April 24

We're still here. We wanted to be leaving by now, but it was not to be. First, the rigger failed to order a replacement drum and drum cover for the roller furler. The rigger finally got the forestay and furler foils assembled and on the boat last week, but when he turned to me and said "You got the drum now?" I knew we were in big trouble. At least everything else is done.

Unfortunately, the weather is not right so we can't leave anyway. So we wait. The furler parts should be here tomorrow (Thursday in NZ) so we should have that done and the genoa on the furler by Monday, easy. Then its just a matter of waiting for the right weather window.

What we want is to see is the backside of a low pressure system with a nice fat high pressure system behind it. The highs and lows tend to alternate in a parade of weather coming from Australia, to the West. When a low (which brings bad weather) passes a high behind it, usually, brings fair weather. However, when the high is established the winds tend to be light and from the wrong direction. So the time to sprint is on the back of the low so winds are favorable and fresh. Then you need the high to be big enough and slow enough to prevent another low from barreling in too soon - i.e.. before you are far enough North to be out of its influence.

Anyway, fortunately I don't have to forecast the right conditions, there are several other sources like Bob McDavitt of the NZ Met Service who publishes a weekly newsletter which outlines the weeks weather ahead in the tropics, and during the season when passage making is done gives a go/no go analysis for boats preparing to leave.

In Paihia in the Bay of Islands Dez from "Russell Radio" provides a similar service plus a two-way boat check in and weather information exchange. Dez also gives go/no-go analysis and once a boat is underway collects weather data from you daily which can be monitored by other boats to hear about weather from boats which left before you (i.e.. weather ahead of you).

Right now we are looking at a possible window opening up next Tuesday, perhaps Monday but perhaps as late as Thursday. We still have a small list of things to get ready (gear to lash on deck, oil change for the genset, re-installing the 110v heater element, cleaning out the sea strainers - a job best left as long as possible - and one or two others. Just so you don't think we're lazing about here.