1100 Nautical Miles to New Zealand!

Nov 25, 2017| 8 Comments

Finally, finally, after nearly 3 weeks of cooling our heels anchored off the coast of Fiji waiting for a good weather window to sail to New Zealand, it is looking good for us to set forth. The weather forecast predicts a fairly benign passage with winds no higher than 20 knots and only for a short time. It also looks like we can expect to be motoring the last 200nm into New Zealand under dying winds. Our main concern is that we get to New Zealand, safely tied up to the Customs Dock, before the weather turns unfavorably nasty. It is 1100 miles to the Customs Dock in Opua in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. That is a long way to go in a car, but in a cruising yacht averaging about 6 nm per hour, it feels even longer. It will take us 6 – 7 days. To be honest, however, we are more than ready to be on the move.  

Friday, November 17th – There are so many organizational details to complete prior to a passage that by the time you have yourself provisioned, fueled and cleared out of the country to hit the ocean road, you are exhausted, if not physically, at least mentally. Wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we like to anchor for the night somewhere in a secluded spot to catch our breaths. Then, after a good night’s sleep, with mind and body refreshed, we are ready to set forth. Not all countries are amenable to this dalliance, for once cleared out of a country, they want you on your way. It is definitely forbidden in New Zealand and Australia, though we did spend 2 nights at anchor off an island after checking out our last time in Australia. It was not the passage weather that kept us from leaving, it was a sudden nasty turn in the local weather just offshore that would have made it uncomfortably dicey to depart. It took 2 days for conditions to settle before we could safely leave. Even though cleared out of a country, with a valid excuse, the authorities will not force you to leave if there is a safety issue. Nobody wants to be conducting an offshore rescue mission if that safety issue becomes life threatening. Thus, as long as you don’t set foot on land, a little leeway can be contrived.

Dropping anchor in Momi Bay just across from Navula Pass with an “electrical problem shorting out our instruments”, just in case someone were to question our presence, we do a final securing of the boat for passage, enjoy a savory roasted chicken on our Baby Q, and, prior to heading in for a good night’s sleep, go for a swim where the phosphorescence in the water delights The First Mate with its sparkling starbursts glittering in the water around them.

Day 1 – Saturday, November 18th – 0830 – The Captain does not want The First Mate to make breakfast before leaving even though, by tradition, she normally does so on the morning of a departure. To be honest, she is not an early morning breakfast person, and because her insides are in their usual anxious, pre-passage knot, that’s fine with her. Anchor up, we motor out the pass. Fiji is experiencing its own weather low over all the country. The forecast has changed from the usual “fine with rainy spells” to “grey skies with frequent periods of rain,” We motor through Navula Pass exactly as the weather predicted: under a leaden sky with light drizzling rain.

As we clear Navula Pass, a school of small dolphins escorts us on the way. Leaping and twisting through the air, they are a delight to see and impossible for her i-Phone camera to catch.

The jib is unfurled but that only lasts for about 30 minutes. With a light breeze coming from somewhere behind us, the wind indicator is spinning in circles, and the sail is flapping uselessly. Sail furled, we motor down a dark coast under a heavy grey sky.

The Captain has determined that no matter our form of locomotion, be it wind or diesel, he wants to maintain a minimum speed of 5 knots. The idea is to get to New Zealand before the present favorable weather window changes. Into the early afternoon, we motor. The wind freshens a bit allowing us to unfurl the jib so we can get a little wind assist from the sail, but there is not enough wind for us to sail at the speed The Captain wants. Watching out from the protection of our storm shelter, we skirt rain clouds with an occasional drenching until late in the afternoon when the sun finally comes out.

With the calm seas giving the boat a gentle roll and except for the thrumming sound of the diesel engine, it is quite pleasant. Just a couple more knots of wind would allow us to sail, but that is not predicted anytime soon.

We note that there are more seabirds flying around us out here at sea than we ever saw on land. It has amazed us that there appear to be very few birds on some of the island nations here in the Pacific. In our sailing experience, both coasts of the American Continent are alive with seabirds. How fascinating it was to watch the pelicans dive for fish in Mexico! There are no pelicans that we have seen on these islands. A few might be spotted in Australia and New Zealand, but definitely not in the vast numbers one sees along our shores. Isla Isabella, a very small island off the coast of Mexico, is home to thriving colonies of frigates, boobies and seagulls. We have all read about, if not seen, the number of birds in the Galapagos, but journey across the south Pacific islands we have visited and that rich, abundant seabird life disappears. There are seabirds, yes, but they are not great in number or variety. Why? It would seem that these islands once had no natural predators and even with the introduction of dogs and rats brought in by the Europeans, they certainly are not less inhabitable than other areas thriving with birds. The fish are certainly as abundant here as anywhere else. The climate is eminently livable with no frigid winters. Were the distances too great to travel, but even if so, why has the population of those species that did make it to these islands not exploded? The First Mate is going to ask the next ornithologist she meets!

(NOTE: She does ask much later and learns that with little alternative animal protein available on these islands, the early inhabitants naturally added these sea birds and their eggs to their diet. As has happened with many species across the world, the birds were practically eaten out of existence. That makes sense to her, but she still does not understand why now in modern times when the birds are no longer dietary stables, their populations have not grown dynamically.)

1830 – Dinner is a one-dish pasta which turns out to be pretty miserable in The First Mate’s opinion. It’s not so much the recipe itself. It is the grated mozzarella cheese that when melted on top is of a tasteless, paste-like consistency. Obviously, we’re not in Italy! Sadly, this dish has to go for another dinner and then lunch. Maybe she can come up with something else.

With the first night offshore almost upon us, we make sure our gear is ready and handy. Flashlights are within reach. Our headlamps work. We already have the jack line attached that runs around the perimeter of the boat. To this, we attach ourselves with a heavy-duty hook if we need to exit the cockpit for any reason. Each lifejacket is ready to be worn. Though we allow ourselves not to wear it during daylight unless conditions are exceedingly rough, we are strict about our rule to always wear it on watch at night whether outside on deck or seemingly secure down below.

Attached off the aft end of the boat, we have two man-over-board devices. One is a Lifesling harness that can be deployed out to the man overboard. Secured by line to the boat, one then cleverly hauls the floater on board. There are even pictures to show how to retrieve an unconscious floater. The other is a small box that with a yank on a cord sends out dye, a floating marker and a float. They both sound wonderful – definitely wise to have on one’s boat – and would probably work just fine on a calm day on a lake where there is no strong current and no raging seas. It would help, too, if the situation happened in broad daylight and if the one left on board were to know immediately that one’s companion has gone for a swim. 

The First Mate has taken boating classes where Man-Over-Board drills were practiced. The drills always assumed that there were three people on board and that all three happened to be on deck when one of them somehow got catapulted into the sea. Person number one immediately points to the person in the water and maintains that en point position until the floater is rescued. Person Number Two springs to the helm. If under motor, the boat is quickly turned around to drive back to where the floater is being pointed out by Person Number One. If under sail, the boat is turned around quickly.  “Quickly” in The First Mate’s opinion is just not an operative word for her with a boat under sail and a person in the water. The only thing “quickly” that should be done, as far as she is concerned, is turn the motor on, drop the main, let the jib flap, and motor back to the floater. That option was not presented on any of her practice drills. It assumed one would just sail on back to the floater. Maybe that can be done on a calm day in placid waters, but definitely not on a roughed-up ocean. The Captain and The First Mate have discussed man-over-board drills, but we both know that the best plan is not to fall out of the boat in the first place. In rough seas, at night, the chances of the one person left on this boat finding the floater and getting to the poor soul in time are slim. It’s a risk we have acknowledged and accepted.

1900 – 2200 – The Captain stands the first 3-hour night watch. The wind has been gradually moving forward from the beam to the bow of the boat. We are now heading directly into it, and therefore, we are somewhat pleased that the wind is only about 9 knots. Much more than that would have us fighting wind and seas to make headway. Avante is moving along at a nice 7-knot clip in the calm seas. Other than a few heavy rain showers and a strange slowly blinking light in the distance, his watch is uneventful. He decides the light must be a fishing boat because there is no pinpoint of land out there marked with a light, and nothing of size shows up on radar.

2200 – 0100 – There is no rain on The First Mate’s watch, though it is a dark, dark, pitch-black night. There is not the slightest definition of horizon out there. We’re not journeying across the ocean. No, we’re in a cave on a river going deeper into center of the earth. She keeps the radar on for reassurance since it is the only thing that can “see” out there right now. By the end of her watch, clouds have begun to clear, and a few valiant stars can be seen. How she misses the comfort of a moon up above! Even a sliver of one would shine a little light into the void.

Day 2 – Sunday, November 19th – 0100 – 0400 – Another quiet watch. Wind is still on the nose. We have run into a current which is decreasing our speed by a knot. The night sky has cleared. More stars are out. By the end of The Captain’s watch, the horizon can be discerned, and with that, he switches off the radar since it is no longer needed.

0400 – 0700 – The First Mate is delighted to see so many stars. She feels not so alone out here in the dark. There’s the Southern Cross and Orion, but she cannot make out the cluster she calls the Chipmunk. She knows its location in relation to the Southern Cross, but she cannot discern it.

0530 –The sky has begun to lighten, but a proper sunrise is not going to be seen. Avante has motored under a dark line of clouds, though the darkest, thickest part is off the port side. A big rain cloud with winds now well into the teens and much more turbulent seas is bearing down on us, but with a little luck, we may just skirt the worst of it. This is not exactly the way she likes to greet the day!

0600 – We skirted it! No rain. The ominous dark clouds are all behind us, and ahead is all a light grey cloud cover. No sun yet, but winds are into the teens. Apparent wind angle has increased to 30°. We can sail. The First Mate wakes The Captain to tell him, but he says he’ll sleep until his watch in another hour before working with the sails. He’s also not too sure the wind will stay this way once the after effect of the storm has passed  – so why bother just yet?

0700 – With the winds in the teens, we are uncomfortably crashing into the waves. The Captain, now on watch, unfurls the jib, changes our angle of sail by 15° to keep the jib full, turns off the engine, and, no longer crashing into the waves, we are sailing. No noisy engine thrumming away as we listen solely to wind and water. The clouds have flown away, and the sun is out. Heavenly!

Buttered toast and a deliciously ripe mango are served for breakfast. The Captain tunes the SSB radio to the morning weather briefing given by a couple of former cruisers now based in Gulf Harbour, New Zealand. We are eager to hear if the low around New Zealand is moving east as forecast and taking those 35-knot winds with it. The First Mate, knowing she can do nothing about the weather, heads off to bed to finish her night’s sleep.

Upon waking, she asks The Captain what he learned from Gulf Harbour. Though this dedicated couple man their little weather advisory station 6 days a week with Sunday being their day off, this Saturday, he learned via radio chatter that they had decided to go “roving” and would not be making their Saturday report. They’ll be back on Monday morning as usual.

Unexpected but definitely welcomed, the winds hold enabling us to sail throughout the whole day under sunny skies. The seas have picked up so the ride is not as smooth, but it is tolerable.

1600 – We take our afternoon showers off the aft end of the boat where we have a fresh water hose. It’s still warm in the sunshine, but we wonder how much longer it will be comfortable enough to bathe out here. We are going south after all. South means colder in this part of the world, and we know that in a few days, closer to New Zealand, we’ll be in fleece for our evening watches.

1900 – The First Mate tries turning her pasta casserole into a kind of lasagne by layering sautéed spinach and that miserable mozzarella cheese in the middle. She adds more Italian seasoning and tomato sauce. Voilà! Her creation is not all the bad, so she thinks. He is not impressed. He liked last night’s better. Thus, she will leave the rest of the leftovers untouched and just nuke it up for lunch.

1945 – With the wind decreasing to 8 – 11 knots from the SSW, we must again turn on the engine and motor sail for an hour. Getting no further assist from the sail as the wind drops to under 9 knots, we furl the sail to motor on through a beautiful, clear, star-filled night.

Day 2 – Sunday, November 19th – 0145 – With winds finally returning to 10 – 15 knots from the SW, The Captain unfurls the jib and turns off the engine. Sailing again!

0400 – Our first cargo ship on its way to Noumea, New Caledonia is past. All alone out here on this vast ocean and, except for satellite and SSB radio, out of touch with land, it is nice to see the occasional friendly passing. Our AIS system spotted this cargo ship long before we could see its lights in the distance. On the chart, its position and heading is shown. Avante is the triangle heading south. The other triangle is the cargo ship heading west. It is still a good distance out.

Clicking to the detail page of the AIS, it shows us the CPA (closest point of encounter) and TCPS (time until CPA). The closest distance between our 2 ships will be about 2.0nm and that will occur in 16:43 minutes as the cargo ship passes behind us. What an invaluable asset this AIS system is! At night, by eye alone, it is extremely difficult to judge the direction and timing of a ship in the distance.

0445 – We managed about 3 hours of sailing before another shortage of wind means the engine must be engaged. We are determined to keep up our 5-knot minimum speed just in case that favorable weather window down around New Zealand closes on us.

1015 – With the amount of motoring we have been doing, we need to transfer 2 of our 50 liter auxiliary fuel containers to the port tank. Out come all the tubes and stuffing cloths. When properly placed in the container and the top stuffed with the cloths, The Captain blows into the tube, creating pressure so that the diesel begins syphoning from the container to the tank. Even though The First Mate understands the physics of the whole operation, she still finds it somewhat magical.

Fuel transfer completed, we motor on through the day and into the evening with one short 1-hour spurt of sailing. What a boring day! Sitting on deck, we watch the boat chug along and the ocean world slip by. We alternate catching up on our sleep and continue with our various projects, but after our quiet weeks of waiting for this passage, enthusiasm for reading and our various sedentary projects has begun to pale.

Day 3 – Monday, November 20, 2017 – 0200 – Captain’s Log: “Another dark night. It’s overcast with winds from SW at 6 – 8 knots. Just motoring slowly south.”

In another hour, with the winds having clocked to the west, the jib is unfurled giving us a little lift. On through the heavy night we motor with occasional rain showers giving us something to think about.

Here we are 4 days into what is definitely looking to be an 8-day passage, and we are still mostly motoring to maintain our average speed of 5 knots. More importantly, we are using up fuel. We cannot motor the whole way to New Zealand! Avante, even with her reserves, does not carry that much fuel. We are caught in a Catch 22 moment. We need to keep up that 5-knot minimum speed in order to get to New Zealand before the fair weather changes. At the same time, we can’t keep using up all this fuel because we do expect to have to motor the last 100 or so nautical miles to the Quarantine Dock in Opua. What to do?

In the morning, The Captain checks the daily weather updates. To his relief, though nothing has changed regarding the wind, they do show that the good weather around New Zealand is supposed to hold longer than initially predicted. That’s significant news. The weather forecasting couple out of Gulf Harbour, now back on SSB radio after their weekend break, now say that conditions should be good all the way to November 29th for those traveling into New Zealand. In fact, they state that the weather window we are now motoring through is the best they have seen in quite a long time for any passage into New Zealand. That in itself is quite a statement!

0730 – Captain’s Log: “Wind is up just slightly at 7 – 9 kts from W. We can’t motor all the way to New Zealand, so we raise the mainsail and turn off the engine. We only make 4 kts of SOG, but the latest forecasts show more light wind ahead and no issues with delaying our NZ arrival.”

1140 – For 4 hours, we slowly sail along until the wind drops to 5 knots from the South when we must furl the jib and turn the motor on, for there’s no sense to just wallowing out here in the ocean.

1415 – Captain’s Log: “Wind is up to 6 – 8 kts, and we turn the engine off and raise the jib. Wind direction is still from the S so we sail southeast getting further east of the rhumbline. We hope the easting will come in handy when we get the SE tradewinds closer to New Zealand.” 

Throughout the day, we sail when we can, but mostly we motor. At 1615, we transfer another precious auxiliary tank into our fuel tank. At sunset, we’re rewarded with a beautiful sight, though the wind finally calls it quits. On goes the motor, and we continue into the night with winds seldom over 5 knots.

Day 4 – Tuesday, November 21st – 0400 – With winds increased to 8 knots from SSW, we’re sailing again. Throughout the morning, they increase to 12 knots, though they have definitely turned to the south, meaning that in order to sail, we are heading more east of New Zealand than directly toward it. We expect the winds to eventually shift more easterly enabling us to correct coarse toward New Zealand.

1200 – 4 days out, and we have only now passed the halfway point. 540nm miles to Opua, New Zealand still to go!

1810 – Captain’s Log: “Have had a nice day sailing, but made limited progress toward New Zealand due wind direction from S. Turn on engine briefly to reef the main for the night. Go to 2nd reef.”

With the usual flukey winds at sunset, we furl the jib and turn on the engine, but by 2015, with the winds up to 9 knots from the SE, we are back to full sailing. Though on a hard tack, we are at least headed for Opua!

Day 5 – Wednesday, November 22nd – From The First Mate’s perspective, the next 24+ hours are pretty miserable. Not only has she become a fair-weather skier, she expects the same of her sailing time. Wimp, yes, she knows she’s a wimp, but she kind of considers that at almost 70, she has earned some wimpy time.

Mostly, we sail quietly through the night under a partly cloudy sky, but at 0600, a series of rain showers with winds of 16 – 18 knots hit us.

0800 – Winds have built to 25 knots from the SE, and seas are 2 meters. The 1st reef is put in the jib. Fortunately, we already had the 2nd reef in the main. Under overcast and frequent rain showers, we sail on. The good news is that our SOG is now up to 7 – 8 knots. The bad news is it’s a hold-on-tight, bruising ride for the Wimpy Sailor.

1300 – The 2nd reef is put in the jib when the winds back to the ESE. On through the day and into the night, the 20 – 25 knot winds and rain squalls continue.

Day 6 – Thursday, November 23rd – 0045 – The First Mate, on watch, feels something is not right. Winds are still in the 20 – 25 knot range. Sitting at the top of the gangway stairs, her usual night watch location, she quickly stands up to look around. The autopilot is engaged. No blinking warning light there. She shines the flashlight on the sails. All seem okay except that the wind appears to be moving forward. There’s a change in pressure. Is the wind shifting? An even bigger blow coming in? She rushes below to wake The Captain checking the autopilot again as she goes. It’s okay, but what is going on? This may sound like it’s happening over the course of several minutes, but in reality, it’s mere seconds that are passing. In a deep sleep, The Captain comes to groggily and doesn’t catch the urgency in her voice. Something is not right! Boat seems fine to him. He goes off to the head while she rushes back topside. It is then that she sees the blinking light of the autopilot. It has disengaged. She yells that to The Captain to alert him. Now, scrambling past her, he races to the helm. Winds are over 25 knots. It is absolutely pitch black, and we can hear, though cannot see, that the sails are flapping madly. With autopilot not working, the boat has rounded up and gone through the wind. The jib is now backed by the wind. The Captain starts the engine to get control and begins to turn back toward our course, but it is very dark with no external reference for steering. Wind direction keeps changing. The boat is bouncing wildly, and we can’t see where or what is happening to the wind on the sails.

There’s a sailor’s knot located on the midpoint of the wheel. It is a visual and physical presence that tells the helmsman when the rudder is centered or neutral. With no lights and no headlamp, The Captain cannot easily find this central point. Twice he oversteers with sails flapping, boat careening and waves splashing. The First Mate crouched on the deck, braced to keep herself from bouncing around or out of the boat, wants to help, but at this point, there is nothing she can do but stay out of the way as the struggle goes on around her. It is just too hard with no visuals,  and 25 knots of wind that is changing direction to keep the boat sailing close to the wind. The Captain turns the boat until the wind is off the port quarter. Finally, the boat is under control. Together, we work at getting the autopilot to reset. That takes a while, but eventually we settle back on course. Whatever happened? We’ll never know for sure, but The Captain has his hypothesis.

Captain’s Log: “What probably caused this event was a strong wind from a passing storm cloud which the autopilot could not keep up with. Within 5 minutes after we had recovered, winds were down to 15 kts. on the backside of the cloud. Winds then went back to 20 – 25 kts. from ESE, and we put a 3rd reef in the jib.”

On into the black night we sail, but, to The First Mate’s relief, by 0700, clouds are clearing and the wind has decreased to 18 – 20 knots ESE. We’re sailing toward New Zealand. Things are looking up. Even the seas are down to 1 meter. At noon, The Captain announces that we are a mere 237nm from Opua. Almost there!

At sunset, despite the events of the early morning hours, we acknowledge that we have had our first really good sailing day of the passage. We’ve been averaging 8 – 9 knots. The wind has moved to the beam at 16 – 19 knots. Skies are partly sunny, seas have calmed, and we’re headed directly to Opua.

1900 – With the winds down to 14 – 17 knots, we remove all the jib reefs. Sailing on into the night under nice conditions, the stars and a new moon shine overhead.

2400 –  The Captain notes that we almost made a 200nm day today falling 2nm short at 198nm. Opua lies 140nm ahead, and it is wonderful to know that at some point tomorrow, we will spot land. Terra firma: New Zealand!

Day 7 – Friday, November 24th – The weather forecast when we left Fiji was for winds to be dying somewhere between 200 – 100nm off the coast of New Zealand. Therefore, we had expected to be motoring the full last day or more into Opua which was why we were earlier concerned about fuel consumption. Not any more!  Into the day, with winds in the low teens, we keep on sailing, averaging a delightful 7.5 knots. It’s overcast, but that’s okay, for our spirits are up. We’re almost there!

At 1300, the engine finally must be turned on, for winds have dropped, as forecast, to 5 knots.

1405 – Land Ho! Cape Brett is spotted off the port bow.

1430 – The last auxiliary tank is transfered into the port tank. We chug along on glassy seas with winds barely 3 knots. With conditions so calm, we both take time to shower and spruce up. Who wants to look scruffy and ocean-weary upon clearing customs? We straighten up the boat, clean up the inevitable spilt food burned onto the stove, wipe down counters, rearrange pillows and other displaced objects.  Avante wants to look shipshape, too!

Now in New Zealand waters, the Q-flag is raised. It will not come down until we have been cleared in by Customs.

It’s a lovely motor down to and through the Bay of Islands. To our surprise, it’s warm. Other than middle of the night watches, we have not had to wear fleece for warmth and certainly are not now. Sitting out on deck, luxuriating in being clean and in fresh clothes, The First Mate knows that all is right with her world. We’re back (home, almost) in New Zealand and quite happy about that.

This is the fourth time that we have sailed the boat to New Zealand, and it ranks as the easiest of our passages.  Except for the event on Wednesday night when the wind shifted and the autopilot disconnected, it was a relatively benign passage.  Due to the need to turn away from a direct course to keep sailing, our total passage ended up a lengthy 1148nm and took 7 and 1/2 days.  With the fairly light winds , we had to motor 40% of the time which is not an ideal for any passage, but with our auxiliary fuel tanks, we were prepared for that eventuality.

As noted in the prior blog post, it was quite frustrating waiting for a weather window, but we were glad we did.  Patience is certainly a virtue. Remember that ugly deep red color shown on the wind chart just north of New Zealand that we wanted no part of?  We later learned that this weather was a bad, if not worse, than forecast. Three sailboats, caught in this weather,

had to be abandoned.  Two, we know, were lost. Years ago when The Captain was piloting Navy jets, he always said that his goal was to make as many landings as takeoffs.  That objective remains to this day where the goal now is to make as many port arrivals as we do departures.

Although we arrived in New Zealand a little later than planned, we did have time to do some cruising to one of our favorite areas near the Bay of Islands and to organize some maintenance work to be done on Avante while we are gone.  On Dec 6th, we took the bus south to Auckland and flew back home for the holidays.

    Comments (8)

  1. The Baillie - lions paw

    Whew. I’m exhausted reading that! Glad all went well in the end. We are currently still cruising Mexico and loving it. We will be in Telluride for a year starting May. Hope to see you and catch up. By the way Sue, I too am a wimpy sailor and proud of it😂


  2. I Love your beautiful and informative writing!! I almost felt I was on Avante with you. So exciting and scary. Both of you are amazing. What is your next adventure?!!
    Mary Ann & Ron


  3. Hi Sue & Bill:

    Thanks for always including me in your wonderful adventures! Sue you have become quite the writer and you make things so very interesting! You both look great which proves staying adventuresome and active in retirement is the key to good health and longevity! You two are the poster kids for active retirement!

    Thinking about you both and wishing you another fabulous adventure on the high seas!

    Hugs, Pat


    • Hi Susan and Bill
      We go on reading with pleasure your trip so far from us. We admire your courage.
      We are here in Miami for one month soft stay beach, swimming pool, Nothing else just relax at our age. Philippe made 80 in November. We will meet Don and Harriet for a Saturday lunch in Fort Lauderdale.
      Snowing in Biarritz and temperature record here in Florida.
      Tatiana and Philippe


  4. I am breathing hard upon reading disengagement of auto pilot. Son George had that happen when sailing from San Diego to Sea of Cortez and as it went between islands on the west the auto pilot had to be rebuilt in the dark with a headlamp.
    Are you at all familiar with the name Stephen Dashew? A neighbor here in Finisterra, (my neighborhood), who was a builder of sail boats and now, due to arthritis, is building power boats on the north island of New Zealand. I have not asked, but I bet he and his wife Linda, would love to have your emails. His email is steve@setsail.com.
    I’ll be in Telluride this summer from May 25th to after the film festival in September. See you then.


  5. I am breathing hard upon reading disengagement of auto pilot. Son George had that happen when sailing from San Diego to Sea of Cortez and as it went between islands on the west the auto pilot had to be rebuilt in the dark with a headlamp.
    Are you at all familiar with the name Stephen Dashew? A neighbor here in Finisterra, (my neighborhood), who was a builder of sail boats and now, due to arthritis, is building power boats on the north island of New Zealand. I have not asked, but I bet he and his wife Linda, would love to have your emails. His email is steve@setsail.com.
    I’ll be in Telluride this summer from May 25th to after the film festival in September. See you then.


  6. I just had some “free” time to read this passage, wonderful description! I was gladnot to beon your AVANTE since I am definitely not born to be a sailor. Thanky you, First Mate. What will be your next adventure? My daughter and family have moved to Sydney leaving Berlin after nearly 3 years of unhappiness. She has asked to release earlier (should have done 4 years) and since there was a free post at Sydney Germaan Consulate, they started a good-bye trip to uns and left Berlin on January 11, today they installed their new home. If you should be on your bacl trip to USA, you may ave a look to Sydney Chatswood, I have no address yet.
    Wishing you happy return to USA, I would be inerested in further “events”. Bye Sieglinde and family


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