The New Zealand Voyage Plan
03 May 2013 | 26 18.0'S:178 02.8'E
The NZ to Fiji Plan For those of you that have followed our blog since the beginning, know we have a very low success rate when it comes to making a weather route plan for any voyage over 5 days. We have always started out with the best information the net can provide but Mother Nature just doesn¬'t like us.
Our plan leaving the marina in New Zealand was to motor north before the next low pressure system came thru and pinned us for another 4 days. Then catch the SE portion of the Low that was crossing our path north beneath Fiji and use it to sail us towards Fiji. After that, we were counting on some left over air from the low for a final push into Fiji.
All has gone as close to the original plan as we could have hoped for! We think Mother Nature missed us sneaking out or she just decided we were due for a break. The low we aimed for turned South a little earlier than anticipated so we veered a little west to ride the western edge and it worked great. We¬'ve had fantastic air (about 15-20kts) on the beam for 3 days. During 2 of those days, the water was a little rough but nothing bad or terribly uncomfortable. On day 3 of riding the low, we had a dream sailing day of perfect water and air. Now that we are clear of the storm, we are trying to find that ¬"left over air¬". The winds are very light, but so are the seas. We¬'re coasting along at a timid 4-5kts, but because of the light air and its direction, we¬'re not able to go directly towards Fiji anymore, so we have started zig zagging to get there.
As of the time this post hits the website, we are just under 500 miles out. At the current pace, we expect to arrive in 4 days.
One of the nights, we had an interesting sight that has us puzzled. We are hoping one of you salty sailors or amateur (or pro) scientist can help. The conditions it occurred in; we were heading N along with the prevailing swell of about 12 ft, we also had a cross swell of 10 ft from the E that was generated by the low to our east. The caps of both swells were occasionally breaking, but otherwise normal seas. Then coming from the South, with the prevailing swell heading north came a roar that first got our attention, and then we saw a set of three breaking, very steep swells. It was at night so visibility was limited but the waves seemed to span the horizon. I would say the top quarter of them was breaking, but they were no larger than the normal swells, just completely different in shape and peak to peak distance. While the normal peak to peak was around 12 seconds, these were half of that. As they went under our stern, Tanga was tossed violently but it was over after the third wave as if nothing happened. Had this happened on our beam (side), I¬'m certain the effects would have been far worse. Obviously this wasn¬'t a tsunami event for several reasons. We don¬'t know enough about rouge waves but we don¬'t think it was one, since there were three waves tightly packed and they were no taller or deeper than the normal swell. All input is appreciated.