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October 27, 2014 Gales

October 27, 2014
40 46′ S
173 11′ E
SOG: 5.8 kts

We are closing in on Nelson fast!  Just a few more miles to go–we are sailing along close-hauled in 20-25 knots of SE winds.

Last night we weathered major gale in the Tasman.  It picked up to a sustained 41 knots for about 6 hours.  No damage to the boat except a bent stanchion from a particularly nasty wave.  Privateer did a great job keeping us safe and steady.  We ambled through extreme wave action at a comfortable 5 knots under storm trysail alone.  Never surfed or buried the bow.  It was pretty wild stuff!  I couldn’t see anything at the helm except a blizzard of spray, so I just turned on the LED spreader lights and lit the boat up like a christmas tree, and monitored the AIS.  In the morning the gale raged on and I thought I could discern the mountains of the North Island in the distance, but they turned out to be huge looming waves.  What a way to come into NZ!

Later this morning we had a 40-mile sleigh-ride down the Tasman Bay, surfing at 10 knots in easy 25 knot NWerlies!  “It was all supposed to be like this” I told my Dad!  But soon enough the ocean decided to give us one more slap in the face, and what I can only describe as a rapidly moving “Haboob” came out of nowhere, killed our wind, and sent us a gale hard on the nose from the opposite direction, and all the while we were trying to round the Farewell Sandspit against a few knots of current!  We scrambled to prepare for the haboob, shortening sail etc, but it was too late to put any foul weather gear on or set the monitor.  It came in minutes, a peculiar wall of white mushrooming clouds.  As I hand-steered close-hauled around the spit in order for a safe 3 mile pass, sheets of spray soaked the last set of dry woolies I had left.  The ocean was showing us who’s boss after we felt all salty for weathering the gale!

We are making a beeline for Nelson now and have to clear customs tonight.  No rest for the weary!  I’ll probably sleep for a few days and put up an entry when we get settled in.

Privateer is a bitchin’ ride and I can’t believe we’ve sailed her all the way from AK to NZ!!!!!!!!       WHOOOO  HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

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