Privateer World Voyage Journal

***NEW JOURNAL PAGE for 2015-16***

Monday, October 26th, 2015

***Our journal page has changed.  For the latest  journals & photos please click below and you will be re-directed to our new S/V Logbook site:

Thank you for following us–enjoy the armchair sailing!!

A few pics of our trip

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Hi from Nelson, NZ everyone!!  Privateer is snug in her new slip, and Kelsey and I have been on the road and camping “in the bush” as they say…

I’ll be posting many photos and more ocean journals soon, so stay posted.  Thanks eveyone who has been following along!

We are thrilled to have made it all the way across the Pacific, leg one of he Great voyage.  We are already planning for leg 2–the Indian Ocean, New Zealand to Cape Town, Africa.

Here are a few photos for now–bear with me–I’m not good at technology.  But we do have a good internet connection finally!

Sailing in the South Pacific is so amazing!

Departing Anaho Bay, Marquesas at sunset. Outward bound for Eiao.

Kelsey's grown a lot bigger since this photo was taken. She uses the machete to hack into the coconuts we find on the beach!

More to come soon!

October 28, 2014 Nelson

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Safe in port.  All checked in and in our slip!  Sleep now.

October 27, 2014 Gales

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

October 27, 2014
40 46′ S
173 11′ E
SOG: 5.8 kts

We are closing in on Nelson fast!  Just a few more miles to go–we are sailing along close-hauled in 20-25 knots of SE winds.

Last night we weathered major gale in the Tasman.  It picked up to a sustained 41 knots for about 6 hours.  No damage to the boat except a bent stanchion from a particularly nasty wave.  Privateer did a great job keeping us safe and steady.  We ambled through extreme wave action at a comfortable 5 knots under storm trysail alone.  Never surfed or buried the bow.  It was pretty wild stuff!  I couldn’t see anything at the helm except a blizzard of spray, so I just turned on the LED spreader lights and lit the boat up like a christmas tree, and monitored the AIS.  In the morning the gale raged on and I thought I could discern the mountains of the North Island in the distance, but they turned out to be huge looming waves.  What a way to come into NZ!

Later this morning we had a 40-mile sleigh-ride down the Tasman Bay, surfing at 10 knots in easy 25 knot NWerlies!  “It was all supposed to be like this” I told my Dad!  But soon enough the ocean decided to give us one more slap in the face, and what I can only describe as a rapidly moving “Haboob” came out of nowhere, killed our wind, and sent us a gale hard on the nose from the opposite direction, and all the while we were trying to round the Farewell Sandspit against a few knots of current!  We scrambled to prepare for the haboob, shortening sail etc, but it was too late to put any foul weather gear on or set the monitor.  It came in minutes, a peculiar wall of white mushrooming clouds.  As I hand-steered close-hauled around the spit in order for a safe 3 mile pass, sheets of spray soaked the last set of dry woolies I had left.  The ocean was showing us who’s boss after we felt all salty for weathering the gale!

We are making a beeline for Nelson now and have to clear customs tonight.  No rest for the weary!  I’ll probably sleep for a few days and put up an entry when we get settled in.

Privateer is a bitchin’ ride and I can’t believe we’ve sailed her all the way from AK to NZ!!!!!!!!       WHOOOO  HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

October 26, 2014 Tempestuous Tasman

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

October 26, 2014
39 39′ S
172 32′ E
SOG: 5.2 kts

Right now we are experiencing a full gale in the Tasman Sea.  Several hours after dousing the main, the winds picked right up to 30-35 knots.  We rolled in the jib and are running beautifully along under storm trysail alone.  The Monitor is holding course and keeping the wind angle at 150 degrees over the starboard quarter.  Despite urinating all over my long-johns while attempting to go to the bathroom in the pitching cabin, things are well.  It’s amazing how calm things seem below (relatively) vs the chaos above-decks, which is a smother of foam and waves in the pitch black.

A 1006 mb low is pushing its way up into the Tasman (very annoying timing) and we are sailing along the leading edge of the clockwise flow.  I imagine in a few hours the “eye” will pass over us and the winds will drop for a few hours before backing to the east.  Hopefully we’ll be close enough to Farewell Spit at that point that we can motor into Able Tasman bay and crack off on a beam reach to Nelson.  We are so close!

October 26, 2014 Running Down the Tasman

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

October 26, 2014
39 04′ S
172 28′ E
SOG: 7.0 kts

We’re on a broad reach in heavy westerlies, entering the Tasman Bay, which separates NZ’s North and South islands.  We FINALLY have the tail winds we so deserve.  We just doused the mainsail and lashed down the boom.  We’ve got a killer sail combo for the conditions: “double-reef” jib and the storm staysail on the inner forestay.  If things get too windy, all we have to do is roll up the remainder of the jib and we’re set!

As we close in to land, the AIS ship alarm is ringing, flocks of birds are appearing, and we even almost mowed down two sleeping seals this morning.  I don’t know what they were doing 120 miles offshore!

Last night we ran out of fuel at 2200 hrs (we still have 5 gallons reserve for emergency, harbor entrance, ect.)  We were motoring along at 6 knots and suddenly the engine sputtered out and we were…stopped.  Actually, we were thrashing around in glassy swells (think: NOT fun).  After a lot of swearing the god of the wind heard me and gave us a few puffs of breeze.  Just enough, after a half hour or so, to set the jib and nurse the course along with the electric autopilot.  As the breeze freshened in the next few hours, we switched over to Monitor wind vane steering.  The timing of the wind couldn’t have been better!  Since then, we’ve been ripping along at 7-9 knots.

Just 97 miles to go to the Farewell Spit, at which point we’ll make the final 38 mile approach to Nelson in the relatively protected waters of Golden Bay.

October 25, 2014 Motoring Through the High

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

October 25, 2014
36 52′ S
171 39′ E
SOG: 5.0 kts under power

Last night the winds and seas picked up greatly and gave us a thorough thrashing.  The waves were “hollow” and throughout the night we’d slam into the holes.  Despite the conditions, we still managed a good tack at 5 knots.  I didn’t sleep and had to stay up the whole night.  Finally around 0400 the winds abated as we entered the high pressure system.  We got under power and have been steaming ever since–a welcome relief!  We’re burning through our remaining fuel in the hopes of making it through to the westerlies on the bottom of the high.

Nep took the watch all day today while I slept, so I’m all caught up now!  We’re back on regular watches now and looking forward to the westerly winds.  The decks and rig are so salty right now that it looks like fresh snow has fallen on the boat!

October 24, 2014 Windward Work

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Oct. 24, 2014
35 18′ S
171 29′ E
SOG: 4.0 kts

Another day of sailing hard on the wind.  About 0600 it picked right up and has been blowing steady 22 knots SE, with 28 knots in the center of the squalls.  Surprisingly we’ve been able to stick mostly to the rhumb line, though it is slow going.  We’ve got a sail plan that works pretty well for the conditions: Double-reef main and “double reef” jib (partially rolled).  When the squalls pass we can roll out the jib and gain an extra knot or two, keeping it sheeted in hard.  The helm is totally balanced and we just leave the tiller to it’s own devices.  Thank you full keel!

Privateer just shoulders her way through the seas like a hot knife through butter.  The rail is buried and she charges ahead at 30 degrees off the wind.  With just 367 miles to go to Nelson, we are getting anxious to get there!  Have to be patient.  Tonight we’re tacking into the high pressure moving in, and then plan to motor for a day (with the last of our fuel) south of the high where we’ll pick up some fresh westerlies.  At least that’s the plan.

Much of this passage has been to windward so far, and one of our legs is beginning to grow longer, as the sailors say.

October 23, 2014 Top of NZ and Closing In

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Oct. 23, 2014
34 02′ S
170 55′ E
SOG: 5.0 kts

Another day of motoring into light southerlies.  Winds picked up a bit in the afternoon and we sailed for a few hours, but the best we could do was tack across the rhumb line.  Tomorrow the southerlies are forecast to strengthen to 20 knots as the leading edge of a new high pushes through.  Another day of beating to windward!  The following day, however, it looks like our “Nelson winds” will arrive, and we will hopefully coast the last 400 miles with 25 NW winds on our tail.

We’re just 60 NM away from the Three Kings islands off the top of NZ.  It’s a major shipping lane for freighters bound from Australia to Auckland, NZ.  One crossed our bow within .8 mile of us today, and we’ve got another one creeping up on on us in the dark now.  Thank god for AIS on nights like this, eliminating the anxiety and guesswork.  We always hail the navigator on the radio, out of curiosity.  It’s interesting to see if they’re paying attention and if they can see us on their ship’s radar.  It was quite dramatic this morning, after seeing nothing but blue water and sky for the past 10 days, to watch a bright red freighter lumber across the swells right in front of our nose!

October 22, 2014 Motoring Along….

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

October 22, 2014
32 04′ S
171 00′ E
SOG: 5.0 kts under engine

Having a motor fest in light winds.  We aimed right for the center of a weak low pressure system to avoid another southerly beat-down.  It was worth it!  We’re motoring along in big glassy swells, light winds, and the occasional squall.  Nep took a squall shower the other day.  The trick is to lather up with Dr. Bronner’s quickly as the rain starts, so that the downpour washes it all away before it stops.

We continue to pass through massive rafts of “By the wind sailor” jellyfish.  There must be hundreds of millions of them out here!  Day after day, non-stop.  At sunrise they glitter on the waves.  We’re in the midst of one of the world’s great migrations.

Currently we are 562 NM away from the Nelson Harbor entrance, and we are counting down the days!  We’re trying to get there before the middle of next week, when heavy weather is forecast to pass through.  So we’ll run our engine as long as we need to while we’re in these light winds.  Keeping close tabs on the weather now.  Looks like a few days more of motoring, followed by a few days of (knock on wood!) NW winds to carry us down to latitude 41 south.

Our food supply is getting rather basic without the fridge.  It’s going to be another week of Ritz crackers and scrambled eggs!