Thursday, November 26, 2015


Author: Mark
Date: Nov 27, 1:00am NZT
Location: 34 15 S - 175 38 E
Conditions: 6-8ts @ 160 TWA, 228T COG, 5.3 kts AVG SOG, flat seas
24 HR Avg: 145 NM (We are tracking 1pm - 1pm)

The big news today was our double hookup of tuna! Around 8.30am we heard the lines go zing, and knew we had two good sized fish on the line. We've had fish on the line virtually every day of our sail...but have been less fortunate on getting them 'on the boat'. This time was different. We managed to land both fish. It took about an hour to clean and prep the fish for the fridge (yes Sarah, I did double bag each batch...grin). Everyone was thrilled to have fresh fish for the finally into Opua. We had seared tuna for lunch and a full spread of sashimi for dinner. It was excellent. Pics of the fish are posted on Facebook.

The closer we get to Opua, the slower we've been moving. We've been battling a lot of current today on the nose. Presently we have about .5-.75kts against us with virtually no apparent wind given the angle. We were hoping to arrive to Opua by noon on Friday, but it appears we are not going to arrive before 6pm. That means we will be quarantined on the boat until we clear customs on Saturday. We were all looking forward to cold beer, and lots of socializing with fellow sailors at the Yacht Club tomorrow evening. Looks like we may have to wait until Saturday night for the festivities....

As the journey winds down, I have to say it's been an excellent trip. We had a great time in Fiji, a good sail to South Minerva Reef, great diving, and a broad reach the entire way from Minerva to Opua. While I prefer more wind for a passage, a comfortable sail trumps a bashing any day. I'm excited to be back in New Zealand, but also sad to leave friends that have gone separate directions over the past couple of months. It's bittersweet as the passage winds down and we approach New Zealand.

Happy Thanksgiving to our friends and family back in the USA!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Iron Sails

Author: Mark
Date: Nov 26, 12:50am NZT
Location: 32 19 S - 176 53 E
Conditions: 8-10ts @ 165 TWA, 212T COG, 6.2 kts AVG SOG, 1.0m swell
24 HR Avg: 156 NM (We are tracking 1pm - 1pm)

We had a good, uneventful day. The biggest struggle aboard is the need to use our engines. We've been motor sailing most of the day with winds variable, light and sometimes non-existent. Overall it's better to have calm conditions than getting whacked with a low passing over New Zealand, but it is still frustrating to use engines. If we were not racing against the arrival of a small low on Saturday, we'd truck along at 4-5kts under sail...but the luxury of the wind and only wind driving us to a destination south of 30 degrees can be foolish with potentially strong and dangerous weather systems ripping across these low latitudes. Last week the low over New Zealand brought 50kts, lighting, rain and hellish conditions on the engine propulsion is the order of the day!

To keep ourselves busy during the calm conditions the crew has found different ways to keep occupied. I was in the galley making a chocolate cake as a luxury item while James and Carlos enjoyed an in depth conversation on aviation. James however, wins the prize aboard Field Trip for the most creative way to enjoy the down time. He had a small project - find a way to remove critters from shells he found while diving. After soaking the shells in a bleach concoction, with the crab no where to be found, James grabbed the cordless drill, some small drill bits, and proceeded to drill holes in the shells. Once complete, he used wire to poke the deceased critters out of the shell. It was a long, hard afternoon's work, but success was achieved. Bits and pieces slowly freed themselves from the inside to the fresh outside air and into a bucket. James was thrilled to get them clean. Now, he's on the hunt for some epoxy that matches the shell color....hmmm....what can we get into tomorrow??

Our ETA for Opua, NZ is Friday midday. I'm not sure what we'll do to celebrate Thanksgiving. We'll just be thankful for a 20kg Yellowfin Tuna....that is if we can land any fish! We've added some chumming devices to stir up the fish in our pursuit of 'The Big One'. So far, the fish between Minerva and New Zealand are winning 3/0. Three lost, none landed as of yet. I guess we may have to settle for SPAM and just be thankful on Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In the Groove

Author: Mark
Date: Nov 25, 2:00am NZT
Location: 30 18 S - 178 13 E
Conditions: 11-13ts @ 130 TWA, 185T COG, 6.7 kts AVG SOG, 1.0m swell
24 HR Avg: 168 NM (We are tracking 1pm - 1pm)

Well, we knew it would happen and it did. The winds have died down significantly. In fact, for six hours (6pm - midnight) we had virtually no wind and motor sailed. Arg. I really hate flicking on the engines, but we did. We are targeting arrival by Friday. If we don't keep the boat moving we will push into Friday night and risk getting hit by the low moving over the North Island Saturday.

We received a couple of questions regarding our sail configuration during this trip. We've been using our mainsail with our new North Sails Code Zero. The Code Zero (not to be confused with the 'Screecher') is our newest sail aboard Field Trip. It is 30% larger than our old North Sails Screecher. This new sail is a significant improvement over the previous sail. Burns (sail designer for Team NZ Americas Cup) at North Sails in Aukland designed the sail based on our requirements. In summary, its not nearly as flat as a traditional screecher, and performs best with AWA 45-110. I'll spare you the technical details. In summary, this sail allows us to really move the boat when reaching or broad reaching in up to 22kts of true wind. We get into a groove that significantly exceeds what we previously could sail under the old screecher or genoa.

The big event today was our 30 minute struggle to land a very large fish. James worked hard on the reel, and we almost landed the fish....but didn't. The fish was a monster, and ended up bending the treble hook off the Rapala lure. Needless to say, we were a disappointed crew. Especially after we re-rigged both rods with black steel leader to prevent losing the lure. Oh well, better luck next time!

There is not much more to report on our trip today. It has been comfortable and uneventful. We'll dip the lures in the water at sunrise and hope for a better fish story with pictures for our next post!


We've been posting more pictures on Facebook. I can only post one pic for each blog entry while sailing.