Camelot V - Update 11

Tonga to New Zealand

About eight months have passed since signing off on my last letter saying the 1200 mile trip from Nieafu Tonga to New Zealand single handed should be a piece of cake. Let me revise that a little.
The first two days out of Tonga were great. I had my best two mileage days ever at 160 and 165 nautical miles. The Southeast Trades were blowing on my port beam at a steady 20 to 25 knots. The skies were clear and I stared to revise my arrival time and shorten my expected journey to about 8 days. Never do that.
First the wind switched to 30 to 35 knots from the southwest, which of course put it right on my nose. My only choice now being to reef down and try to pound my way along until the wind shifted back to the southeast. It surely would, wouldn't it? Well at least it did change. It died. For the next three days I was in flat seas and calm air. No wind at all! So I motored a bit but didn't want to use my fuel this early in the trip so I waited. Then I would power for a while and wait again. I made good 180 miles in three days.
Quiet New Zealand Bay
Click picture to enlarge
Then I had wind, lots of wind. 30 to 40 knots. On the nose. And getting cooler now. Doing the best I could in these conditions until my old working jib, that I had planned to replace in New Zealand, Blew out. I pulled it in and continued with triple reefed main but pointing very poorly.
A few hours of sail mending had the jib ready to fly again. This helped to get Camelot V moving a bit closer to the wind. But it didn't last, the old sail was finished with strong winds. I brought it down again and hoisted my storm jib but it being to small to pull very good to windward. I could only point with in about 65 degrees of my waypoint. Although miles traveled were many my miles made good were very few for the next couple of days until the wind died again and I continued on under engine power for another three days. Making 110 miles per day until my fuel reserves were low so again I waited, as I wanted to save some fuel for the last few miles into the harbor. I had to search the boat for a pair of long pants and socks. I had not worn socks for a couple of years and they felt terrible. But better than cold feet.
I then waited another day for the wind I knew would come and it did. This time 35 t0 45 knots. ON THE NOSE.
This only lasted for one and a half days then let up some and started to shift a little more to coming from the west. I was able to shake out one reef and by the time I reached The Bay Of Islands I had my large jig up and was making good time again. A made Opua Harbor and tied to the customs mooring buoy at midnight. 14 and one half days out of Nieafu.
The next morning at eight o'clock customs called on the VHF to tell me to come into the Opua Boating Club dock for check in.
The customs man informed me that they had a report of a sailboat out about 200 miles losing his mast and needed the New Zealand Coast Guard to rescue the crew. And asked how my trip was. I answered "Oh a bit lumpy at times. But not to bad."
Now to enjoy New Zealand.

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