Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Tomorrow is looking good…


Tomorrow looks like a good departure date.  Having had a drop of cold condensation from our aluminium window frames land in me as I climbed out of bed this morning, it’s about time! New Zealand is having a winter blast from the south east.  

Picking a departure date needs a lot of patience because weather being weather and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it.

To help us decide, we use a number of computer based weather models created very various countries GFS (American), ECMWF (European), ACCESS (Australian) and ICON (German).  We access these models using an app called Windy on our iPads - no account needed for basic functions.


Leaving as a High approaches NZ gives us a good wind direction towards Suva, Fiji. All the models are the same which would be expected as Friday is tomorrow. We should have moderate winds from the southeast and should be on a comfortable broad reach. 


By Tuesday, out halfway mark, the models are still pretty similar and we expect to be motoring through the High. We expect to motor for 24 to 48 hours in a slight sea. There might be a bit of gentle sailing but we are psychologically prepared to use the engine.  This is the most expensive of diesel tank at $1.69 US a litre we have ever purchased. The most expensive 60 litres of diesel we have ever bought was in Bermuda that at $2.09 a litre back in 2017. I shudder to think how much it is today.

FYI - Tim has a spreadsheet where he records when, where and how much our diesel purchases cost.

Our plan is to head eastward throughout the passage because the final third or so of our 9 day at sea will be in the Tradewinds which blow from East to West.  We don’t want to end up west of Fiji and have to sail East into the wind to get there.


By Friday of next week we expect to be a put where the wind speed mark is on the top of the high. This is the GFS model and is a little more extreme than the other models, but we are almost above the High and into the Tradewinds where the models agree more or less. We expect to arrive on Sunday.

We have some last minute stowing to do tomorrow and I’ve decided that our first night at sea will be a Methi Paneer curry, which I will make today.  I have dried methi (fenugreek) leaves to use up and paneer, Indian curd cheese, to use up and want a meal that will stay hot the longest.  We have 12 hours of night right now and once the sun sets it gets pretty cold.  For us anyway. We usually eat together in the cockpit but we might well take turns eating down below. We will have to see. 

When we left Tonga for New Zealand, we were told by someone who knew that the temperature dropped 3 degrees C each day as you sailed south.  It is warming to think of the temperature rising 3 degrees daily as we head north.

We might be finding it cold at the moment but the locals are made of sterner stuff.


The annual Paihia to Russell Open Water Swim. The distance is about 3.2 km and the estuary is tidal and would add to the challenge particularly for the slowest.

So our plan is set and unless there are some drastic changes to the weather in the latter half of our passage we will clear out with Customs and Immigration and then depart tomorrow morning.

We have brilliant sunshine and it should be a lovely, if cold, start to our sail Fiji. 

You can follow our progress via our posts to FollowingSea.com which are displayed at the top of our blog.

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