October 26, 2014 Running Down the Tasman

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.

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