23 November 2020 | Opua Marina, NZ
20 November 2020 | 180 miles to Opua
19 November 2020 | 300 miles to Opua
05 November 2020 | Port Denarau Marina, Fiji
22 October 2020 | Viti Levu, Fiji
18 October 2020 | Musket Cove, Fiji
06 October 2020 | Viti Levu, Fiji
28 September 2020 | Yasawas Islands
17 September 2020 | Vuda Point Marina
11 September 2020 | Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
07 September 2020 | Denarau, Fiji
05 September 2020 | Suva, Fiji
03 September 2020 | Fiji waters
02 September 2020 | South Pacific on Passage Day 11
01 September 2020 | South Pacific on Passage Day 10
Fiji to NZ Day 12 Arrival
23 November 2020 | Opua Marina, NZ
We're here, safely docked and vetted. This voyage has seemed much longer than 12 days. Most significantly it was mostly upwind or no wind and it was discomforting to be constantly aware of slowing the boat down instead of letting her find her balance and
go at her own speed. At one stage I remember saying to Greg, "We need to untrim the sails."
The final 140 mile sprint down to North Cape of NZ was a different story. We needed to get into the lee of the Cape before the front came over, expected at 11:00am. At sunset we trimmed for Westerly winds at 45 degrees. Rapture sailed through the night
at 6 knots with hardly any swell until the wind abated at dawn and then we revved the motor trying to keep above 5 knots for the next 24 hours. We arrived into the lee in the early hours and could finally throttle down and cut the noise. Now we were in no
hurry. The passing front was uneventful with hardly any increased wind or rain. We heard on the radio that out at sea there were gusts to 35 and 2 meter short period waves so we had planned it right. It was perfect San Francisco Bay winter sailing - gentle
winds on the beam, sunshine, sparkling water and a new land to Starboard. Later, just when Greg was trying to get some badly needed sleep, the wind did come up to 25 knots on the nose and we were bashing into waves. It only lasted about 3 hours until we
were again sheltered by a headland.
We arrived at the Bay of Islands in the morning and turned in to chug the last 18 miles to Opua. At about 11:00 the Customs' launch pulled alongside. With smiles and a friendly welcome they explained the upcoming process and told us to slow down so that
we arrived at the dock after 3:00pm, otherwise we would be sent to a manage facility in Auckland to compete the 14 day quarantine period. We only had about 5 miles to go so we had to keep a speed of 1 knot trying to make way against wind and tide.
Wrapped up under several layers of fleece and gortex, we sat behind the helm alternating between low revs and neutral looking out at pods of dolphins hunting followed by diving petrels and terns and many, many fishing boats and yachts wondering what
the hell we were doing. This truly is a boater's playground.
At the quarantine dock we were waved into place by the Customs officials who clumsily handled the lines so we didn't get off the boat. They handed us a stack of forms, checked documentation and signed us in. What a contrast to the experience the German
boat had when they arrived without permission, without authorization. They were immediately hustled off their boat and deported leaving everything behind. That endless application process and all that waiting suddenly paid off.
Biosecurity followed customs. Again, the man was so polite and respectful. He went through the list of the food we had on board and asked to see items. He did not get onboard to inspect anything. All fresh fruit and veg, meat and cooked frozen products
with meat had to be discarded. We didn't have much left. He asked to see grains and beans. Opened, loose grains had to be discarded but unopened and sealed packages we could keep. He did not ask about dairy products, shells, wooden items or spices. If I
had known, I would have stocked up in Fiji. I think the regulations have been eased significantly because of Covid and their reluctance to being exposed to the virus. Stripped of fresh food, we faced the prospect of two or more days on canned rations but our
friends from Tango, who have been in NZ for a year already, saved us. They had gone shopping for us and the marina delivered two bags of groceries to the forbidden Q dock. Thanks Janet and John. Finally, we could relax and have a beer or two. We were so
tired. By eight o' clock we were asleep.
So we are now in New Zealand, excited to explore for the next 6 months. This has been our goal through all the changes of the last 3 years. It's a victory. We each have learned and changed and become much better sailors. The last 3800 miles have been
without crew, just the two of us relying on each other. And don't forget wonderful Rapture who is about to get the spa treatment. In this Covid age, it is better not to make definite plans. But the goal post has moved and in May, we hope to return to the
tropics, Fiji, Tonga maybe, before spending next cyclone season in Australia.
Fiji to NZ Day 9
20 November 2020 | 180 miles to Opua
The last couple of days has been unexciting. We sail for a while, then motor for a while. This voyage seems like it's been going on forever. Normally a boat like Rapture would be able to do the passage in 8 to 10 days but the low winds and our choice to go
slow to avoid being sent to Auckland, has stretched out the time. Our plan now is to arrive after working hours, 3:00pm, on Day 12, Monday, Nov 23. then we will spend the two remaining days at the quarantine dock.
Yesterday was my birthday. My biggest present was a nice hot shower followed by a fine lunch of fried Halloumni cheese, Greek salad and focaccia with a bottle of wine (we were motoring). In the evening the wind rose again so we were able to sail through
the night. Trying to sleep through the engine's roar makes me quite deaf in the morning.
We've learned a few tricks to cooking on starboard tack when food flies out of the microwave when you open it. Most important is to use securely sealed containers in the microwave. Rapture's fairy godmother gifted us with Tupperware bowls that are
difficult to seal. (Thanks, Karen). But once closed, they stay closed when thrown around in the fridge or dropped on the floor. Those bowls have become our dishes of choice. The other game changer is sticky shelf liner on sliding surfaces - microwave, counter
tops and cockpit table. Lastly, I've discovered being short that when the floor is at an angle, I don't have as far to stretch especially if I stand on the companionway steps. The microwave tilts up just above my head. Yup, it's a different world out here.
180 miles to Opua. We will go through another front at about 11:00am Sunday morning. By then we will be in the lee of North Cape, NZ that will moderate the force. After that, just a gentle chugging down the coast to our destination. Not long now.
Fiji to NZ Day 7
19 November 2020 | 300 miles to Opua
A South African cruiser friend of ours once said, "Gentlemen do not sail to weather," meaning sailing into the wind. I thought it was funny when I first heard it but now I'm not laughing. We've been sailing a close reach into the wind, or motoring, bashing, into
the wind, for 3 days now. We're tired because even in sleep, the body is braced, hungry because it's hard to prepare anything and sore in every joint. This is when sailing is pure endurance. The only good part is that it's fast and we'll get there sooner. That
quarantine hotel is looking really enticing,
If you've been watching our track on PredictWind,
you can see that we're zig zagging South. The straight sections are where we motored. We tack about every 100 miles which is about once a day. At night, we reef just to reduce the stress so we can get some rest. We passed through the front at 5:00 this
morning. It was a non-event with no great increase in wind speed and only two light showers. Thank you, I needed that.
Now we are motoring again straight to our destination. For once, I'm not complaining. I'm happy to live on the horizontal again.
Fiji to NZ Day 6
16 November 2020
We are in the second leg of the passage. We are no longer trying to move West. Now the goal is due South. Since the wind is coming from the South (of course) we can only sail
South West trying to pinch as high as we can into the wind which means the boat is heeled way over on a port tack. We are making good progress with about 500 miles to go.
Around midnight the wind is supposed to die. We'll furl the jib will motor due South until morning.
All is well on board. The boat is handling beautifully; we seem to have perfected our close reach trim and we barely need to touch the sails. Otto is steering using the
weather vane mode. Getting enough sleep is the priority now.
Fiji to NZ Day 4
15 November 2020
We have finally left the tropics. We crossed over the Tropic of Capricorn this afternoon. It is definitely cooler, still T-shirt and shorts weather during the day but polar fleece and long pants at night. We
unpacked the blankets to throw on the bed. The sea temperature is 76 degrees so we are now out of the cyclone belt. Also, there is bioluminescence in the water. We didn't see any in the tropics. Those red
eyes in the sea have become glowing green splashes and our bow wave flings bright droplets like seeds into the black ocean.
At 1:30pm the wind started to build and we waited impatiently for the moment to turn off the engine and pull out the jib. But not yet. The sails hung limply. Half an hour later with 10 knots apparent, out came
the jib but we had to head to New Caledonia to get a good angle. We tried tacking but now we were heading away from NZ. Third time lucky, we had barely enough angle to the wind so Greg put the autohelm
on wind vane mode. The wind was supposed to back to the South East so we set the angle at 40 degrees and sat back to watch our course become more and more Southerly. Marvelous, we had wind 10 to
17 knots, light clouds and occasional drizzle. This is supposed to last until tomorrow night. Of course it does mean that we are heeled over and cooking is a challenge but dinner was all prepared - lamb biryani
and cucumber raita with an apple for dessert.
Fiji to NZ day3
14 November 2020
At 5:00 this morning Greg woke me up by turning off the engine and pulling out the sails. There was wind, only 8 knots but we're sailors, we're supposed to tease a lift out of low winds. Besides, it was my watch. Time for the skipper to get some sleep.
An hour later, I returned the favor by furling in the jib and turning on the engine and we've been motoring ever since. The sea was so flat today that we could have seen a dolphin leap miles away but there was nothing out there. Today I saw one booby with yellow feet and in all that vastness we had to divert to avoid hitting a pearl farm float that might have been dragging lines. Otherwise there is nothing but undulating sea and constantly changing cloud formations. Tomorrow should bring light wind from the South East and we will start moving West.
Our repair on the mainsail car did not hold. The socket that the bolt screws into is stripped. When there is wind and the sail is taut there is not much pressure on any one point on the leach, but the flopping when there is no wind or it's on the nose is really hard on the sail. Having the mainsail inspected and repaired is one of the projects for NZ along with a whole list of other repairs. You can get a lot done for NZ$50,000 which is our price for entry. Here's the rest of the list. If you're looking for excitement, quit reading now and come back tomorrow when the wind returns.
Deck Level and rigging:
" Rebed hatches and porthole windows
" Extend the mast track for storing spinnaker pole
" Replace mast navigation light and anchor light - stop interfering with AIS
" Service or replace jib furler
" Pull mast - repair deck damage around mast boot, replace shackle collar at base of mast
" Replace shackles on all halyards except main, replace some shivs
" Replace life raft
Below water line:
" Sand bottom to gel coat and repaint
" Rig headstay with two tracks for dual headsails
" Repair mainsail and cars
" Check staysail
" Reduce friction in the reefing system; move main sheet clutch down mast
" Repair gel coat at stern, polish and wax
" Replace all hoses
" Replace air ducting that has been damaged
" Service valves and cylinders
" Inspect shaft seal, raw and fresh water pumps, exhaust system, heat exchanger
" Service the outboard
" investigate rattle and balance the wind generator
" Convert house battery bank to lithium
" Upgrade solar charges, Balmar alternator/regulator for lithium
" Modify Victron battery monitors for lithium
" Convert solar and wind generator for lithium
" Repair Watt&Sea connector
" Repair or replace Raymarine monitor
" Repair Raymarine cable connectors
" Replace AIS watchmate with latest model with wifi/bluetooth
" Service fire extinguisher
" Replace salon cushions - reupholstery
" Replace cabin sole and PVC plumbing beneath sole
" Replace dishes, bowls, cups
" Plumbing - run salt water to galley, replace galley faucet
" Revarnish cabin woodwork, cabinets, paneling.
" Replace cabinet and door hinges