Leaving Mangonui, the forecast was good, our history on the West Coast not so much.
We had champagne sailing up and round Cape Reinga, our fractional gennaker getting another great run. It was great to clock off some easy quick miles, something that really didn?t happen in the Round New Zealand race.
Cape Reinga in the distance
Now 2 am off Pandora bank, 20 odd knots dead on the nose, really dark and bit lumpy too, West Coast welcome back. I remember this.
Luckily for us the wind played ball, easing and going west, we tacked onto starboard and started getting south, going back up through the sails, enjoying it again, nice. So far our wind data had been very accurate, we were feeling quite comfortable, but about 100 miles north of New Plymouth on our second night we got a front a bit earlier than we expected, the wind going more south catching us below the rhum line, (more inshore) a bit less than ideal, we paid a little to get back up off New Plymouth.
Next stage of the leg was from New Plymouth down to Cook Strait. We expected the wind, about 15 to 20 knots to increase as it squeezes over the South Island, and it did, giving us some really quick reaching. While far from rough, near the South Island the odd waves stood up a bit. One even lifted me up from my driving seat and put me on the other side of the cockpit, bit undignified, but I didn't feel too bad about being clipped on.
Again as happens so often around the coast within a couple of hours the situation changed dramatically, into another picture perfect day. Cook straight could not ever look better, and we nailed the tide (by good luck, but if you do it often enough?) we had a strong current with us all the way through the straight.
The absolute highlight of the leg for me, will always be gybing the spinnaker off Cape Terawhiti in about 20 knots and just flying round the cape, (the tide current boosting our speed by 3 knots) we determined we would hold the spinnaker until the last moment, and dropped it just off Karori rock, (famous for tidal rips) and just beside an interisland ferry. I hope they got some good photos.
We did a quick change to the #3, and headed into the harbour, finishing just before 4pm on Thursday. Our shore team arrived and for once Sally and I relaxed into a social afternoon. We cleaned the boat on Friday and have spent the last 2 days just hanging out and enjoying the city.
Our start today is at 17:00, the next leg is supposed to be on the wind, which should in theory be good for us, but we are just taking this race hour by hour and not getting ahead of ourselves.