the channel that Carl insists are a spitting image of Moorea!
Tania capturing the head land entering Whangarei.
Our first offshore leg with our Leg 8 crew was
a real basher! For 40 miles we
tacked into 25-30 knot headwinds and 12' seas to the hole-in-the-wall
harbor entrance of Tutukaka, a sportfishing marina. Here we surfed into
narrow, rock-bordered channel with a substantial following sea and spent
The normal warm spring weather with SW winds has
been replaced this last week
with gale to storm force easterly and southeasterly winds. The yachts coming
down from Fiji and Noumea have taken a battering. One yacht has been
dismasted, lost their radio and is being driven toward Australia by gale
force easterlies reaching 50 knots. Another is limping along with a damaged
rudder and still another yacht is taking water after a halyard broke and
wrapped around the prop.
Two days ago an English couple on a 45' ketch,
Woody Goose were so exhausted
from handsteering after their autopilot failed that they anchored on
a lee shore north of the Bay of Islands to get some sleep. When they awoke
their anchor had drug and they were in the surf. Anita Dean died trying
to get ashore through the surf but her husband, Roger survived. Yesterdays
paper had photos of the boat on the beach and said a local maori chief had
declared a tapu on the shipwreck, after looters started ransacing the yacht.
Local fisherman have organized the donation of heavy equipment and labor
to drag Woody Goose out of the surf.
Yet another intensifying low, this one 989 millibars
is bearing down on New
Zealand with gale force SE winds forecast, so we have delayed our plan of
sailing overnight out to Great Barrier Island, decided this morning to check
out Whangarei, let the storm pass, and hopefully in three days ride the
normal SW winds offshore to the Barrier.
Once again we have a first-class crew!
43 from Muscat, Oman is a geologist for Shell who has lived all
over the world and is originally from Delft, Holland. She met her husband
37 in Venezuela where they both worked for Shell and just
got married a year ago. They love sailing and skiing and are saving for
cruising boat, possibly a Hallberg-Rassy 39 and dream of sailing to
countries where they can sail and ski. They think New Zealand really fits
Tania and Marcel.
63 now has tied the record of Al Maher and Elliot Finkle as
this is his fourth passage aboard Mahina Tiare. This guy loves adventure,
now that he's retired his idea of a good time is help as delivery crew to
exotic places aboard a Hatteras 63. He brought his lovely wife
62 with him for the first time. Ellen, a self-described
dilettante just retired as a speech pathologist in the Portland School
District and Carl and Ellen enjoy sailing their Orion 27 out of Rose City
on the Columbia River.
Carl and Ellen.
58 is a financial analyst from Seattle. She and her
59 are from Seattle where they sail their J-35C and dream of
retiring and spending more time sailing, possibly on an H-R 39.
Nov. 28, 1998 0800
36.50S 174.44E, Log 19,836, Baro 1005, Air 68F, Water 61 (Brrr!!)
Westhaven Marina, Auckland, New Zealand
Webster defines synergy as "combined action
or energy greater in total effect
than the sum of their effect". That is an accurate description for
our Leg 8 crew!
The gales kept us in Whangarei two nights, before
setting out on an overnight
sail down the coast, only to turn back after a joint crew decision. Something
about prudence and comfort regarding tacking into headseas left by the gale.
The waiting was worth it, though! On Tuesday the
wind shifted to SW, blowing
off the land at 15-25 knots, so we had a fast reach and exciting conditions
for deploying the Galerider drogue and towing warps off the stern.
The Galerider really works! It is quick to deploy
and you can feel the boat
slow by 3-4 knots soon after it stretches the 350' of 3/4" NER MegaBraid.
have gotten quick at retrieving it, even with sails up in rough conditions.
Carl standing by to deploy the galerider.
This time Amanda luffed up while Dorm, Carl and
Marcel pulled like crazy,
without ever stopping the boat. If we were short-handed we would furl the
headsail and even temporarily drop the main to make it easier to retrieve.
Galerider drogue in action.
Besides the Galerider, we hoisted the storm staysail
on it's removable inner
stay, set the running backs and furled the genoa.
As we approached Waiheke Island, Carl spotted two
enormous sloops on the
horizon, speeding toward us. Young America and Spirit of Rhode Island, New
York Yacht Club's America's Cup trial horse boats looked sharp as they
crossed our bows.
Young America out training in Auckland.
We anchored for a couple of hours off Waiheke Island,
got an outrageous Maori
guy named "Black Mac" to show us around, where vineyards and olive
have replaced dairy farming, then motored five miles to Rangitoto Island,
safer anchorage for the forecast 35 knot winds.
Wednesday morning dawned brightly, so after our
final class session on
programming and use of the Furuno weatherfax, the crew all made the 2.5
roundtrip climb to the caldera of the extinct volcano.
The crew approaching Kawau Island.
When the anchor was up it was spitting and gusting,
and on entering Auckland
Harbour it was reached 35 knots with rain so hard we couldn't see across
Our last night fun dinner was at a local Indian
restaurant. I love hearing
our crew make plans to meet and sail with each other once they get home.
Carl and Ellen were excited to be off to exploring N.Z followed by
five sunny days on Rarotonga. Dorm and Sandy are winging their way to visit
their daughter and her family near Brisbane and Marcel and Tania have to
return to the corporate life in Oman. We will miss them all. It seems like
every year we just get better and more focused crews!
Amanda and I are headed for the beach and up north
to visit her grandmother.
It's a great day to leave the boat as the winds are 45 knots here in
Westhaven Marina, and gusting to 81 knots just outside the harbor entrance.
Sadly, our INMARSAT alarm just went off for the second time this morning,
asking any boats within 200 miles of the US Yacht Freya who just triggered
406 EPIRB alarm to divert to lend assistance. The position given, east of
Whangarei puts them in what looks like 60-70 knot NE winds on the weatherfax.
Another INMARSAT alarm was for a Mayday received over VHF for a yacht also
distress off Whangarei. No doubt these are both cruising boats planning
clear customs in Whangarei.
The newspaper also has had stories this week of
the rollover, dismasting and
loss of two crew through the pilothouse windows of Janamarie, friends of
Amanda's who were returning to NZ from Australia. La Nina weather has not
been kind to yachties this year.
On Monday we leave on Leg 9. Yes, I know it's not
in the brochure, but when I
was in Sweden, a lovely young Swedish family convinced me to add a separate
leg, just for them. It will be fun to see how Ellinor, age 6 and Daniel,
5 adjust to cruising and to see how much Swedish we can learn as neither
the kids speak English. Let's just hope the storm force winds ease off!
Stay tuned for more exciting adventures
in the South Pacific aboard Mahina Tiare.
To the next log entry Leg 9:
One day away from Auckland and the end of our