27 October, 2014

Malua on Passage to Oz Day 1

Malua's position 23 24S 164 39E at 08:00 am on 28/10/2014

Malua left Noumea along with a number of other vessels all bound south either for New Zealand or Australia. It was a parade of Masters as we moved from Immigration, to Customs and then to the Harbour Masters office to get the required stamp or form. We all had the same objective clear our, fill up with duty free fuel and get going on our respective journeys.
I filled Malua's tanks with diesel which will give me a range of about 1,000 nm because the weather forecast indicates that I may have three or four days of light wind then go into some fairly strong wind along the Australian coast. I cant go too fast or else I will arrive during the weekend and have to fork out large sums of money for the authorities to clear me in on a Sunday.
The trip to the outer reef of New Caledonia was across the wind with just a sea chop to contend with but like all these short initial journeys a large P&O cruise liner appeared such that we could meet at the critical turning point in the channel. I had to stay way on the right to give him room to take the the corner and head for the port.
Once I had cleared the reef I set Malua's bow for Coffs Harbour and settled down for a six day passage. I had prepared a number of stews and curries with the Fiji meat I had in the freezer. This is to be supplemented with French bread and duck pate I had purchased at the local market. If nothing I am going to eat well.
The sun set on a relatively smooth quarter sea. I had a single reef in the main and the full genoa flying with and apparent wind angle of 120 a great sailing situation and Malua was going along at just over 7 knots. I had dinner of a Curry and boiled potatoes and settled down for the night with my new LED flood light illuminating the main sail. At about ten of clock the wind had increased to 18 so I furled the genoa a few turns and returned to my quarter berth. An hour later the AIS alarm went off with a vessel - Gas Shuriken on the screen at 10 miles only doing a speed of 1 knots and showing Not Under Command. A different situation: It may be broken down. I called them on the radio and indicated I would pass astern of them having just altered course 20 degrees to starboard. The Master told me they were awaiting instructions as to which port they should head to and would I please stand off 2 miles. An inconvenience but under the current sea and wind an easy task. I then sat and watched both on radar and AIS as I passed round the stern of the vessel and along their starboard side as they sat in the water going nowhere. It was well after 1:00 before I felt it was safe to return to my bunk. Another experience and interesting situation.
The morning found the wind had dropped off and I started the engine for what I think will be a long days slog over gentle seas. I am not alone, all the yachts on passage south where motor sailing, some slower than other. There appears to be a major weather event passing over Tasmania and hitting North Island on Thursday so people are hoping that that passes before they arrive. The weather report I heard for the west coat of Tasmania forecast 5 to 7 meter high seas. Not the place to be in a sailing vessel.
A Magical moment on Malua
At 10/26/2014 9:08 PM (utc) our position was 23°28.00'S 164°34.00'E

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