Katie M II
We are enjoying cruising first in Queen Charlotte Sound and now in Polorus Sound. It was good to meet up, in person, with Serge on Spirare after being radio friends for the past month. We are now in Homestead Bay. The weather this morning on our move from Forsyth Bay was cool but it is now clear and settled. All's well on board.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. Arrived safely at Waikawa Marina at 0945. Two very nice ladies from Customs and MPI were there to meet as well as a Guy from Port Services to help out afterwards. Everyone was very friendly and it all went smoothly. It feels good to be back in NZ. I timed my arrival at Cape Jackson just as we were getting the first rays of light - sailed all the way to that point. I'm very glad I didn't try the 24 nm up the channels in the dark - the charts are accurate but you needed to see all the twists and turns. I feel I was very lucky with the weather for the last 120 nm - it would be very tough in stormy conditions....like the ones coming this way on Tuesday. All in all a great trip. I haven't slept or napped for about 30 hours and believe it or not I am not tired....too wired I guess but I know it will hit me at some point!
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. Land-Ho....always an exciting moment after a long passage! I can see Stephens Island and behind that D'urville Island off my starboard bow. Actually it should have been land-ho this morning when I past farewell spit but the visibility wasn't great this morning and I deliberately gave the spit a wide berth so I didn't see it. No problem with vis this afternoon though - the sky is bright and clear. I have chosen to do the last 24 nm into Picton in daylight because of the narrow channels and less straight forward coastal piloting. To do this I am having to slow the boat down so as to arrive at Cape Jackson close to daylight. It's a pity because I currently have a nice NW wind and following sea that I could very easily be doing hull speed in. Instead we are bareheaded with a triple reefed main. Apart from that minor self inflicted frustration, all is well aboard.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. Started motoring today at first light. Motor would not start. No matter, switched and started it on the house bank. Got a fishing line out early and was rewarded with a nice tuna. Fast forward a couple of hours....after the clean up; tachometer is not working, oil pressure guage and temperature guage are not working. Turned off engine.....no engine alarms....not good. So what do all these things have in common....yeh....a common ground and I have a pretty good idea where it is. Take the side panel off the motor....there are actually two ground wires going to a 12mm bolt that a steel brace attaches to....take hold of the brace....it is flapping around and the other end is completely fractured off. The brace triangulates the bracket for the alternator and watermaker. Probably not a good idea to run without it so I decide to fabricate a replacement out of SS flat bar which hopefully will last the passage. Fast forward a couple of hours.....the new brace in on, the two ground wires are reconnected.....fire up the engine....engine alarms,tach, instruments etc are all working and hopefully the starter battery will now charge. And some people ask "don't you get bored on passage?" All is not totally peachy on board but we will probably get through OK! Separate subject....please raise a glass to the finest crew mate a Guy could ask for. I'm talking of Monty....on Mon, Tues and Wed he did a fantastic job of helming the boat for three days of great sailing in 15 - 25 knots of wind and kept Katie M exactly in the grove. He did this 24/7 and didn't even use any of my rations or beer. All he asks for is that I balance the sail plan. I used to think I could helm better than him...at least for short tricks on the wheel but after this stellar performance I have to say Monty.....you've got me beat....you are the helming champ! (Note: As most will deduce - Monty is my Monitor wind vane)
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. The front came through at 2230 hours last night. Winds about 25 knots - we were already reefed down so we just rode it out...not to bad. Another good days sailing....140+ nm day. I am not pushing....I have 3 reefs in the main and just the working jib but it is a good strength and direction and Katie is in the groove. Huge Mackeral sky at 1400 today....Mackeral skies and Mares tales, make tall ships carry small sails....so the wind is not over yet but I am expecting to be motoring on Thurs / Fri. An Albatros joined soared around me today....wish I had their speed - they can cover up to 1200 miles (or is it Kms!?) in a day. All's well on board.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. HEADLINES, HEADLINES, HEADLINES :- Katie M II sails into the roaring 40's (look at the Lat!) Well OK, only just into the 40's and they are not exactly roaring but I'm going to take bragging rights anyway! We sailed 149 nm in the last 24 hours with a pretty conservative sail plan. Katie M is pretty easily driven in good conditions. There are some darker clouds to the SW of us but nothing too serious looking. The barometer has dropped 2 points since 1000 hrs. A weakened front is expected to come through tonight....it would be good if this happened before dark. Anyway I don't have too much sail up so will deal with whatever is dished out. All's well on board.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. Great sailing day today. Wind has freed up a touch and apparent wind angle is about 70 degrees. The waves are not adding to our speed (forward of the beam) but they are not too big (1.7M) so they are not knocking us back either. The wind has got steady pressure in it constantly at 17 - 21 kts....the sort of conditions the Grand Prix racers love....Katie and crew are liking it too! I do however have a crisis of sorts - I am running out of underwear. How can that be you say - you have only been out 5 days....well it goes like this....everytime I put a clean dry pair on I spot a loose line or something that needs doing on deck. I'm not wearing wet weather gear - too warm and dry in the cockpit for that so I make an evaluation....the decks look pretty dry, we haven't had a green one over for hours, and it's only going to take me a minute....it will be fine. As soon as I venture out I get drenched from head to toe by the big green one....I swear it's happened to me within hours of my last 3 underwear changes. Once salty and wet they don't dry out. It's a crisis of sorts and I'm down to my last two clean dry ones....come what may I can't risk these! Like every cruising crisis there is a solution....the next time I venture out I will be naked - apart from my lifejacket and harness that is.....I'll leave you now with that frightful mental picture. All's well on board.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. I downloaded Gribs when I filed my YIT report yesterday. It was apparent (subsequently confirmed by a weather update from Bob McDavit) that I was going to get winds of this strength and this direction for several more days. I had been sailing with reefed main, my staysail and a partially rolled Genoa which we all know is too full....I was hoping it would work well enough to leave but I was just procrastinating. I made the decision to change to a working jib while I still had daylight - not an easy job with 20 kts of wind and 2.5M seas. Short story is I got the job done. Man...what an ugly sail it is...it only gets put up about 5% of the time when I get headed on passage and it's covered in rust stains from being put away wet next to the spare anchor; but it's built flat and strong which is what I needed. Once I got everything set up the boat was sitting up more and pointing higher and the helm is perfectly balanced. At about five knots the progress is OK but slow enough to minimize slamming. In the last 22 hours I haven't had to adjust the Monitor windvane or adjust jib or main trim....Katie just keeps jogging along. All's well on board.
PS ....had some trouble connecting tonight. The propagation models suggest later may be better...will try again in a couple of hours.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time....have changed both my watch and my chartplotter. Mixed bag today up and down my reefs and roller furling with winds from light to squally. The Barometer has now risen and the skies have cleared and winds have settled in the 14 - 20 area.....usefull strength but too much east in them to be comfortable...currently sailing about 60 degrees off the wind which is as close as Katie and I can handle in ocean conditions. All's well on board.
Position as of 1800 Hrs NZ Time. Was hit by a squall of more than 30 knots in the night. I was already sailing with 3 reefs in the main and some rolls in the headsail but a ton of pressure in that on the grind in. Katie M heaves-to best with just the deep reefed main so I soon had things set up....like someone had turned off a light switch! I've had a ton of rain on this trip - Katie's decks are the cleanest they have been for 3 months....wish I could send some to the firefighters in Aus! After the squall the wind was all over the place and I finally had to turn the motor on (batteries needed a charge anyway). Started sailing again at 1100 hrs NZ time. Wind has been anything from 10 to 22 kts mostly NNE - good sailing in patches. All's well on board.
Winds were in the 20's last night and we were down to 3 reefs + the staysail. It has moderated and freed up today and there has been some great sailing apart from some thunder / lightening / rain in the middle of the day.....fortunately not too close. I had good copy with my Ham friends this morning and Dieter pointed me in the right direction to fix a little glitch in my recently downloaded frequency list. All's well aboard!
Position report as of 1600 hrs Sydney time. Customs clearance went smoothly and got out to harbour entrance by 1030 hrs. Currently motor sailing. Great Dolphin encounter a couple of hours ago....bottlenosed I think....stayed with the boat for quite awhile. All's well aboard
This is a test....the position is our anchorage in Sydney and I am verifying I can send position reports for the upcoming voyage to NZ
We arrived at Bundaberg Port Marina at 1045 hrs on Tuesday 23 Oct - total passage time just over six days. The big question is whether we will be able to sleep when the constant throb of the diesel, that we've lived with for 3/4 of the trip, finally stops! It is great to arrive at our destination and meet up with so many other cruisers that we know who have converged on Bundaberg. The weather is great, the Marina looks good, everyone is super friendly so.....all is well!!
We had some good sailing with ~10-14 kts of SE wind last night then a bit more motoring and now again some reasonable winds - a nice way to end the trip. Only another 30 nm to go and all is well on board!
We had 7-8 kts of wind at 0300 Hrs and were able to get the boat moving reasonably well. The wind speed has fallen to the point we'll have to start motoring again. Hopefully there is a bit more wind up ahead. All's well on board.
Yesterday's breeze was just teasing us - we sailed for about 3.5 hours and then it was back to motoring. Our previous motoring record for a passage was 90 hours (New Cal to Opua in 2014). That record is about to fall! In spite of that all is well on board!
We have been motoring and motor sailing until 0530 hrs but with the dawn has come some light wind forward of the beam that we can do something with so...yippee the motor is off! All is well aboard.
The wind is almost non-existant so we continue to motor. It is a bright clear morning with just a few low clouds. All is well aboard.
We left Numea at 0915 hrs on Wednesday. We had great wind for the first 16 hours - broad reaching at over 7 kts. However, as per the forecast, the wind has died away and we have been motoring since 0115 hrs. All is well aboard.
We enjoyed our time at Ile Casy in Baie de Prony which included walks, snorkels, a dive on the Prony needle and a side trip to the hot springs (not so hot!) and cascades. Also lots of socializing with other cruisers and a rescue of a kite boarder stuck out in the Baie at dusk after the wind died. We have now moved up to Noumea in preparation for the jump to Bundaberg which may come as early as Wednesday.
We had an easy motor sail across from the Ile des Pins and we are now at Ile Casy in Baie de Prony. We caught a good Spanish Mackeral on the way over and Angela did a great job cooking the fish which we shared with our friends from Peregrine and Nina.
We decided to go from Yate to the Ile des Pins and left at 0430 hrs as it is a 52 nm trip. All went well and we had a mixture of motoring, motor-sailing and sailing and got in to Baie de Kuto at 1400 hrs. As we traversed the eastern end of Havana pass this morning we landed a nice little Walu. We had another strike about 5 nm from the anchorage that stretched the shock cord on my hand line right out to max - clearly something big!! The line went slack before I even got my gloves on....probably just as well - something that big would likely be very hard to handle. I still had the lure so it's all good. It is stunningly beautiful here in the Bay and we are sharing the anchorage with quite a few other rally boats
The conditions for moving south (light wind in the morning - SW winds off the land later in the day) were too good to miss out on so here we are at Yate. The wind accelerated up as high as 20 as we came level with some of the valleys or headlands and at other times fell below 10 kts making for an interesting sail! We are now within striking distance of Bay de Prony or Isle de Pine so we are going to take a lay day tomorrow and walk up to the Dam.
We enjoyed our visit to Ouvea but today we had to pay the piper - a long hard day motor sailing south. We were running short of daylight so we have bailed out at an anchorage 6nm short of our destination (Bouquet Bay).
Moved up to Ouvea. Good downwind sail at 6.5 - 7.0 Kts with just the Genoa in around 20 kts of apparent wind. We are anchored off the Paradise hotel. This is a low atoll so we are out of the waves but still plenty of wind.
As windward passages go this wasn't bad. Apparent wind was between 50 and 60 degrees at 16 - 25 kts - more than we needed but we were reefed down accordingly. Seas were not too bad - 1.5 - 2.0M. There is lots of room for the Go West fleet in this bay which is gorgeous - white sand and crystal clear water. Check in is tomorrow morning after which it is party time!
We spent 6 days in Vila - provisioning, fueling up and having meals ashore with cruising friends. My parts for my Autoprop arrived on Tuesday (5 days by DHL from England!) and I was able to get that fixed up on Wednesday. We left Vila at 1415 hrs on Saturday Sept 22 - destination the Island of Lifou in the Loyalties. We are sailing with an apparent wind angle of about 50 degrees which is as close as we want to go. We believe the wind direction and heading should get a bit better over the course of today and allow us to lay the NW corner of the island. We expect to be in the anchorage tomorrow morning. Apart from the discomfort of a beat with more wind than we need all is well on board.
Not a bad beat from Gaspard to Epi and then Epi to Emai where we met up with Peregrine. Today we had a great sail, close reaching in 17 - 23 kts. We are currently Esema Bay at the NE end of Havana Harbour. All in all not a bad trip back from Luganville.
We have moved around to Gaspard Bay which offers better protection from the strong south easterly (19 - 21 kts) winds that are blowing in open water.
We have had an interesting trip down the west side of Malakula Island. Last night we anchored in South West Bay. There is a large village (one of three in the bay) that is close to the anchorage and we went ashore and paid our respects to the chief. We also explored the lagoon and had appies with Jim and Debbie from Australia. Today a front was coming through but we forged ahead since strong southerlies are in the forecast for Thursday. The problem with today was that the wind was much stronger than forecast and seemed th head us whether we were heading down from South West Bay or across to the Maskelyne Islands. However we persevered and got to our destination on Uliveo Island by a combination of tacking and then motor sailing 30 degrees off the wind with the staysail up. We have met up with our friends Ian and Wendy on the Cat Outsider who were our leaders on the Makogai school building project of 2016.
We enjoyed our stay anchored off the beachfront resort in Luganville. Not only were we able to do laundry, reprovision, refuel etc. but it was a good place to meet up with cruising friends over a beer and a meal at the Beachfront Resort. We also did a few touristy things such as hire a taxi for a day, swim one of the Blue holes, snorkel Million Dollar Point, Dive on the wreck of the President Coolidge + Martin and four other cruisers did the all day Millenium Cave expedition. We are now moving south down the west side of Malacula and are currently at a beautiful anchorage on the NW coast - Molin Bay. A friendly villager took us to a great swimming hole up the river.
The back to our roots Festival culminating with the Rom dance on Friday was great. On Saturday we moved to Ranon (just 3nm south) and on Sunday Martin hiked to the top of the Ambryn volcano. It was a great hike but unfortunately the caldera was shrouded in mist and couldn't be seen. Today we were underway by 0400 hrs because we had 65nm to cover - we had a great sail, mostly dead downwind to our current anchorage in Luganville Bay on Espiritu Santo.
We had a good day at Banam Bay on Tuesday. Martin helped the chief with a problem with his solar panels and Angela took photos of the soccer team in their new uniforms. We had a good sail across to the NW corner of Ambrym and then a motor sail along the north shore. We are now anchored at Nopul at the NE corner of Ambrym. Tomorrow and Friday we plan to attend the back to your roots custom dance Festival.
We moved up to Banam Bay today. It is a beautiful bay protected from wind and swell in normal prevailing winds. We went ashore by dinghy and met the chief of the one village and his family. Our contact for delivering soccer jerseys and soccer balls for the Butterfly Trust is currently in Santos but we made contact with a friend who will make sure the donations get to the right place. Unfortunately the wind is going to clock around tonight and this is not the place to be in a northerly. We have therefore elected to return to Port Sandwich and let the system go through - we should be able to get back to Banam Bay on Tuesday.
We saw lots of turtles - some of them very big, but the resident dugong of Lamen Bay eluded us. We have therefore moved on. We had a good sail across (15 - 19 Kts broad reaching) and we are now in Port Sandwich on Malukula Island. This is a very well protected anchorage but we will not be snorkelling for dugongs or anything else at this anchorage. The remains of slaughtered cattle were once dumped here and the guide book warns cruisers to stay clear of one or more aggresive sharks that have taken up residence here!
We are now at Lamen Bay on Epi Island. This bay is nicely out of the wind but it has a surprising amount of roll so tonight will be a rolly night! Lamen Bay is famous for it's resident dugong. We plan to have an early morning snorkel to see if we can see him before heading to our next anchorage on Malakula Island.
We are now at Emae Island anchored on a patch of sand between the reefs. This is a very beautiful place. We had a good snorkel between the boat and the shore - lots of interesting canyons + 3 turtles. The villagers are very friendly.
We have now left Vila and we are on our way north. First Port of call - Havana Harbour.
We arrived in Port Vila 10:40 a.m. after a good passage with generally good trade wind sailing except for some squally conditions in the early hours of Sunday that kept us busy up and down the reefs. Sunday afternoon and night we had strong SE winds of 18 - 27 kts that kept us barrelling along with just a deep reefed main and staysail. Currently in the Quarantine anchoring area waiting for immigration.
A little bit of a frustrating night. Wind was up and down all night with squalls. Reefs were going in and out all night long. Had a light wind spell this morning and had to motor for a while. Now wind has filled in and we hope it lasts until we get to Vila. ETA late morning or midday tomorrow. All is well on board.
We were able to stop motoring at 1800 hours on Friday and are now sailing in pleasant light trade winds. All is well on board.
We had to turn motor on at 10:00 hrs today because, as forcasted, we have a light wind day today. The forcast calls for the SE trades to come back during the night and carry us all the way to Vila. All is well on board.
We have checked out of Fiji heading to Port Vila. Good trade wind conditions at present. All is well on board.
We have had a good trip south from Blue Lagoon. Landed a good Walu yesterday. We had a great swim with Manta Rays this morning at first light. We are currently anchored at Mana Island.
Currently at Blue Lagoon along with our friends Doreen and Ian. Had a good sail up from Manta Ray pass today in 14 - 19 Kts of E wind. Had a small fish on today but it managed to get away before we got it aboard!
Good sail over from Vuda. Good to be back in Musket Cove....even if it is a bit blustery! Kylie has a flight out on Tues so it's good to be where we can swim and snorkle.
We are currently at Saweni Bay. Will be going into Vuda Point in the morning.
We arrived in Viani Bay on Sunday and left Tues after two great dives on Rainbow reef. We tied to a mooring ball at Paradise Resort (Taviuni)on Tuesday night. The SE trades have picked up today and we had a great 35 nm sail to Koro with just a partially rolled Genoa. We now have this beautiful anchorage to ourselves. Our power issues continue so we are heading west instead of our original plan to go to Fulaga.
We are on the move again! We left Savusavu at 0700 Hrs heading up to Viani Bay. Currently anchored at Fawn harbour. It was a good sail but rainy mostly all day.
We are safely on a mooring bouy at Savusavu awaiting customs clearance. This trip is one for the memory books with some of everything. We used all but 4L of our fuel (100 hours) so that was more motoring than we like but we also had some great sailing - boisterous fast reaching, some hard work to windward, a wind change so fast and violent that I had to cut away a sail and finally a fast run to the barn with the wind behind us - we had it all! We are all well - the crew did great - hats off to Kylie on her first ocean passage. 1295 nm in 11.5 days minus a 2 day stop in Minerva.
Rough night with sudden increase in wind speed with gusts over 40 kts and a sustained period over 30 Kts - this was not on our forecast. We are all well and will be in Savusavu later tonight
We have kept just enough fuel to get into port (6L). We used the rest to motor sail north on Thursday night to get into some better winds. At first light this morning we raised the full main and genaker and have been ghosting along in very light air averaging about 7 kts. We have kept the boat moving and have now been rewarded with slightly more wind that will hopefully carry us in to Savusavu. It is going to be a bit slow but we will get there!
just enough fuel to use on arrival - they hope!
We have motor sailed for a day and a half in search of the illusive SE trades. The wind is slightly more now than it has been so we are trying the Genaker - not really enough but we are rationing fuel now. It was a nice day today - very warm.
turned the motor off an hour ago. There will be no report for a couple of days as Gulf Harbour radio has gone AWOL
via Pilgrim as radio not strong enough to reach Gulf harbour
All well on board. (report came in at 8am)
Arrived at the Q-dock in Opua at 9.00 AM NZ time on Sunday morning. The last few days have been perfect sailing in moderate SW and then W winds.
It has been a good trip - 8.8 days, 1215 nm, moving average 5.7 kts, used less than 20L of fuel. Not bad for a small boat with just 2 crew!
eta noon Sunday in Opua
Had front from midnight to 6am and still have some residual leftovers but will clear this soon
good radio signal from Martin this morning
about half way
woke up to 4S and 205cc but now in a squall
not heard at GHRadio and relay from Villamee.
Currently back at Musket Cove - looking for a weather window back to NZ - ideally leaving in the next 7 - 15 days.
We are currently at Manta Ray Pass - moving up the Yasawas chain
Currently anchored at Musket Cove ready for the Regatta. It has been great to meet up with Doreen and Ian on Sea Bride
Have made it around the north and west side of Viti Levu to Vuda Point where we'll re-provision the boat before heading out to Musket Cove and the Yasawas
Have left Makogai and are now heading west on the north side of Viti Levu. Anchored last night at Naigani and plan on Verevere / Tobabasaga Bay tonight.
Arrived safely at Savusavu at daybreak this morning after a great trade wind passage from N. Minerva. Got boat cleared in by lunch time and will now have to get our land legs back!
very happy with the great sailing conditions - but will need to slow down for a monday arrival
will not get more wind until later today
will leave around 4pm for Savusavu
Will wait until tomorrow or the next day. two benefits in this - they will arrive during the business week for check in and the weather will be clearer.
leaving tomorrow ! They have cabin fever.
still in N Minerva waiting for the front to pass. they are on the bottom edge of it
a bit rolly in N Minerva at net time due high tide. They are under the front.
anchored in a good spot in N Minerva
incredible visibility snorkeling. Sight of a white tip!
a little rocky in S Minerva but a good long sleep was had
making a b line for S Minerva to get there before dark. Will stay there and move to N Minerva on Thursday and wait out a front before carrying on to Savusavu
Great signal from Martin this morning on the GHRadio net. They will be stopping at n Minerva
good direction wind for the last 24hr.
via Field Tripp relay - thanks. They hove- to last night when the worst of the front hit but making progress now.
They are off! left yesterday. Will get sw winds tomorrow
eta Sun evening
Destination changed to Opua as fuel and wx situation make this a better option. 300miles to Cape Brett so good timing
got front at 2qm last night. Alls well.
eta Nov 2 so JUST before the front the next day
hdg to Havannah Pass
will arrive PV in a few hours
Tanna to Erromango
Tanna to Erromango
waiting to enter anchorage at Aneityum
on passage, We left Vuda Point at 1330 hrs on Mon 15 Sept and plan to be into Aneityum at first light on Friday.
No blogs available for this yacht.