Awaiting the Low

The accepted tactic for sailing up the West Coast of the North Island is to wait for a low to pass through (from East to West) and then ride up the backside of the low as the Southwesterly winds fill in behind it. We’ve got a pretty good forecast for this scenario, with a low blowing through this Wed-Thurs.

As it’s bad luck to leave on a Friday, we’ll probably wait until shortly after Midnight, and leave Nelson Harbor in the wee hours of the morning (like 1AM) on Saturday. This way, we’ll have the advantage of covering the protected waters of the Abel Tasman Bay during the dark hours, and poke our nose into the Tasman Sea at sunrise, passing Farewell Spit with a whole day of daylight to get accustomed to being at sea again. The Southwesterlies should hold out well for a day or two–if all goes according to plan–and then die out to light as we near the top of the North Island. All in all, it’s about 420 miles from Nelson Harbor to the top of the North Island, so we should expect to be at sea for 3 days before turning the corner, and then another day or so of coasting until we tuck into the flat water of the Bay of Islands.

We’ve tentatively secured a private dock up the winding KeriKeri river, deep within the bay, where Privateer can lay alongside for the remainder of her days in NZ (until around April-May). It looks like a nice peaceful spot and we’ll check it out when we get there!

We are excited and a bit nervous about Taz’s first sail. It will be a good sea trial for Taz, out there on the Tasman Sea! He’s a West Coast sailor right from the get-go. We’re hoping to learn as much as we can on this sail, so we know what to bring with us on our continuing journey to Vanuatu, Australia, and beyond, when we really leave civilization behind again! The sail up the West coast of the North Island will be short enough to be manageable, but not too long, and exposed enough to really put up a solid sea-trial, rather than just dinking aound in the bays.

Our last days here in Nelson are filled with boat provisioning, systems-checks and re-checks, re-tuning the rig, inspecting gear, re-examining offshore procedures, and keeping a sharp eye on the forecast. We are mostly ready to go save for a few minor chores. Our family is returning to the sea!!

–Nelson Harbor, Jan 5, 2016

Leave a Reply