Taz’s first sail!

Position: 40 57.19 S, 173 3.42 E
SOG (kts): 0.0
We finally departed Nelson Harbor this morning, early, at the first hint of orange under the high clouds. Privateer has been chained to her dock for too long! An almost fifteen-month spell at the dock–longer than most prison sentences… We immediately felt the freedom of the seas again as we watched Nelson shrink into the distance. I said a quiet thank-you and farewell to the city, which provided excellent medical care for Taz’s birth, and a good safe-haven for Privateer while we were away from her. Nelson protected our beloved Privateer and gave Taz the best chance upon entering his new life!

Taz had his first-ever sail today! We unfurled the yankee and had a nice downwind 20-mile run in 20 knot SW winds to Torrent Bay on the Abel Tasman Park coast. After watching me for awhile, Taz put his hand next to mine on the tiller and cocked a weather-eye into the wind. It was one of the happiest moments of my life when he looked up at me and gave me a big smile as we were steering the boat. He was looking at the sails, listening to the VHF weather reports, and generally being a happy crew.

We are tucked into Torrent Bay now, with a commanding view out to Farewell Spit, where we will wait for favorable conditions before sailing out into the Roaring 40s. The bay was hot today, with an atmosphere like Coney Island. As this is the only real anchorage anywhere near Nelson, everyone crams in here. Water taxis disgorged hordes of kayakers all day long while sunburned people thronged the beach. Not exactly my cup of tea, but we do appreciate the shelter–in the very late afternoon we observed another “haboob” sweep the straits, just as it did with my Dad and I last October. It was blowing a solid 25-30 out of the West today, when suddenly that eerie sweeping gray-green cloud swept in from the east, throwing the wind right around 180 degrees and in minutes it was ripping out of the East at 25-30 knots. What a relief to watch this phenomenon from the safety of the anchorage this time, rather than being caught out in it like last year! It is gnarly out there, that body of water–a superior force to be respected.

Tomorrow the winds are forecast to drop to variable 10 knots in the afternoon as a ridge builds over NZ, and I’m thinking we’ll just motor-sail across this damn Strait and get further North as fast as we can, and try to pick up the south-westerly winds that are blowing nicely up there. We’ll see if the forecast holds…

It’s always nice to depart the port and spend a night or two on the hook before setting out to sea. After the crazy cluttered busy-ness of being on shore, it’s nice to take stock of the boat and settle back into the sea routines. Taz and I squared the decks for sea today, lashing gear, rigging preventers, and cleaning up the lines. Taz “helped” with the mainsheet and inadvertently tied his first knot today–a half-hitch! I discovered the hitch as I re-coiled the mainsheet. He was really going at it! Good job Taz. Kelsey cooked up a great dinner tonight and did a superb job with Taz today–he’s getting his fourth tooth now and was asking for a bit more attention. His Mom gave him lots of tenderness all day!!

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