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.