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.