Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rattle Your Dags

Today has been very special. Firstly the sailing is near perfect. We have about 10-15 knots from the East and we are on a comfortable close reach. The sea is smooth, the sky is blue but it's not too hot. Conditions have been so good, in fact, that we have been able to hoist our cruising chute once again. This always feels pretty special as though Kika's in her Sunday best. The weather prognosis also looks very benign which can only enhance our mood.

During the night on my watch, I noticed a mast-head light near on starboard aft quarter. When I checked 20 minutes later, it was on our beam and 15 minutes after that it was ahead of us. We thought there was a possibility it may be Zeferin but when we called on the VHF there was no reply so I concluded it was some kind of large super yacht judging by its pace. During our morning chat on the radio, however, it transpired that it had been Zeferin sneaking up on us in stealth mode (Joanie had 'forgotten' to turn on the VHF).I was amazed as the boat I saw had taken the lead so quickly. Anyway, they hove-to to wait for us so we could rendez-vous which we managed at about 0900.Meeting mid-ocean sounds quite pointless and dull (after all, we only said 'goodbye' to these people 4 days ago) but nothing could be further from the truth. We rarely see other boats actually under sail, and in such calm conditions we could get really close and talk to Sandy and Joan. We played around in each others' wakes for about half an hour and then they 'rattled their dags' (Kiwi term meaning 'get a move on') and were gone. It's quite sad as their landfall is not Opua but Auckland where they live, so we shall not see them when we make landfall, BUT we shall be visiting them as we've been invited to stay and sample genuine New Zealand life (I may be wrong but I think it might involve salty sea-dog talk and lots of rum.)

As Zeferin disappeared over the horizon, we just had to wait for Noa to catch us up which they eventually did at about 1600.Not content to just wave and shout at each other, Rita was determined to make physical contact and threw me a book to read on passage, and I chucked one back in return. Who says girls can't throw? Both books landed squarely in the appropriate cockpit.So now we are trailing at the rear, but it's good to know there are plenty of other boats behind us including Islay - the other Kika boat. Surely they can't overtake us can they?

It's now 9pm, the cruising chute is safely stowed and we are back to bog standard genoa and main. The wind has picked up and is jostling us about a little, so we may have to reef down soon. It's pretty cold in the evenings these days and we have broken out the sleeping bags for warmth. Seems not long ago we were struggling 24/7 to keep cool. We're hoping for another lovely day tomorrow. Meanwhile, Happy Hallowe'en!

Kika from Zeferin

Zeferin from Kika

Noa from Kika

Position @ 21:00 (GMT +13): S26° 24' E179° 21'
Daily run: 117 nmiles
Distance to go to Opua: 579 nmiles

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