Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Underway for Minerva Reef

May 6, 2009--We were ready for our 9 a.m. checkout on Monday morning with Bruce from New Zealand Customs so we pulled from the end of C Dock to the end of B Dock (the quarantine dock)and waited for him to arrive. He soon came on board and the checkout was very quick and easy so we were done and pulling away from the dock at 9:30 a.m. I wanted to get a departure picture of Marsden Cove Marina, but I was busy putting away lines and fenders and making sure that everything on deck was in order.

We motored out into the bay where we put up our main sail, and then we continued to motor out of Whangarei. Once we cleared Bream Head we headed northeast in calm conditions with light winds, and it was a beautiful day. About four hours later we were able to pull out the 110 percent jib and stop the engine--ah, quiet! Soon after that we were overflown by New Zealand Customs who called us on the radio asking for information. Steve answered all their questions so they wished us a good sail and flew away.

The winds picked up later in the day and all through the evening, sometimes gusting up to 30 knots. We had a double-reefed main and the smaller jib out. We decided to switch to the smaller jib before we left because of the winds that were predicted for our passage. Besides, we have never flown this jib, and we decided that it was time to try it out. The combination of sails worked very. The last 12 hours we sailed under triple-reefed main and full jib (except for about 2 hours when we furled it in a bit because of a rain squall going by).

All is well, and we have made very good time--310 miles in a 48-hour period. It is taking us some time to get used to the 3-hour watch schedule and the rolling motion of the boat. So far, however, we are doing very well and are ahead of schedule. The boat is performing well, as always. Our hope is to reach Minerva by Saturday afternoon. If the winds or the swells are too high, we will continue on to Tonga.

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