AVATAR is now berthed in Whangarei, New Zealand, and scheduled to be hauled out for refit on November 1. The 1,100 mile passage from Fiji to New Zealand is notoriously unpleasant as yachts depart tropical waters and head south into New Zealand’s stormy winter weather. Adding insult to injury, the wind direction is generally “uphill” causing the boats to pound uncomfortably straight into the oncoming waves. We did this passage aboard Raven our first season cruising, and Mike likens it to spending five days in a washing machine!
When Nick checked in via email after the first 24 hours passage out of Fiji, he wrote the following:
The 20 knots of SE wind yesterday has eased off to 10-12 knots of Easterly and is looking as though it will remain light for the next 3 days.
So much for weather forecasting, still not an exact science! After two days of relatively light conditions, instead of easing off as anticipated, the winds picked up. AVATAR and crew suffered through two + days (and nights) of force eight gale winds on the nose with gusting force nine (35 to 40 knots gusting to 49) and seas averaging five meters/16 feet!
There’s a silver lining in every cloud, and AVATAR’s designer Steve Dashew took this passage and details provided by an overseas telephone interview with Nick to obtain some realtime performance data. Steve has written a detailed account of his analysis that you may want to read at his SetSail blog, link below.
Meanwhile, to captain Nick and crew Danny, we’re glad you’re safe and sound. Kudos on a job well done!