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Paikea Mist's Ode to Our Shores
the wet coast, the wild coast the mighty magnificent west coast. water spills from your snowy peaks and fills my soul. may your winds push me onwards yet always bring me home.
Day 5
10/20/2011, Fiji to NZ

Hi Everyone:

This afternoon the seas have started to calm down again. We had a pretty bouncy night, with large seas, and squalls of wind up to 27 knots. The wind was also very variable, with direction changes of 30 to 40 deg. Just after midnight we switched back to the westward tack (we had tried it earlier in the night, but the wind reversed itself, and so we had to tack back again - not sure why the wind has to switch directions in the middle of the night!).

With sunny skies, and the diminishing seas, this afternoon has been a fairly pleasurable sail. We are still pretty close hauled (40 deg off the wind), so the boat does occasionally pound coming over the top of a particularly steep wave, but other than that it has been quite relaxing. We are all getting use to clambering around and generally living with the boat heeled over 20 deg. Outside temperatures are still reasonably warmer (way warmer than we remember from last year), but the water temperature has dropped to 22 degC.

If the wind cooperates (stays from the SE) we will stay on this tack until tomorrow evening, then motor due south for about 120 miles until we pick the south westerly. We should then be able to sail an easterly tack back towards a point aligned with the northern tip of NZ (we are currently already a bit west of it), at which time we will once again turn on the motor and head due south for the last 130 nm to Opua. That would get us into the dock there on the morning of the 25th.

take care, Michael, Gloria, Nick and Emily

Michael's Updates
Day 4
10/20/2011, Fiji to NZ

Hi Everyone:

The last 24 hours have been non stop action here on Paikea Mist. The big excitement last night was getting to tack to the southeast once the winds clocked through to the south. Michael woke me up at 1:30 in the morning to do this. I can think of better things to do when woken by your hubby in the wee hours, but that will have to wait for another day! When I got up for my 3-7 am shift, the winds were unsettled, gusting to 20 knots and not sure which direction they would fill in from. As the day got lighter I got fed up pushing buttons on Auto and hand steered for a couple of hours- pure joy as the Paikea Mist soared through one wave after the next and the sun peeked its way up over the horizon promising a sunny day. Before it got dark last night we noticed that one of the secondary rigging components was not attached properly. As it was becoming dark, we depowered the sails for the night which meant that our progress was slower than expected, but ultimately much safer with less stress on the rig. Morning came and the rig was still standing, so joys of joys, Michael went up to the first and second spreader to fix the problem. Now the timing for this was 'just perfect' because this is the day that our weather router quote unquote said "Brace yourself for large seas". With the huge low sweeping across New Zealand, some 600 nm to our south, the swell is still one to be reckoned with. Thankfully the period between waves is quite long, so Michael could kind of time his various collisions with the spreader and the mast to his advantage. (For those of you who might worry- he goes up fully harnessed with two lines for extra safety and then also uses a third line to kind of clamp himself to the rig itself.) We don't really understand why the rigging component failed, but it actually unthreaded, so 'all' Michael had to do was go up the mast, hold on for dear life with everything other than his hands, roll with the punches and put the two ends back together again. Simple right? Wait to you see the video I shot! The whole repair process took about 2 hours start to finish. After that I got my turn doing a small repair on our mainsail where we noticed a seam which had lost its stitching. Fearing a disastrous progression, I went out onto the foredeck (tethered for safety), climbed up to the boom and plastered the tear with layers of sticky back dacron. Everything looks good to go. The waves are gorgeous out here, forming walls as they glide in front of us and eventually under the keel. The sun is shining and the wind is steady from the south-south west at about 15-20 knots. We've kept the sail trim reefed to handle the waves, and Paikea Mist is trucking comfortably along at 7 knots or so as we slowly make our zig zag pattern across this part of the Pacific. It will be a slow but worthy passage to New Zealand. But like our friend on S/V Passages says- its not a passage unless something happens!

take care, Gloria and the gang

Gloria's Stories
3rd Day
10/19/2011, Fiji to NZ

Hi Everyone:

This is now the end of our 3rd day. Had a very peaceful sail last night - light winds and almost no waves. Turned on the motor for about 4 hours in the early morning until the wind filled in again. Today the wind picked up again (up to 20 knots) and the seas have increased as well. We are pretty much close hauled at 40 deg off the wind. Sailing with a reefed main and a reefed genoa. A bit bouncy as we work our way upwind through the waves.

The weather has also turned slightly cooler - we now need a windbreaker or sweatshirt on outside. It is cloudy with some showers earlier in the day. Despite this the water temperature has remained incredibly warm - 30 degC!

The wind has been slowly clocking to the south all day today, and we expect to tack over onto the starboard tack some time overnight, or early tomorrow morning.

Right now, we are heading at 222 deg T, doing about 7.2 knots in about 17 knots of wind from about 160 degs (SSE.

take care, Michael, Gloria, Nick and Emily

Michael's Updates
2nd Day out
10/18/2011, Fiji to NZ

Hi Everyone:

This has been our 2nd day out and we have a very beautiful sail. The mixed up seas we were experiencing as we left the Fiji coast yesterday have disappeared, and today we have have had gentle swells with 10 to 15 knots of wind. Yesterday's seas caused some discomfort for Nick and Emily, but today they were doing much better.

We have been pretty much exactly following our planned course, and averaging between 160 and 170 nm in a 24 hour period. We are now sailing pretty close hauled at 40 deg apparent, which does mean the boat is heeled over about 20 deg, but with the gentle seas it is a very pleasant ride. It looks like this wind pattern will continue until tomorrow pm, at which time the wind will start clocking, and we will be tacking. Between and NZ we expect to see the wind veer 100 deg through our heading three times! This is because of a low that is sweeping by just ahead of us, and pulling the wind around. It actually helps with our headings - otherwise with the stationary high just west of NZ, we would have had more wind right on the nose.

I hope that wasn't too much weather info, but sailing these legs between NZ and the South Pacific, it is a huge factor (much more so then staying in the tropical zones and getting pushed by the trade winds).

Had a beautiful sunset tonight.

Right now, we are heading at 212 deg T, doing about 6.8 knots in about 13 knots of wind from the southeast.

take care, Michael, Gloria, Nick and Emily

Michael's Updates
Day 1
10/17/2011, Fiji to NZ

We have now left Fiji, on our way back to Opua NZ!

This morning we had to first sail from Vuda Pt Marina where we have been for last couple of days, to Lautoka, about 90 minutes north (in the wrong direction) to check out. We then waited at customs / immigration for our documentation (Fijians love their documentation), and at about noon we were good to go.

The weather for this trip looks like it will be an upwind sail again, butquite a few pretty wind direction changes that we can use to our favour, and no big storms anywhere in the forecast.

WE expect that it will takes 7 - 9 days to get to Opua. It is now 7:30 pm, and Nick and Emily have just started their first watch shift (they are doing the 7:00 - 11:00 pm shift).

Right now, we are heading at 193 deg T, doing about 7.8 knots in about 20 knots of wind from the southeast.

Gloria's Stories

Nick caught this gorgeous Wahoo, which I filetted- one half fed six people easily. We enjoyed the delicious meal with friends Randy and Julie who are neighbors from home who are vacationing here in Fiji!

Gloria's Stories

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Paikea Mist's Adventures
Who: Gloria Hanssmann, Michael Hanssmann
Port: Vancouver, BC
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