Sunday, October 28, 2007

October 28, 2007 - New Zealand Run, Day 5

Last night we got to see the sun set twice. As we slid down into the trough of a wave, the crest of the next wave rose above the top of the setting sun. Then as we glided up out of the trough, the sun seemed to rise again, briefly, before sinking behind the crest of the next wave. A few hours later a great, golden harvest moon rose up out of the sea behind us. It was a light air night, and comfortable sailing. Unfortunately, we weren't actually pointed towards New Zealand.
This morning, the wind started to back more towards the east, so we could start to turn the boat towards New Zealand. We spent the day beating to windward at about 50 degrees apparent. We kept shortening sail to slow the boat down and keep from pounding into the short seas. Around 3pm, the wind speed dramatically increased and the barometer began to rise as we approached a large high pressure system centered over NZ. We began taking more water over the bow. We needed to slow the boat down, and we already had the main double reefed and only a scrap of jib out. We had a choice between dropping the main completely, or trying to rig the third reef, which requires rerunning the reefing line for our first reef, higher up on the mainsail. Sten is a tall guy, but it is a reach for him to rig the third reef in a quiet harbor. Underway in sloppy seas, it becomes a tricky balancing act. We like to mitigate risk, so we opted for simply dropping the main - the slower, safer option. Even with only a scrap of jib out, we are still going faster than we were last night. We have 385 miles to go to Opua.

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