Running away and Groundhog Day

When I wrote last I was planning on going to the Chatham Islands (about 500 miles off the coast). I had a favourable weather window and the boat was repaired and ready to go. On the Saturday night I did a final download of the weather Grib files and checked to make sure everything was good to go. Fortunately I checked the weather for the following week and this is what I saw…

IMG_0203The map shows a tropical cyclone on the way that would hit the Chathams in a week. As Dick Grillo suggested, getting off the boat and leaving her to defend herself would be the sensible option in that weather. I decided to run as far south as I could instead to be on the safe side. The storm is now a category 5 with winds of 170 mph and is expected to hit the Chathams on Monday – I am so glad I spotted it and didn’t go out there.

So I left Napier heading for Wellington. The coast is notorious for its onshore winds and lack of shelter so it was an all-or-nothing endeavour. 10 hours into the trip, on my usual evening engine check I discovered the Heat Exchanger mount had sheered again on the other side…P1010695

I felt it was essential to have the engine as back up as I was rounding Cape Palliser that is notorious for wind against tide bumpy bits and there was 30 knot winds scheduled for my arrival at Wellinton heads (again very tidal).

Rather than turn back I decided to do as good a repair as I could manage and carry on. I manufactured an angle bracket from metal I had on board and sorted it out there and then – it took 2 hours in the bouncy conditions.


Cape Palliser turned out to be a huge surprise with Ben Nevis sized mountains rolling into the sea. The walking (tramping to kiwi’s) looked fabulous with 3 multi day ridge walks visible from the boat.


This was my second night out and it had been two days since I had slept more than 20 minutes in one sitting so the company of Albatros and the two sea lions was much appreciated. The sight of a sea lion toying with live fish and throwing them in the air was amazing but a little macabre.

P1010710It was another 3 am arrival into the marina. It had an odd set up of poles sticking out of the water in the form of pile moorings and because I wasn’t thinking straight, I slalomed between them to get to a berth. A couple on the boat next door (Mike and Barbara) met me the next morning and helped me find an engineer (Dave), who welded me up a super strong bracket that day and I was fully mobile again.

Ivor Levin, a long time friend from Scotland happened to be in Wellington on a course, so that night we ended up in Lower Hutt drinking beers and telling lies… happy days!


One thought on “Running away and Groundhog Day

  1. Hi Jason, I’m happy that you are having adventures! Who would have thought that so much time on a sailing trip would be spent working on engines.

    Being St Patrick’s day – I hope that you’ll be accorded the respect that Irish people deserve everywhere on this day. I imagine that you’ll be expected to be able to sing and play fiddle?

    I particularly liked the sea lion story, shame about the Chathams.

    I’ve got a good mate in Wellington if you are there for a while. Stu Farrant would love to see you if he knew you were in town. I’m sure he + young family would just love to visit, see the boat and hear about what you’ve done. Let me know if you’ve got time for visitors, or would like a local contact.


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