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Pat Lawless Solo Circumnavigator


Hobart, Tazmania – Bluff New Zealand

Monday 10.01.95

Had intended leaving on Monday but discovered that bolt holding lowers thro’ tangs had bent and pulled out ¼” on threads with nut. Only discovered it late last Friday after I got ladder and had to wait until Monday to get new 316 5.5 Bolt. So that kept me most of Monday apart from customs who told me unless I got an extension of visa I would have to depart before 2400.h Monday so I left dock after customs clearance & back to pen until 0800.h Tuesday. When Comm. Bertery came on board & offered me his mooring off Casino, which I went to after writing a few last minute letters & topping up with water, so last minute jobs like emptying oil lamp, checking rigging, closing jacks cook etc. so departed 1100.h after getting a message from Comm, & a boat leaving to P.O.Q (Piss Off Quickly) also lashed & clamped Gaz. Lovely scenery down channel & storm bay. Small tanker spoke me before dark thinking I was a B.O.C. Boat & he admired my boat which was going great at the time. He must have been going to N.Z. also a nice man.

Wednesday 11/01/95

Felt very hungry after waking so had 2 cracked eggs scrambled with celery & cheese for breakfast. It is now 0945.h and I only have woken up after what I thought would be a doze at 0915.h. slept fitfully but well last night after hitting the bunk at 2130.h. going well since I hoisted w/jib at 0715.h. Must make a cuppa.

Busy all day tidying and stowing etc. while we made excellent progress with a lively N/Y wind. Sun all day until a bank of cloud from the West with a clearly straight edge, came upon us fast at 2230.h and took due wind & now we are rolling in the swells from N/Y wind of past two days. Struck main earlier and now jib is slatting, so down it must come. 2210.h and back after striking jib. Crazy motion in swells made it dangerous on deck. Heavy dew also.  Radioed Tasman radio today at 1100.h and they said they would phone Ron & Helen Warner with a message that I was making good progress and gave my position  & best regards. Nice friendly man.

Thursday 12.01.95 Day 3

Up before sun mainly to go to the thunder box at 0520.h sunrise pink at 0540.h sea motion down from last night. Set jib to light west breeze, if it strengthens I will pole out jibs. Radio says another ridge of high pressure is following the weak trough that crossed Tazmania. Yesterday so that was the tail end that came over us last evening. Coastal reports give little wind prospects so it looks like I will be stashing & stowing and tidying along with many jobs on work list.


Can’t complain about weather or progress. As the crow flies from Hobart and we dog legged down the Derwent and Storm Bay. Today was 70.N.M. even though becalmed for 8 hours. Good on you “Loon” and Law. Big swell from south and put up twin jibs.


Total blue sky now for some time cooler this morning due to a little breeze. God has given me a great start and for that I thank him, also for a great family and friends in Ireland and all the friends in Dover & Sandy Bay. Tasmania. Sun rose pink and we had a few tails & wisps earlier but I don’t think either will cause problems. Cabin nearly tidy if that is possible. Tried raising Tasmania radio without success to know if my request was sent to S/Bay Club Friends.


Worked all day on jobs. Tided cabin, lashed anchor to bows, not deck and more until 1730.h when I woke up after a ¾ h. doze. Tea finished now of bacon eggs and toast. I had a lettuce, celery, tomato and salami salad for dinner at 1400.h. as I had a 2nd breakfast of porridge plus a 2 rasher toasted sandwich after an earlier one of toast and jam. Sun all day and breeze eased at 1500.h. I had to drop one sail as it was flapping, nothing is worse for sails. So we are plodding E to N.Z. until sundown when I imagine wind will die. A great chance Tasmanian Sea has been kind to me so far and sea motion has eased somewhat, due to S.W. swell taken over from N.E. one.

Friday 13th January. Day - 4


Woke and pissed and turned on radio and back to bunk as we are becalmed since last evening. So got up at 0630.h and now at 0715.h I am having last slice of toast and Helens (Warners) marmalade jam, cherry plum after two fried (cracked) eggs. Fried eggs always on the menu when becalmed and even then they turn out like omelettes as I can’t stick seeing the yolks waltzing on pan and you stab them. We have a light puff from the north today which may strengthen as sun gets high. Yes sailing. Just back in after hoisting poled genoa which I just dropped on deck last evening. A nice NxE breeze has us doing 3.5kn. Tasmanian sea is peaceful this morning and its standards with only a 3-4m swell from the sunset last evening. Thank god again for fair weather and winds. Only woke once last night at 0200.h to a brilliant starry sky. Hit the bunk at 2100.h and this morning heavy dew is still on decks with a clear blue sky. So what more could I ask for? Nothing. As Dan wished me in his New Year’s fax “Live Happily” I am doing just that so now “I must be about my Fathers business” and get a few more jobs pared off my ever growing list.


Main up since 0830.h and doing 5kn without any hassle. Have unpoled the two genoas and stashed poles and port genoa, fixed leech line off main and whipped ancho lashing plus securing b/hook. So I am now having a nice pot of tea as I write. It’s warmer today with wind from mainland. 50n.m yesterday for 12.h sailing some of it in light winds. How bad. We are ¼ of the way to Dunedin with 150n.m for 3 days, so at that rate another 18 days to Dunedin.


A fine stratus came slowly down for North and is now covering sky. Wind slowly backing to N which is ok as we were heading more S than we wanted earlier, when it is was NxE. Barometer is still steady since last evening at 1024MB. Would hate to see it drop which I have no doubt it will sooner or later. Anyway long may it last and feck the begrudgers. My desired course is 100.T and with present var. of 16’ gives me 84’ this means we were on 120’m and now 94’m.


Stratus has turned into a sea haze which has visibility down to a mile. Had a good dinner: spaghetti, toast, mango and tea. 3 mangos left and they are nice. Wind holding steady but sea has built up which isn’t helping We are at 44’ 07’5 as it is and I want to follow my straight line to New Zealand if I can, which so far I have managed. Passed 151’ E. longitude just now. G.P.S. a modern tech miracle.


Vision down to 2 swells or 200m. Wind eased and sails giving odd flap.


Fine mist turned into a drizzle around 1600.h eventually clearing from the W. at sunset when breeze died leaving us becalmed for the 3rd night again. Am I complaining? Far from it. Only halcyon days in the Tasmanian Sea so far. Wrote to Jim today will write Dan & Nell next. They are so good.

Saturday.  14.01.95. Day 5


Woke and neither wind or stars. More rain than wind and from S.W, so decided to have breakfast and see.


Breeze steadied from south hoisted gen and then main with rain still, now at 0810.h a cold damp morning put on my pyjama legs when I got up. Can you imagine that, it sounds funny and then tracksuit pants a heavy pullover.  Only had two toast and marmalade and tea earlier so now I may have more.


Made a cup of coffee not hungry as I had Weetabix first of long life milk when I got up. Rain has stopped and sky has lifted showing high soft feathery clouds, must check my G.P.S which I forgot to do before I hoisted sails for yesterday’s run. 45m yesterday not bad for 12 hours of light winds. Engine on for 2hours helped. Barometer steady since 2000.h last evening 1016. M.B must bend on mizzen sail as I could have it up now, can’t get over G.P.S switch it on and in 2 minutes you have your position speed and heading. Jesus, when I think of taking a sun sight at noon. Bugger that, as they say in Tazmania.


Wind died as sun broke through clouds so ran everything for 1 and ¾ hours. Until I got tired of looking at compass heading at 1145.h and had last of yesterday’s spaghetti with another chopped tomato and toast and celery and salami. So took a short doss and I am now having a coffee and a filter camel and last of a pack of 20 I opened Wednesday evening. Not bad eh so now what? There is a light breeze that may work wind vane on Nell if I start engine, will finish coffee first.


Ran the engine for 1 ¾ hours until Nell lost the breeze. Sea now like glass with swells, before evening I cut my hair. Had a good belly laugh when I looked in the mirror, only cut top and back of head, I left over ears and neck which was long anyway as when I got it cut in Dover I requested it be left over ears and neck.


Heard a noise while making the tea and looked out at a whale lazily winning and blowing past my stern. Sun once it appeared this morning.

2045. H

No breeze yet after sunset 10 minutes ago. Could be the reflection of a wandering albatross in the mirror like sea today. The sun had not set when dew formed in the cockpit as I finished my nog off there, alone with the waters and the calm.

Sunday. 16.01.95.


Underway since 0415.h when I awoke to waves lapping. A bright window in sky gave me light to hoist a genoa which gives us 3 ½ knots. In flattish water. Late I always notice as breeze increases waves over speed goes down. Will put up main soon. Had porridge when I came in and now I have finished a pot of tea. Sky has clouded up since with stratus. Barometer down by 4MB overnight to 1014.m.b. 0715.h went back to bunk until 0700.h or 0645.h plus I am only in now after hoisting main. Raining again since before I hit bunk. Slept well last night from 2200.h on, wind much the same as yesterday a N.N.E. and we are making a steady 5kn now. I know where the saying came from that we are getting there x degrees.


I am just after pulling a genoa to port and we are doing a handy 6kn. Barometer down and 4.m.b since this morning to 1010m.b. Rain heavy for last few hours.


Took down main, can’t stand sails slatting or banging. Having an afternoon pot of tea made from rainwater and has to be tasted to be believed. No sign of rain easing though it is a heavy mist now, with poor visibility saw a lump of seaweed today wherever it came loose from. The kelp we sailed through in Storm Bay reminded me of sailing into False Bay.

Monday. 16.01.95. Day 7


Rose after awaking much earlier but didn’t bother getting up as I was late hitting the bunk. It is now 0800.h and sun has cleared off earlier clouds giving a clear sky. Wind died last evening at 2300.h opened another long life milk for weetabix today and had a 3 rasher sandwich. Must get a few jobs done while I have the chance.  Made good headway yesterday. Good mileage yesterday for 18.h of wind 70.N.N and just passed the 300.N.N. on chart line from Hobart, or 1/3 of the distance to a point midway between Steward I’s and S.W. Cape on New Zealand.


Have mizzen hoisted for first time since Hobart as we have a light S.E Breeze ”Divine Jesus” as B says but “it is a beautiful day” with the sea as flat as you can expect here. Biggest swell from W and on our tail so “it is not a problem” as Carole the very friendly and helpful girl in the D.S.S. Office used to say.  Having a pot of tea and a cheese sandwich as I write. Have a feeling I could sight a ship today. Hope wind holds. If it was aft it would be useless so we are thrice blessed.  Hundreds of birds in a pack like land larks a while ago. Have often seen them, but in pairs are they migrating?


Just switched on engine. Wind couldn’t cope with swells. Had some of yesterday’s veg stew for dinner.


Have remainder on now to heat for my starters before evening meal of bacon egg and toast.  Will switch off engine at 1715.h which is enough for batteries and it gave us a few miles to New Zealand. Getting used to this weather and will miss the easy life it gives. Had a toasted cheese sandwich.  

1800. H

Cloudless sky, luckily we had cloud cover for warmest part of day, as it is intense now, as we sail roll in swells and the daylight will soon wane. Made the most of wind today.  Mizzen st/sle a must for light winds, one advantage of a ketch.

Tuesday. 17-Jan - Day 8.

Woke to a dull calm morning so pulled bag over my head until 0600.h. had left hatch open when I got up at 0200.h and galley area wet with fine rain. What wind we have is from the east so now at 0720.h it is much the same. Had porridge earlier and now I am having a rasher toasted sandwich. Hobart says a ridge of high pressure is east of Tasmania.  


Still becalmed, but heavy rain now. 45N.M. yesterday for 7 hours, including 2 hours under engine.  


Sky lightening and rain easing, but what wind is there is from where we want to go so hopefully if it clears it will swing.


Rain cleared but we have a thick sea haze, wind is still light and persists from the east, so no hassle with Nell as we strengthen it under engine since 1215.h. I dipped fuel tanks and of a total of 43 gallons I topped up to in the D.S.S. could have taken up to 56 gallons. I have 38 gallons left. Thank god engine is good.  Had a salad and salami dinner.  Lettuce holding better since I hung it and let the air at it.  No problem with celery and tomatoes so I had a mango after it. Amazingly fine weather, 45N.M yesterday for 10 hours under way, 8 of those under engine. We also have a current helping us eastward.  The east Australia coast current and maybe a little of the southern ocean current, though we are high as yet for that. As things look, I imagine the only miles we will make today will be under engine.  Still tidying and stashing and the usual jobs, plotting daily 14 hour run. So far we are 400N.M on the chart track we are holding to or 1/3 of the way to Dunedin. So it looks like another 14 days to go. Have a crust left from two loaves (sliced) 1 brown and 1 white and will be on to 3 Vienna rye loaves then which I checked and is good.  


Just finished my bacon, egg and first 2 toasted slices of rye bread and marmalade. Mist never let up until the sun peeped out a while ago and then hid again just got up now to have a look and sky had cleared to see sun setting in the south west, giving sky a red glow all over, so more rain I would imagine. Sun setting earlier now as we progress east. Wind veered and strengthened at 1500.h and we are sailing since so we will add another few miles to chart track, though it seems to be easing somewhat now since sunset. Colder today with southerly wind and dampness. Have my anorak which I got for €4. Perfect also. Getting dark now as I listen to Foster & Allen on tape, Ian the nice chef at the Dover Hotel gave me, along with many more, such a nice man. He was at sea as a navigating officer all his life since a boy, also gave me 2 charts, such nice people I met in Dover, I was lucky to have pulled in there and so such a lovely place, I will never forget it.

2100. H

Wind is holding and if it does if we carry the wind tonight it will be the first time since the first night we left S/bay to do so. Will read now for a while.


Wednesday. 18. Jan. Day 9.  

Becalmed last night at 2300.H. How bad considering I thought we would have a windless day. It is now 0730.H and we are doing 3kn in flat water if you don’t count mini swells. Have been up at it this fine morning since 0600.H. Had porridge earlier and have tightened and sized capping shrouds which I noticed slack yesterday. Another item off work list. We are luckier today so far as yesterday it was 1500.H before we were sailing.  Must put on my real breakfast now.  


God but it is nice to have a morning when you can see the sky with a few blue patches. Just found rashers and an egg and finishing tea now with toast and marmalade, like a hotel breakfast. Last night was the latest I hit the bunk, nearly midnight, was reading a good book and partly guessed wind would die and didn’t want to get up if I went to bunk early. Sun appearing now after burning off clouds barometer gone up by 7MB to 1019MB since last night, so I doubt if wind will die. Weather is always interesting and I am not forgetting red sky last evening. Radio gives flooding in Central Australia and mist in Hobart with drizzle in Dover. I haven’t felt so full for ages and doubt if I will be hungry for a while. Thank God. Must plot yesterday’s run.


25NM yesterday. For 11 hours under way, 3 engine and 8 light winds. East wind early not a help either as light as it was. An average of 3kn. anyway the good news is that we are 70NM to a point ½ way to the south or bottom end of New Zealand and that we are not meandering, in fact I don’t think I ever held a straighter line on a chart for 8 days, unless in the trades. Had my charts out yesterday studying Dunedin and its approaches. Have not a large scale chart of south end of New Zealand but between Stewart Island and the mainland there is a 40.nm sound, with a dog Island roughly in its centre. Will probably meet a ship as I near the coast and get information on that area just to be sure. I was thinking 25m was wrong and double checked, had made an error in previous day’s position on chart. We did 40.nm yesterday but overall mileage ok. “Oh Lord it’s So Hard to be Humble”.


Day has clouded up fairly fast with high long feathery type clouds, which to me heralds mist or rain. So far eight days we have averaged over 50nm per day, considering we have been without wind for a lot of the time we are doing ok.


Just finished dinner. Bread and butter, salami, tomato with tea and fruit cake.  Engine is running since then. So much for my drizzle or rain. Barometer steady at 1019.mb. Had coffee and biscuits at 1000.H. did a lot of work this morning getting my coordinates for Foveaux Straits and Stewart and Dog Islands. If weather allows me to take that course. So now I take it easy, Nell is holding heading well with speed into what wind we have. Still cloudy with intermittent sun.


Dozed for nearly 2 hours after reading and becalmed again now. Will not run engine again ran it for 2 hours until 14.15.H and was sailing very light, so take it easy Pa. mostly sun.


Same rig up again to light wind, can’t let wind go unattended.


It paid off as we are siling since. Amazing what you can do when there are no waves. Touching 5.kn in a breeze that barely causes a little white cap. My Xmas tree as I call it is thriving and is a ling to me with the land. Originally I picked a branch of palm and stood it in an egg cup for Xmas and called it “The smallest xmas tree in the world”. Got used to the greenery on the table and picked a lovely light green palm branch before I left.


Still clear blue sky as I sip my cuppa with a gasper. Had a nice tin of sardines, tomatoes and then had a rasher on toast. I never think of meals until I feel the hunger then I eat. A magic evening and breeze holding can’t believe I am getting such halcyon weather. Hope it lasts and as we approach New Zealand. Listening to a nice tape Ian from Dover gave me one of at least 18. Hobart radio gives another high moving in. the pope is arriving shortly in Oz. god help those in Japans Earthquake over 2000 lost. No sign of shipping.  A good sunset. Leaving up rig as wind is holding.


Up since 0630.H woke earlier and slept on as we were sailing ok but had to set up to see if we were on course. We were on 60’ at 0300H but on 10’ at 0630.H so down mizzen st/sle, up main and tacker. So now we are on a heading of 165’ to get away from the top of h/press which is giving us e/h wind. Have had my porridge so I must think now of my breakfast.


Having a thick slice of rye bread with butter and marmalade and a pot of tea. As I write this is the first time since leaving when sailing we are not heading east so I can’t complain. Another fine morning thank god with sun getting the best of clouds now. Must plot yesterday’s run on chart as soon as I finish my gasper. Hopefully we have not gone too far north of track with wind swing of early morning as we were moving for the 24H for first time since departure. 55N.M yesterday and not bad for 24H of light winds. We are north of track line x 15.m for first time as up to this we were either on it or 15.M below it. So today hopefully we will get a change from this e.y breeze that will put us heading east again. Today also sees us within 30.M of the ½ way mark to a point I have on chart of New Zealand and 30.M from Stewart Island. So we have 477.M on our log and 430.M on chart line so not bad with very little meandering an average of 54.M per day so far 50. I expect another 10 days which is 30th of the month for arrival in Dunedin.


Wind slowing, we were on a heading of 175’ after tacking and now it has reduced to 120’. Ideally our course is 102’ so things are not as bad as they looked this morning with easterly wind. Having a mug of powdered milk now after my dinner tomatoes, celery and salami. I intend not to waste food which you can’t buy out here. I like celery anyway and always did so I will not be bored with it while it lasts. Salami is tasty and no trouble to eat as I do with a penknife, tomatoes will be missed but are holding well. Barometer up to 1025m.b today.


Bit of excitement today at 1400.H as I was having a doze and was awakened by a thumping on cabin top jumped out to find port capping shroud and b/screw dancing loose so eased off m/sheet and dropped main and put her before the wind under genoa. Found clevis pin and split ring on deck after I fixed it split ring had opened, will have to check them more often from now on. Had a good tea of beef stroganoff with noodles and mushroom in a nice sauce only needed 2 cups of water (boiling). Motion after wind all day is the worst for some time.

Friday. 20 Jan. Day 11


First disturbed night sleep. Seas have built up with constant wind which freshened again some time ago which called for a reef in main. At 0200.H 50 now I am after a mug of cocoa and a slice of bread and jam before I hit the bunk again. Was I not lucky capping shroud it has not come adrift this morning. We are on 99’ which is good as we are down to 45’ 46’.S. Bottom Cape of New Zealand is 46’ 10’5.S so we are far enough south. Our desired heading is 80’ other than all that it is a fine moonlit night with clouds lit up by it as they go south.


Did not wake until 0830.H as I had pulled the curtains at 0300.H. We were on 100’ on gimballed compass I fitted yesterday using oil lamp gimbals and a compass I got from Ron Warner after I gave him R.O.F. which I never used and was always in my way. I can see it from either bunk and it is great. I got up at 0845.H have only attended to my toilet and breakfast of bacon, egg and toast so far except to tighten mid sheet and checked deck etc. We are making 4.5kn and barometer has dropped x 2.mb to 1024.mb on this fresh sunny and cloudy morning which reminds me of home.


Best days run yet from 0700.H yesterday to 0900.H today shows 110.N.M for 26.H which puts us 43.M. of direct line on chart or 25.M north of our w/point in Foveaux Strait and in our new direct line on chart 360.M to w/pts just shows what we can do if we get good winds. Best days run prior to yesterdays was out first days of 84.M wind seems to be easing, so I will check. Waves still boisterous and we get the odd ones spraying cabin sides and top. Wind only easing now and then. We are doing over 5kn at 95’M when our new headings should be 73’ so we are edging south still I must check all rigging first when I go on deck. Yesterday’s rigging problem could have been disastrous and there is no excuse for it but a lesson well learned it must have been the fine weather that made me so carless as it was always number one for me to always check all rigging terminals, no wonder that there are accidents the human element I suppose. Radio crackling this morning for the first time as we pull out of range of Hobart I must say I enjoyed Albany and Tasmania, Oz is a very beautiful country with lovely people. Though S.A. was also nice but it had not the tranquillity I found in Oz but as beautiful scenery wise. Hobart overlooked and Mt. Wellington must be to my mind and I have seen Paris, London, New York etc. and did one of, if not the most beautiful cities and harbours in the world, with parks, trees, beautiful buildings historical and otherwise, waterfront elegance in the very heart of town. I wish always have only happy memories of it and its people. The Aussies have something I only found at home, warmth with a natural courteousness, I think they admired my voyages as they are an outdoor people with a great regard for nature which they have an abundance of.


Barometer down another 8mb to 1021mb since 0900.H. A better heading of 85’ only 12’ off desired now.


The day is flying on account of my late rising, having a nice cuppa now after a dinner of instant noodles with chicken and cabbage etc., haven’t seen them only in Oz. Polystyrene  container just pour in boiling water and seal for 3 minutes only 50p, lovely, hot and filling don’t know about the nourishment value. Aussies eat a lot of junk food and it seems not to harm them. Slowly getting a better heading must watch barometer also. Dropping slowly down another 2.mb have only been out twice today to pump bilge and tighten main, it calls for oilers unless you watch the waves and duck out to cockpit.


I have taken second reef in main since 1500.H and stowed genoas I had lashed on deck, hunked storm jib under w/jib and ready if needs be as barometer still falling.  Down by 6mb in last 4 hours to 1013mb. Will watch sunset and see if it tells a tale. Though we have lost it now for some time from the clear sky earlier. Just pulled out my second last Vienna rye loaf, which barely shows some fluff in crevices so will let the other one take air as they were wrapped in ordinary bakers white paper in an open plastic bag so what will I have for my tea.


Had the old reliable bacon egg and toasted Vienna rye which is perfect. Brushed the hairy spots off with dish mop brush and ate it untoasted as the old set of teeth were hurting my gums so that is a good test of the bread that my gums could chew it. Sky clearing again now from north so we may see sundown. Wind seems to be easing then comes up again still edging south but not as much as yesterday. At 1800.H we were 10.m south of S.E. point of New Zealand in a line of latitude should have a good 24.H run again as it looks as if wind will hold but if we keep edging south it will mean bypassing Dunedin as Bertie reed said to me in S.A. when he heard I was heading for Hobart “Sure the Horn is then only round the corner” and as Christy Mc said in his last fax “Go for it” which I will. Barometer holding steady now since 1800.H at 2030.H. will read now for a while. Whatever much was around seems to have gone astern of us and blocked sunset.

Saturday. Jan 21. Day 12.

Up and dressed since 0100.H. Made a cocoa and had a bread and jam with it as I hit the bunk and 2130.H and woke at 2300.H and again at 0100.H with noise of waves and motion as wind is up will finish this gasper and then take down w/jib and hoist storm jib as we are slamming into the seas and it will not improve. Barometer down another 3mb to 1010mb.


Well that is a big improvement with only a little speed reduction and much less wear on gear, boat and self. As Jack Saint used to say “Give her a chance to see them” even though the sky is overcast there was plenty of light. As we are in the full moon time and cloud cover must be status wind is very consistent in direction now since Thursday and I will be surprised if this blow does not change its direction to north- west and then west as low pressure goes past.


Up since 0600.H took main down as I was afraid of damage for the sake of mileage. Left up storm jib but now I am thinking of striking it as seas and waves are bigger and we are taking some big crests. Barometer still falling 1001mb at 0900.H and now down another mb didn’t want to take storm jib down as we are far enough south and will drift more so if lying anvil. North and east wind holding now for 2 days and this gale won’t ease until it shifts north-west or west, which so far it shows no sign of doing. Not used to this weather and being thumped around. Got my legs wet while kneeling on cabin top tying main. we took a crest and it gushed up my oiler legs, otherwise we are ok if uncomfortable with noise of wind and waves and wild motion, it is also cold, must get some grub into me, only had tea and a slice of bread and marmalade after dropping main and that was pre 0800.H.


Having a coffee with a spoon of honey in it and brown bread with cheese. Today’s position put us 270 north-west of w/point in Foveaux Strait past the south-east Cape and on much the same latitude so all of a sudden it seems we are not that far from New Zealand. Last few days mileage made a big difference, 50 tomorrow or the day following should decide whether we head for either Dunedin? The big one only time and weather will tell, definitely would not like to be the Foveaux straits in these conditions.


Now and wind seems to ease now and then. I have newspaper stuffed into my sea boots and must change it, then I will ty and doss for a while.


In fact I slept for nearly an hour we have a full gale on our hands now for the past few hours, just back in from pumping bilge, was pumping from inside pump prior to that and when I looked out to see if hose was over the topside it was in cockpit so I went to put it over deck and connection opened and it went overboard. I will now have to pump it into sink. Wind has swung 10’ and is now n/y, we are not down to within one mil of 47’ south Dunedin is 8.m less than 46’5, must think of dinner.


We are getting heavy wind. Barometer now 995mb had a can of rice which I put some raisins into. Thank God we are away from the coast and its shelf and hazards. Poor Nell, I should have storm jib down and Nell at ease, but we seem to be doing ok.


Gale still with us. Hopefully it will ease with sundown as I have enough of it. Would not go on deck now unless I had to, even with harness. Made tea with difficulty and had a biscuit with it. Will only have to wait it out. Wind has backed off to west of north so it is moving south. High of past week to east of us is pushing it down. Can’t be soon enough for me. Barometer 988mb 00nn 3lmb in 24H.


Thank god for his goodness we got a heavy shower and lo and behold the wind veered to the west and is down to F6/7 before it swung it shrieked and seas were awesome with curling crest tops, well done “Loon & Law”, it wasn’t easy. Amazing how fast the seas ease, Oh Jesus I will sleep tonight. Barometer up x 3mb.


Made a pot of tea which I didn’t think I would be having as I had all the sugar, milk, jam etc. covered and tied down, glad I left jib up as it is steadying us now in confused swells and seas, with odd one breaking, will stop writing now and have my tea as I have a pain in my head now and most of day and along with that “I am knackered” as my lovely son Dan says, an anxious time today.

Sunday 12 Jan. Day 13


Woke after 2 ½ solid hours sleep and got up and had tea with bread and jam. Motion still a bit wild and wind making a noise in rigging but nothing like yesterday thank God. Got New Zealand on radio very clearly and will put it on again now on the hour as I am ½ behind them. Back to bunk.


Woke earlier with lights and just covered my head so when I did surface and look at watch it was 0630.H and I am up since 0700.H. this clearing sky minus of still fresh wind from the WxS. That was some depression yesterday and we are still feeling its effects. Had a lovely saucepan of porridge and feel good especially after sleep last night. Morning cool at 56’f but we have sun which always cheers life up. Was prepared for a knockdown from a wave yesterday but was spared it thank God. Luckily it was a short gale as it is the seas and the wind when build up that cause most problems. At 0700H yesterday when I dropped main I could not hold the sail to furl it and it was with some difficulty I eventually did, so we roughly had 24H of the strongest wind I have seen in daylight. The knock down I got off southern Tasmania was at night and wind was on a par with yesterday, but I was lying a hull for 36H that time, with 3 shifts of wind.


Have done my plot for yesterday and we meandered but still made good headway. 1000.H Back in after striking storm jib. It had torn a one hank. Seas and swells and white water in abundance, F.7 I would say. We will drift as we lie ahull to the NE as wind is holding WxS. Thank God for the G.P.S. it makes life at sea so easy. Not taking so much spray or been thumped since I took down storm jib had a boiled egg and two slices of toast after porridge, making up for yesterday. Barometer going up too fast for my liking jumped 5mb to 1008mb since 0700H. made an error there and thought it had jumped x 15mb so that is ok.  


Put my watch forward ½ hour and still an hour behind New Zealand radio, which I am listening to now after a mug of coffee and a cheese sandwich, slept for an hour and was hungry when I woke still an hour behind New Zealand time which must be on daylight saving time, still lying ahull not so much due to wind as seas which are still large and confused after gale. Still getting odd crest slapping over us compared to yesterday it is calm hate losing a fair wind which I estimate at F7 but what can I do, anyway we are drifting in the right direction and this wind will keep seas up for some time. Enjoying the comparative peace after anxious day yesterday, mostly sun now except for straggling odd stratus banks of cloud.  


Spent the day either cooking, eating or reading as I watch seas to take advantage of S.W wind, so we now run under poled w/jib to starboard and are doing ok in spite of short high cross swells and waves, the usual aftermath of gales. Barometer up again now to a respectable 1017mb I hope we carry wind tonight. Nell working well in cross-swells had a tin of crab with celery and tomatoes. I opened a long life milk and had a mug of it, had a coffee with honey instead of sugar not long ago so now at 1930.H I don’t feel hungry. Anyway I haven’t done that much to give me an appetite this Sunday. Rolling a lot as we run to E.

Monday. 23 Jan. Day-14.


Awoke and got up at 0600.H as we were holding W. under poled w/jib to a light S.E.xS. Breeze so we are now heading east again. Swells still throwing us around but we are doing 2.kn under no 3. Sky overcast. Barometer 1030mb. Finished my breakfast of bread and butter and marmalade and cocoa. A cold night, left my tracksuit on over pyjama legs. I always wear them now and a t-shirt, slept through night. May run engine today to dry it out after gale. Temperature 55’ I have my heavy pullover on since I got up and an anorak ($4 in Sal vos and as good and comfy as a new one). Biggest swells today are from the south impressive in size and we have a sea fret. Now I must plot my chart position.


Engine on since 0830.H swells beating what wind is there. Made 55NM to the North-east yesterday’s run. Most of it lying anvil to southwest wind, so we are now 180NM away if we take the Straits Passage. Whether or not we will go this way I will decide. Had instant mash and 2 rashers with tomatoes just now with mug of long life milk. Cold gave me an appetite as it is 60’ now with this south-east breeze giving polar air and sky still overcast.


Having my tea of boiled egg, bread and butter and marmalade. Listening to radio New Zealand left engine run until 1600.H until a breeze came that is filling sails since. Did a good job on rigging today. Ocean settling down somewhat to normal after gale. Large long swell from the south but not a problem it is the short ones shake sails. Enjoyed that tea. Enjoying the peach of the high pressure after the first gale and it was a severe one but luckily of short duration. If fine weather brings fair winds we may make Dunedin before it breaks again that’s why I ran engine for nearly 8 hours today got what clothes were wet dried and stashed today as the sun came out for a few hours, I also changed into a clean t-shirt after two weeks. Heard on radio that powerlines came down in New Zealand during gale and that climbers are missing, they blame swollen rivers. Radio very clear now as we near land.

Tuesday. Jan 24. Day-15.


Up since 0315.H striking sails which woke me slatting so made a cup of cocoa and had a biscuit and a gasper. Sky still overcast but thin as I had enough light on deck. Barometer starting to fall, down from high of 1030mb at 1600.H yesterday to 1025mb. Now 290NM as the crow flies through the Foveaux Straits and then up to Dunedin so at our average daily speed since departing, it will take another 5 days. Just yawned so back to bunk “Paddy”.


Still becalmed so I took a lie in, tried no 3 and mizzen for ½ and hour and had to strike them. What wind we have is sly.


Made 55nm yesterday, 125.m to w/p now. New Zealand radio giving this high pressure until tomorrow then a low which is moving south-east in the Tasmanian Sea due on Thursday and Friday is for strong north-west winds so I will stay in deep water and see what happens.

1345. H

Where did the day go? Did a good job on the engine, tightened fan belt, checked oil & water, cleaned engine & aluminium, painted rusty spots and greased all controls, batty terminals and electric connections etc. So not I have just had a coffee and biscuit I will read for a while. Still becalmed.  


3 rashers & beans for tea, had crab & tomatoes for dinner with a mug of long life milk. Not enough wind all day to fill a sail. What we have of it is now from the west, having gone for south-east this morning through south-west. Enjoyed the bacon tea today, finished 2nd vacuum pack and I must have another 10 left. Enjoyed today, no rush or pressure watching heading or hoisting sails, a day off and got important items tended to. Barometer still failing but slowly, 2mb since 1400.H.


Sun has just set, clear and bronze in a clear south-west sky, giving the few clouds after it set a rosy glow. Having a cocoa as I write and listening to the New Zealand news. Still becalmed but would say sky tonight heralds wind. We also had a few mares’ tails and wisps today. Will read for a while after news & weather. I think a breeze could come by morning.

Wednesday. Jan. 25. Day 16


Having a cocoa and biscuit after hoisting no 3, a light south-westerly which in smooth water is giving us a little over 3kn awoke to wind I would imagine. A different hull noise to that when becalmed not unlike wavelets lapping against a pier. Sky clear and showing the beginning to the end of another day. Ironic that we hoisted sail when we took it down last night and bar trying no 3 a few times were without wind for 24h first time this trip.


Just finished tightening stern gland, had to lift out two 5 gallon water containers & gas that are now only ½ full and are wedging large gas bottle I have lashed to bulkheads, but worth it as I was pumping often and I will have enough to watch approaching land.


Had the best dinner for some time, 3 rashers, beans and instant spuds and a mug of milk, did not half enjoy it, after 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast, must be the fine weather and good progress. Westerly breeze still filling jibs.


Finished a cuppa after tin of salami and tomatoes & celery. Spent some time today coordinating w/points, if I take either Foveaux Strait or go south of Steward Island. Barometer down to 1015mb but falling only 5mb since 1900.H last evening.  Sundown should tell a tale. Sun for most of the day.


Just dropped genoa, no 3 still filling as wind eases now before sundown, sky clear now. Where the clouds of earlier have gone with a high wind, does that mean the wind will back to the South? Yesterday’s run of 22nm the worst yet beating 25nm earlier record. Looks as if wind is dying fast and that I will be becalmed again tonight.  


We were 80nm from w/p in Foveaux Strait.


Having my evening mug of cocoa now after watching a good sunset so I would imagine tomorrow will be ok much the same as today hopefully. That low they were giving for Thursday must have kept to the North let us hope it did. The Foveaux Straits is similar to the Blasket Sound, the first w/ps is between the South coast and Solander Island with a 25m sound. The 2nd w/point is 40.m further east, north of Steward Island with a 15m sound and the 3rd w/pt. another 27nm to pass south of Bluff flight with a 10m sound between it and Dog Island. A total distance of 67nm before we are in clear water again before we round the south-east cape for another 90nm to Dunedin so if we average 4kn it will take us 16 hours to navigate the Straits and another 24 hours to Dunedin.

Thursday. Jan 26. Day 17


Winds held during night and doing 4.kn now under no 3 sill poled, with a southwest wind on our starboard ¼. Cut the last rye loaf for breakfast and perfect. Will get down to chart shortly would imagine we are about 40nm away now. Listening to Dunedin radio, getting excited as we approach land. Set alarm for 0200.H at 2200.H last night as I hit bunk in case of a wind shift and woke just before it went off and we on course.  We are again at 0600.H as sky overcast and ok. Getting a lively motion with wind on ¼. Had a pot of tea and 2 slices rye and marmalade. Must get down to ships business now.


Made 35nm since 1700.h yesterday to 0700.h this morning under no.3, nearly 3kn over 14 hours, how bad in a light wind.


Hoisted poled w/jib to starboard. Sky still overcast but now and again stratus clears here and there to show a bit of blue. Still a lively motion and luckily wind is strong enough to keep sails full as we buck & leap eastwards. With a large swell from south and we are now getting an up swell from an arm of continental shelf. From now on will have to keep an eye out for trawlers and shipping.


Sails slatting now after a mist shower that has eased wind, so it looks like I will have to strike sails. Yes becalmed.


Up no 3 to s/y breeze.


Up mizzen st/sle, s/y breeze holding and sea fret down.


Still holding wind from south I think I can see land off 8’ bow. New Zealand Southern Alps Peak out at over 11,000’ or 3,764.mts with MT Cook,


YES New Zealand Alps now to port as we creep along. An abundance of bird life now as we near land. Not flotsam down here and no smell of land as what wind we have is coming up from the Antarctic.


Had a late tea, boiled egg and rye bread and finished pot of tea now as I have a smoke. Wind still holding but light. Thought barometer would rise with sky clearance but we have cloud cover again now for a while. Barometer steady now at 1010mb since 0800.h this morning. Radio Dunedin gives a high moving in to follow low pressure over central New Zealand.


Wind not able for swells so struck sails. It must be high as well as big as it is 25nm away. Nice to see land again after 17 days should be able to see Puysegve Point light loom when it gets dark as it is near.

Friday Jan 27 Day 19


Up since 0430.H to hoist poled no 3 and at 0545.H hoisted m/stsle poled to starboard, after breakfast of 2 rashers and rye bread at 0630.H. I am now having another pot of tea. New Zealand southern mountains very visible to port. Cloud cover celling is high. Had a great night’s sleep hitting the bunk at 0200.h woke once at 0300.H and got up at 0430.h. Solander Island off starboard bow. Approx. 10nm.


Catnapped for an hour. Solander Island coming up to starboard. Having a coffee now with honey. Sky overcast but high with feathery type clouds. 40nm to next w/pt now which is 3.000’ high. And exciting time, but I am so lucky with wind and weather Ttank God.


Wind freshened and I replaced poled mizzen s’sle with poled w/jib and upped no 3. Had scrambled eggs with cheese and celery around 1100.h with a mug of milk having a cuppa now. Steward Island visible since 1115.h. Sky still overcast but visibility ok except in mist.

Sunday, Jan 29.


I was towed into Bluff passed Stratton Island around 1900.H to starboard at its most N/Y point and set course for next w/pt no 3 Dog Island Sound. Passed ½ way mark and picked up maritime radio New Zealand weather forecast and radioed them and gave my position and asked them if it was possible would they notify my family which they did as they came back to say so. I also asked them who I would call in bluff Harbour for advice re: entering Bluff at night and they said Bluff Harbour. Off Bluff Harbour-Midnight at high water, could see all navigation lights flashing clearly. Wind fresh S.W. only had w/jib ups since passing Steward Island the rest is history, ran aground entering Bluff after Bluff Harbour advised me to wait until daylight. Had intended making for Dunedin originally as Foveaux Strait is a tricky place in place in bad weather. Anyway as weather was fair I took the Foveaux Strait which is shorter something like going inside the Blasket Sound. I had a chart for Dunedin but not for Bluff.