On arising from below, Bob and I were greeted by the sight of rolling hills, the leftover result from those overnight squalls. Grey skies were brightened by the rarity of the brightest of rainbows as the sun fought to break her way through the clouds’ dreary domination.
On undertaking the daily sail check, one of the main’s upper batten cars (one side of the car is attached to the main, whilst the other is in the track that is adjoined to the mast; as the main is lowered or raised the cars slide up and down) was found to have broken. Down came the sail and the guys mulled over numerous solutions before finally choosing to substitute one of the lower cars. Task completed up went the sail once more.
Over the duration of the day winds proved light and early evening found us only now approaching Reinga Ridge where, even from a distance, it could be seen thar the seas were seriously confused. Forming part of the underwater continent of Zealandia that submerged after breaking away from Gondwanaland millions of years in the past, this small area contained features that had the depth rising from 1000 metres below to as little as 29. In addition to the sudden loss of depth, were currents that wended their way in and around the hidden features situated within the region, and swells from the previous storm working their way across from both the Tasman Sea and the South East. This would prove to be an interesting night as, like a sea slug, we traversed the ridge.
Unsurprisingly, by now, as on the previous evenings, by 8 PM winds had died!! Having attained the ridge, Australis 1 rocked and rolled as the waters created havoc: there was no choice for it but to have the Iron Maiden thrumming once more. The weather not playing ball on the journey thus far, was proving rather frustrating, since we were now seriously behind plotted projections of the forecaster and another front was well on its way.
Overnight, another wretched car on the main had broken, so in a repeat of the previous occasion down it came. On closer inspection the men discovered the cars were nowhere near strong enough for the stresses they were experiencing. When the main had been replaced, the sail makers had substituted cars meant for a much smaller sail onto it. Under a gentle day sail this was not an issue, however rocky seas and fluky winds did not come under the terminology of a gentle day sail. With this being the case, so as to protect both the remaining cars and main there was nothing for it but to run the sail under third reef, which in turn meant speeds attained would be significantly reduced. Oh well, such is life!