14 November 2012 | On passage from Tonga to NZ
After motoring for most of the day yesterday, we shut off the engine around 4pm and had several hours of smooth sailing, making 5.5 to 6.5 knots through the water, which unfortunately translated to only about 4 to 4.5 knots over the ground due to a foul current. Nothing like sailing on flat seas though - amazing how 8 knots of breeze can just push this heavy boat along. We lost heart around 9pm and turned the engine on right at the beginning of my watch, but around 10pm the wind was back up to 8 to 10 knots so I throttled back, rolled the jib out, and shut the engine off again and we were back to sailing on the pond! It was another lovely night. The breeze picked up, and by daylight, we had to put a reef in and we were going 7 to 8 knots. Phew! Felt great to be sailing fast again. Unfortunately, and of course, the seas picked up as well, and by midmorning we were thrashing through short chop with 20 to 25 knots - time for the double reef (not exactly the 4 knots predicted on our grib, by the way). Now it's back down to 12-16 and we're averaging 5.5 to 6, with the double reef still in, sailing fat to get through the chop. It's pretty good, except our current course will definitely require a tack! Less than 400 nautical miles to go! We are shooting for a Monday (Sunday for you people on the other side of the date line) arrival in Opua, NZ. Hope you all aren't bored by this boat speed, wind speed, sea state, blahblah talk. That and what we eat and how much sleep we get is pretty much what I think about. On another note, I've finally gotten into Kathleen Edwards's latest album, Voyageur. I was a bit put off by the hype surrounding its release, what with Bon Iver having a hand in its production and the fact that it's more pop-y and less alt-country than her previous work, but after a few night watch listens I am beginning to like it a lot. Her honesty in delivery always gets me - her voice is quite smooth and pure but once in a while there's a little blemish or imperfection and it's those moments that are the most expressive. Of course the sad songs are my favorites (cameleon, house full of empty rooms, pink champagne...). But the upbeat ones are great for staying awake as the night sky rolls by. I recommend it!
You're probably sick of hearing about what we're eating, but I'll tell you anyway that I made lentil soup for dinner last night, which was kind of strange, (it was a recipe I'd never made before and all I had were Indian yellow lentils), but it was good, and what made it delicious was the fresh bread.