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Sailing with Nine of Cups
Waiting for the next blow
01 February 2011 | Southern Arm, Dagg Sound
A much better, calmer night, thank goodness. We got into our usual morning routine...a cuppa, a game of cards, pick up e-mails and the weather. Right out of the shoot, the weather forecast for Puysegur (PYOO-se-ca), our NZ forecast area way at the bottom of the South Island, was rather ominous. "Storm warnings in force. NW 60 kts this evening; easing to 50 kts by morning". At least this time we have warning and we have the whole day to prepare/ fret about it. How come big winds always seem to come at night?

It was actually calm during the day though raining and we made ready for another big blow. We laid out another 35# CQR anchor in series with our big 110# Bruce...a chum system... and let out more scope. It was a good idea, but getting the CQR out from under the aft cabin bunk where it had been stowed was a major disruption. It's under our bunk and all the bedding as well as half the locker had to be emptied in order to get at it and then, of course, re-stowed and the bed remade. The Bruce held during the last big blow, but we thought it could use a bit more help. When the forecast calls for 60 kts, it means sustained winds, so gusts could be much higher. There's no other good all- weather anchorage to move to in this area, so we needed to make the best of where we were.

Several little things went wrong during the day and we were hoping it was not forewarning of bigger things to come. The alternator started smoking during a quick battery charge and melted the wiring on the positive terminal (easily fixed and caused by a nut not being tightened down adequately after the last repair); both flashlights went dead when we needed them most and new batteries only revived one of them; the propane tank ran out when it was raining the hardest and Marcie was trying to make dinner. In trying to connect a new tank, the brass fitting broke...split right down the middle ...which caused some consternation with captain and crew (expletives deleted). Dinner delayed.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. On the one hand, we had all day to prepare for the blow, but on the other hand, now that we've done what we can to prepare, we're still worried about it. Just waiting for the next blow.