Monday, January 26, 2015

Summary of Miles Sailed

Out of interest, I have tallied the miles we sailed on Ladybug and Ladybug II.

In our first boat, the Cal 29, Ladybug, we sailed approximately 7600 nautical miles from Canada, down the US coast, in Mexico, and back to Canada via Hawaii over a period of a year. We spent about 60 nights at sea on her, mostly on the return trip.

On Ladybug II, our Coast 34

  • We owned her for approximately 6 years
  • During which we sailed a total of about 19,200 nautical miles
  • We spent about 100 nights at sea
  • Our average speed was between 4 and 4.5 knots
  • We motored for a total of about 600 hours or 100 hours per year
  • Motoring accounted for about 13 percent of our voyaging hours (in other words, we sailed 87 percent of the time)
Total distance covered was approx. 26,800 nautical miles, which is more than the distance around the world along the equator and about 5000 miles more than the minimum allowable distance for a sailing circumnavigation of the globe.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Video of Ladybug II Sailing to the South Island

As promised, I have uploaded a video to YouTube. Lots of wind noise, but it gives you an idea of what our last day out was like!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pictures From The Delivery Cruise to the South Island

We are comfortably anchored off a mussel farm in Orchard Bay, Forsyth Island. Here are a few pictures from the delivery cruise. Brian, the new owner is featured in the first two. I have a good video from the sail yesterday that I will post on Youtube when I have the bandwidth.

Brian practicing climbing the mast unaided

Under 3 reefed main off New Plymouth. The hatch board is in to keep the spray out.

View of Ladybug from old cabin at Orchard Bay, Forsyth Island

Immature Fantail poses for a snap.

View from Forsyth Island - great hiking here,

Forsyth panorama

Amazing light and cloud from a ridge hike on Forsyth Island

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 6 - Made it into port

Following on from the Day 5 post. we continued to sail under 3 reefed main until lunch time when I struck the main as the wind built to 25 knots and swung a little behind the beam. The seas built rapidly and Ladybug was being laid over by the odd big one with her rail in the water. We furled up the jib until only about 1/8 of it was out and were still making 6 knots on average.

Sleep was impossible but by tucking several pillows around the settee berth with the lee cloth we were able to take turns resting. This continued, with the wind building to around 30 knots with gusts slightly more until around 6 pm, when it became obvious we would have to alter course to run more downwind. The wind vane was unable to keep us on course when a big sea would lay us over twisting us beam on to the wind. The boat in this attitude was closer to the wind and would try to round up, tearing along with her rail half submerged. We made the decision to run more downwind towards Queen Charlotte Sound.

As we cleared the Stephens Island we were able to sneak into its lee and steer for the east side of D'Urville Island, but we paid the price for being this close to the island in the form of impressive point effect gusts (due to compression of the high winds around the edges of the island). At one point we were doing 8 knots through the water with 1/4 of a jib filled by 40 knots of wind - very exciting. 

It was now dark and we were both extremely fatigued having had little sleep in the last 36 hours, so we decided to seek a sheltered bay on the east side of the island. We navigated with extra caution as the moon had not yet risen, using radar, chart plotter, and a sharp bow lookout. After 3 failed attempts to find suitable harbours (all too steep to close to the shore) we bore off and finally dropped the anchor in Harris Bay adjacent to Pelorus Sound qt 00:50. God it felt good to stop!

We will do some cruising in this area before my final destination of Waikawa. Posn at anchor 40 55 S  174 01 E.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 5 - Back to the Bounce

We had a placid day yesterday, with a mix of motoring with no wind and close reaching in light airs. A line of rain squalls gave us a scare in the afternoon but turned out to have little wind and barely enough rain in them to wash off the salt on the decks. Around 1 am this morning I noticed an ominous sharp chop rolling in from the SW and sure enough at 3 am we were down to 3 reefs in the main and a partially furled jib. The winds were not strong - only 20 knots or so, but the seas were so rough that we had to slow down to protect the boat and crew from damage.

The wind is now down and we are being tossed around on short sharp swells. No sleep is possible so we are just dozing and as we are passing through an area of natural gas rigs off New Plymouth we need to stay alert! We should be into Port Hardy tomorrow morning with luck.

Our position at 0645 is 39 21 S 173 26 E and we are making about 4.5 knots in confused short 1+ meter seas.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 4

Yesterday we sailed for much of the morning and afternoon but the wind disappeared around mid afternoon and only made a brief and tenuous reappearance after supper. For the rest of the time we motored into an increasingly peaceful ocean, the earlier cross swells gradually smoothing out.

Brian cooked up a gourmet supper of chicken legs, chilled beets, rice, and pan fried cabbage and just at sunset a pod of dolphins leaping clear of the water appeared in the west, apparently chasing a large school of fish.

Around 3:30 this morning the wind filled back in and we are now close reaching at 5+ knots into a gentle SW swell. The moon is out, lighting up the clouds and a few stars are still visible. We are about 190 miles out from D'Urville Island and with brisk WSW winds forecast for tomorrow we may reach port by nightfall. The alternative would be to stop at the commercial harbour of New Plymouth on the north island to wait out these stronger winds and continue after a day or two.

Position at 0530 on Saturday is 37 39 S 171 50 E wind SW 6 knots.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nature Sightings Update

Brian asked me to mention some of our nature sightings so far.

On the way up from Opua we found ourselves in a current with hundreds of blood red jelly fish - maybe 20 cms in diameter - on which small birds were feeding. We also frightened a sunfish who had to flip to the side to avoid us as we had no time to adjust course. These strange looking rounded fish float in the currents feeding on jelly fish.

Apart from the usual petrels and shearwaters we have seen dozens of baby blue penguins and yesterday Brian spotted a shark, which like the sunfish was surprised by Ladybug's sudden arrival in its little piece of ocean. Yesterday we also saw our first albatross gliding in graceful turns behind the boat. What a huge bird - and so graceful!

Day 3 Fair Winds and Milder Seas

Rani wrote this morning to say that she was sleeping only 3 hours at a time. I told her that Brian and I could handle the watch schedule out here and to try to get some unbroken sleep.

Yesterday was a pretty rough beat for much of the day but by supper time the wind had died out and we turned on the engine and motored through the night until about 1 am when I deemed we had enough wind to sail. For two hours while Brian tried to sleep I chased a very light and fitful easterly, finally giving up around 3 am when we put the engine back into service. Surprisingly, given the turbulent seas, no one has been sick. Brian skipped breakfast yesterday but was able to scarf down 4 sausages for lunch.

My present when I woke for my watch around 6 am today was a fair easterly wind and we soon had the sails pulling us along at 5 knots. Then a few minutes later the wind rose suddenly from 6 to 20 knots. Not a squall but just the edge of a new wind. I had to wake poor Brian who had just drifted off and we tucked two reefs in the main. We are now bowling along with a 15 knot beam wind doing between 6 and 7 knots.

Position at 07:00 NZ time is 36 07 S 172 04 E. We are about 290 miles out from Port Hardy D'Urville Island and should be there Monday morning or even sometime on Sunday if the winds hold.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 2 - Rounded the Three Northern Capes

It is dawn on day 2 and we are are beating into a very short period swell, dropping into the shallow sharp wave troughs every few seconds. Not conducive to a relaxed breakfast! The weather forecast model predicted SE winds in our face at this time and the model was right. We are under 2 reefed main and partial jib sailing SSE on the west coast of the North Island. Cape Maria Van Diemen lies in sight behind us about 17 mils away. This may be the last land we will see for a few days.

Our position at 0630 NZ time is 34 36 S 172 23 E. Wind is about 12 knots SE and we are bouncing along at around 4.5 knots.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Off to the South Island

Brian, the new owner, and I departed Whangaroa this morning around 10, clearing the harbour under motor and hoisting all sail for a light air beat up the remainder of the North Island. We should round the North Cape around dusk and be on our way south down the west coast by tomorrow morning. We hope to reach D'Urville island at the northern end of the South Island in about 5 or 6 days. Stronger head winds are forecast for a few days out so we may take a rest at New Plymouth en route. Mike and Marni on Picara are also bound south so we plan to keep a radio schedule with them on this passage.

Current position at 13:15 local time is 34 51 N  173 35 E  Sunny skies and very light northerly winds with a gentle ground swell less than one meter. Very pleasant sailing.