KatieKat Australia - New Zealand 2002 Passage Reports

This page contains the raw reports which I sent to family and a few friends using SailMail during our passage from Australia to New Zealand. This is the first time I haven't written the html code myself but instead have used a non-text program to automagically generate the html code for a webpage. Except for a lack of elegance, it looks ok at first glance. In the future I intend to clean this page up somewhat, but that will have to wait - as I write this on December 9, we are very busy trying to get everything settled so we can return home for Christmas. Joe Siudzinski

Click here to return to Southport to Lord Howe Passage Webpage
Click here to return to Lord Howe Stopover Webpage
Click here to return to Lord Howe to Opua Passage Webpage
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Greetings and Salutations from KatieKat off the coast of Australia.

Our position as of 1800hrs AusQld time on 18 November 2002 was:
Latitude: 28deg09minS
Longitude: 153deg45minE
Course: 116degMagnetic
GPS Speed: 5.5kts (assisted by about a one knot current)
Wind Direction: 58degTrue
Windspeed: 8.8kts and steady
SeaState: less than one metre, but with a chop on it causing us to bounce around a bit

Our intermediate destination is Lord Howe Island, on our way to Opua, New Zealand.

At the last minute we were joined by long-time friend Adam Aleksander, who flew out from Boise - he marvels at the contrast between the Idaho winter and the Gold Coast springtime!

We've been paying careful attention to the weather - among others, we've been downloading detailed Met and Wave predictions off the US Navy site -

In the evenings I would set up three Macs (one driving a large LCD monitor, thus giving us four screens) - we'd look like a veritable Met office with all sorts of predictive charts to compare pressures, precipitation, waves, etc. We've had some wonderful assistance from Dave Seller (Nimbus) in interpreting all this data available - have learned a lot from him!

We've had a simply gorgeous start to our trip, as so accurately predicted after looking at all those charts. The thunder and lightning and rain we had just a couple of days ago has all gone. As I type this, it is a beautiful moonlit night and we're just happily bounding (well, bumping) along in fairly light winds which are unfortunately dropping... The boat is loaded down but still manages to perform quite well.

Enough for now - if you receive this it means that once again all the Mac/PC/Pactor/HF bits and pieces managed to talk to each other.

Fair winds to all

Joe Siudzinski


Date: 19 November 2002
Time: 1800hrsAusQld (0800GMT)
Position: 29deg46minS 155deeg43minE
Course: 100 - 120 degM, varying
Speed: at this moment, 7.0knots
Distance to Lord Howe Island 202nm
WindSpeed: at this moment, 10.2knots
Wind Direction: at this moment, 57degT
Waves: less than one metre on a one metre swell


I had just written this great boring account of today's non-events, and the blasted Windows program running within my Mac crashed before I saved it! The Mac didn't crash. Forget it, no more paragraphs of flowery superlatives about what a great day this was - everyone should be this miserable!


Beautiful moonlit night last night and tonight

Gorgeous day, with winds 4-11knots and calm seas. Shorts and t-shirt temperatures, but not too hot.

145nm (GPS) 6pm last night to 6pm tonight, in these light winds and an overloaded boat! (I still think there's a current pushing us along, as the knotmeter and GPS are always off)

Two great BBQ meals - Linda, where exactly does it say that using the barbie is not allowed while passagemaking?

Got SailMail to work at 4am this morning.
Got SailMail to work in PactorIII mode this afternoon.

Grib file downloads successful and nicely inducted into ViewFax. In a nicely compressed format within an e-mail, these files provide us with predicted wind arrows (velocity and direction) and pressures in our area. Wonderful supplement to the weather faxes and voice forecasts.

Successfully communicated with Dave Seller on the HF. He's so kindly helping us with the weather, and it's always nice to talk with the outside world during a passage.


Existing HF propagation program doesn't work. New HF propagation program won't load and locks up both the PC and Mac. Tomorrow's problem.

Unable to hear Russell Radio well enough to log on with them. I'll listen for them again at 0430 tomorrow.

BTW, forgot to mention yesterday's highlight: shortly after departing the dock in Southport the knotmeter wasn't working so I nosed the boat up to a beach, lowered the ladder, and volunteered the crew to clear the impeller - don't fret, the water temperature was in the 80's(F) and, besides, he needed a shower.

Enough for now - we're all doing great and enjoying this experience. Weather is EVERYTHING when cruising!

Fair winds to all,

Joe Siudzinski

PS If these reports stop coming, don't freak out - it probably means I pushed the wrong button on the PC and the Mac couldn't stand it any longer and threw it up. :-)


Date: 11/20/02
Time: 1800hrsAusQld (0800GMT)
Position: 30deg47minS 157deg35minE
Course: 108degM
Speed: 5.0 (GPS)
Distance to Lord Howe Island: 88nm
WindSpeed: 10.5kts
Wind Direction: 44degT
Barometer: 1020hPA steady
Waves: minor
Distance covered in the last 24 hours: only 116nm (see below)

Another disgusting report sent during our passage from Queensland to New Zealand's North Island via Lord Howe Island on our 10m Seawind1000 catamaran. Plan on stopping at Lord Howe to let the upcoming front pass through before continuing.

Now, as I type this at about nine in the evening, the full moon has come up, the seas are just slightly rippled with an almost imperceptible swell, the wind is on the beam at 9-10 knots and the boat is happily sailing along at 5-6 knots - this is what I had promised Kathy that ocean passagemaking is like, and we've been waiting 2-1/2 years to actually experience it! It doesn't get any better than this!

The winds had died down last night and we had sailed along very slowly for many many hours, which accounts for our relatively poor 24-hour run - at some point we no longer had the favorable current but instead were now bucking an adverse one-knot current which lasted until just a few hours ago. Now, both the knotmeter and GPS read the same. We briefly had some nice winds (14 knots) this afternoon.

Haven't seen another boat or ship since we left the Australian coast.

Forgot to mention that yesterday we were buzzed by a CoastWatch airplane - contacted us and asked for our details. Very courteous.

Today the engineers got to play: pulled out the load cell (a huge shackle with a very precise load-cell pin) and HP data logger and recorded mainsheet loads for want of something to measure. For the record, with a wind of 12 knots at 90degT to the boat and a boatspeed of 6.5knots, the average mainsheet load was 250lbs with a peak load of 550lbs induced by boat motion on the 1.5m swells. Preparing this lab equipment to measure anchor loading, para-anchor loads, drogue loads, engine thrust, etc. Hope to have a chance to test it when we're tied up to a mooring at Lord Howe and the front comes through in a few days. Primarily interested in knowing what loads are induced on the anchoring gear by the boat due to wind and waves.

Finally heard Russell Radio this afternoon but decided not to log on with Des until after we leave Lord Howe. Wasn't able to talk with Dave today - lots of interference.

The barbie again was used for making dinner. Decadent.

Enough - we're not suffering! Anticipated landfall at Lord Howe is tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for your patience in hearing us out - if you received this e-mail it means that the mass of computers, black boxes, radios, and convoluted operating systems still works...


Joe Siudzinski


Date: 21 November 2002
Time: Who knows? Uh, the sun's about to set
Position: Prone ...uh, moored in the lagoon at Lord Howe Island
Course: entree', main, or...? uh, it's circular, depending on the tide
Speed: never tried the stuff
Distance to Lord Howe Island: oh, about three boatlengths from this mooring
WindSpeed: 5 knots, wafting
Wind Direction: I dunno 'cause I turned off the instruments ... yes I do, the sun's behind the boat and the wind is from the front
Waves: maybe 1-1/2 inches

Arrived at Lord Howe at around 11:00am, but had to wait outside the lagoon for a couple of hours before the harbormaster could break free to assign us a mooring (poor guy, he was trying to organize a cricket match and the Air Force band concert this afternoon). There is no anchoring allowed in this World Heritage site. Only one other sailboat here.

It IS beautiful here! Do a Google search on "Lord Howe Island" and you'll see some websites with incredible pictures of this place.

Just finished a swim in the lagoon and the shower was delightful. Saw a huge ray and a large turtle in the crystal-clear water. Checked out the boat from underneath - no barnacles.

Last night there were a few hours of a very bumpy ride, the boat undergoing quite a wrenching motion. Today the wind tapered off to about two knots so we motored the last ten miles.

We plan on hanging out here for a few days until it looks good for the passage to NZ - that's serious stuff so we want to try to time it carefully.

No cellphone connectivity here, so I'll continue using this SailMail for e-mails unless I can plug into a phoneline onshore. It's ok to send us short notes via this SailMail address, and we always enjoy hearing from you - our connection speeds using PactorIII are very acceptable and we are not approaching our 10-minute daily allocation yet.

All the best from all of us,

Joe Siudzinski


Time: 0600 NZDST (1700Z)
Position: 31dg48minS 159deg48minE
Course: 093degM (GPS)
Speed: 5.6knots
Distance to NZ North Cape WP: 686nm
WindSpeed: 8.7kts
Wind Direction: 200degT
Waves: just became a little bumpy, too dark to judge height

Left Lord Howe Island yesterday evening, after spending 2-1/2 days on this idyllic paradise island. If it weren't for our weather window pushing us along, we'd gladly spend a few weeks there. Have some great above- and below-water photos to show off.

Tried, but failed, to make a connection to the Internet using the acoustic modem in a telephone booth (you should have seen the looks I got!). Despite the operator's insistence that it was an invalid phone number, I did get into my Telstra BigPond ISP and the usual noises one hears when connecting. When talking on the phone there was not only about a second time delay but it also seemed that leading edges of conversations get truncated - I'm afraid this probably caused the failure of my modem to linkup with the ISP. No website update. (Sigh)

We're starting off this passage pleasantly enough, with the moon up for most of the night. Nothing interesting to report except the preventer snapshackle keeps popping off - will replace it when it gets light.

Fair winds to all,

Joe Siudzinski


Date: 25 Nov.2002
Time: 0600
Position: 32deg22.9minS 162deg23.0minE
Course: shooting for 090M (often can't point up to it)
Speed: Varies, 5.7kts at this moment
Distance to North Cape NZ Waypoint 550nm
WindSpeed: variable, 8-15 knots
Wind Direction: South, SE
Waves: about a meter on a one meter swell; bumpy
Last 24 hour GPS mileage: 127nm

Finally settled on this e-mail methodology: I dabble at writing during the day and evening, then when I get up early in the morning I fill in the above blanks and send off this message as propagation seems best at this time. Pick up any incoming mail and the daily grib weather forecasts at the same time (they're wonderful and so far seem quite accurate - they provide both graphic and text windspeed, wind direction, barometric pressure, and isobars anywhere along our course with a five-day lookahead).

Spent the entire day (24th) beam reaching in 10-13 knots of wind, boatspeeds up to 8 knots, but usually lots lower. Seas on the bumpy side and an adverse current which is why the average speed is way down.

Finally pushed the Track button on the autopilot - I've had this capability for some time but have resisted using it as it is really decadent: the GPS tells the autopilot where to turn based upon the cross-track error to our waypoint (which is hundreds of miles away). This saves us punching buttons every so often and compensates for the course variations resulting primarily from ocean currents, which we are finding are considerable; for example, as I type this at 7:00pmNZ Sunday evening I show a boatspeed of 7.8 knots on the knotmeter but only 6.6 knots on the GPS (true wind is 14 knots right on the beam - and it is bumpy). The Garmin GPS feeds the RayMarine NMEA-SeaTalk converter. Once the info is on the SeaTalk bus, it can run the Raytheon autopilot. Actually, the radar has been using the Garmin GPS information directly for some time, but hogs it and doesn't output it onto the SeaTalk bus - a marketing ploy by Raytheon that forces one to buy their darn converter. This converter is nice because it also outputs RS232 and feeds the Mac which can not only display all the instrument information but can show the boat position on a chart (I don't, instead relying on pencil and paper charts). What I'm surprised at is how rarely the autopilot actually moves the wheel to make a course correction - this is good, because it conserves power.

Missed the noon sextant site today. Will try tomorrow.

Signed up with Des at Russell Radio this morning. He is based in NZ and performs a wonderful service keeping track of yachts around (primarily) the South Pacific - he does a roll call and you give him your position, course, speed, etc. and he provides a brief weather update for the next day or so.

Once again, if you stop getting these reports it does not mean we're in trouble - there are so many variables associated with getting this e-mail out that we should all be amazed the darn thing works at all! As an example, the seas started getting a little bumpier a few minutes ago as I was typing this (7:00pmNZ) - so I closed the overhead hatch above the main saloon where I have everything set up - oh so easy for a little wave to jump up there and down the hatch which could wipe out the computer, HF, and modem (but the radar, VHF, GPS, and autopilot controller would be ok as they're waterproof.

Midnight update: the winds have been varying in intensity and direction for the past five hours - they have shifted to the southeast necessitating us to work hard at going to windward - work hard is relative as it simply means that we try to get the boat's autopilot optimized under wind vane steering. Decadence.

0600 Update - not a good night: very bumpy seas and winds changing direction constantly. Trying hard to keep our course.

Gosh, I jabber too much! Sorry 'bout that. In my next report I'll try to give an insight into the day's routine at sea.

Fair winds to all,



Date: 26 November, 2002
Time: 0600NZ (1700Z)
Position: 32deg42minS 164deg16minE
Course: 089Mag
Speed: 4.3kts (motoring)
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: 453
WindSpeed: 3 knts
Wind Direction: 108T
Waves: calm, on a couple of low intersecting swells
Last 24 hours: 100nm

Hi All!

Monday was another uneventful day. Unfortunately, light winds and lumpy seas don't make life very pleasant, but at least we were (almost) able to point the boat towards our waypoint off the northeastern tip of New Zealand. As I type this on Monday evening I shudder to think how poor our average speed will be, as the winds have been down to six knots all too often.

An insight into the day's routine:

Sleep, check the weather, push buttons, check the weather, eat, check the weather, sleep, check the weather, push buttons, check the weather, pull a string, check the weather, eat, check the weather, sleep, check the weather, etc. All of us have periodically taken to whining (whinging in Australian) "are we there yet?" like kids in the back seat of the car. To put this into perspective, we now have close to 11,000 nautical miles on the boat - imagine crossing the United States four times at an average speed of six miles per hour!

As always, weather is foremost in our minds, as the Tasman is not a friendly place. We've been lucky so far, and hope it holds. The weather inputs we continuously check are the weatherfaxes from Australia and New Zealand, which supplement the daily SailMail grib charts. Des at Russell Radio gives us a couple of days lookahead and we know that Dave Seller is looking well ahead to see what's coming. Presently we've been in the middle of a slow-moving high, and the forecast for the next few days looks ok, although there are some lows which will hopefully stay down below us.

Enough. Hope y'all have a nice day. Sending this just after 6:00amNZ, while still motoring slowly with the very light wind pretty much on the nose

Joe Siudzinski

0640 I tried repeatedly to send out e-mails and was unable to do so. My ATU doesn't want to tune itself. If this does get out, I'd appreciate some suggestions.


Date: 27 November, 2002
Time: 0600NZ (1700Z)
Position: 33deg08minS 166deg13minE
Course: 087M
Speed: 5.0knts GPS (adverse current 0.5 knot)
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: 351nm
WindSpeed: 10knots
Wind Direction: 029degT
Waves: still less than a metre on about a half-meter swell

All right, all right! Sorry, I'll stop being so long-winded and jabbery with so little to say in my preceding reports...

Once again, I'm typing this in the evening, on Tuesday the 26th, but will send this out early morning with the latest data at the beginning.

Uneventful day - motored for a good part of it as the winds were very low to non-existent for some time. The good news is that the waves all but went away and all that was left were some low swells, so it was a very peaceful sail or motorsail.

I forgot to mention that we have not seen another boat or ship since we left Lord Howe Island; in fact, except for LHI, there has been no traffic at all since we left Australia.

Took out the sextant and shot both the moon and sun (simultaneously for a fix) as well as the noon sight. We don't talk about the accuracy compared with the GPS...

Weird radio propagation phenomena - heard the VHF weather broadcast emanating from Sydney - 700 miles away!

Another delicious meal this evening on the barbie.

On the weather front, looks as though we'll be having headwinds when we close New Zealand. Really should conserve our fuel.

So, all is peaceful and quiet this evening.

Early morning update: the winds picked up a little last night allowing us to completely shut down the engine and sail all night long. Now, the wind is still increasing (10.5knots) as I type this and we're up to 5.3 knots and climbing... hope it continues.

Peace to all,



Date: 28 November 2002
Time: 0600NZDST (1700UTC)
Position: 33deg33.7minS 168deg05.5minE
Course: 088degM
Speed: 2.4kts(GPS) 3.2kts(knotmeter)
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: 253 miles
Last 24 Hours: 102nm (I didn't want to look)
WindSpeed: picked up to a whopping 4.4kts
Wind Direction: just now shifted to SSE (157degT)
Waves: flat calm on an extremely slight swell, thank goodness

November 27
Good wind all morning: 9.5 knots 70deg off port for a close reach of 5.5-6knots, which is fine for our overloaded boat.

I wrote the above late morning. By 2:00pm the wind had dropped to about 4 knots and we had the motor running and by late afternoon there was absolutely no wind! It finally came up at about 7pm and, as I type this at 8:00pm we are sailing hard on the wind at 4.5 knots into about 8.5 knots of true wind, with very calm seas which always allows us to point very nicely.

Forgot to mention that our solar panel voltage regulator has been acting up: it gets confused and forgets to regulate and allows full current out of the panels to pass through so we had a couple of instances of batteries still being pumped amps while at 15.5 volts! Manually resetting it does the trick and it then behaves itself. After the bulk charging at about 14.4v, it then cycles slowly, allowing the batteries to charge to 13.8v, turning itself off and allowing the batteries to go down to about 13.3v, and then turning itself back on again - cycle time about a minute, depending on the load at that time. Glad I put the additional instrumentation in place which allows me to see the problem. I'm going to check my wiring because I had rewired the solar panel B+ to go to the main bus instead of being permanently tied to battery #1 - I could very well be the culprit, as the regulator is in the negative leg which I didn't touch. Going to build an overvoltage alarm, as that overcharging has happened twice in the last four days. Battery fluid ok, in case you were wondering.

BTW, power has not been an issue at all - the sun is almost overhead so the solar panels are pumping out, plus we've been motoring lots. Enough to keep the five computers on board happy (yes, Adam brought his PC laptop - a power hog, I might add, (5.5 amps!)). Actually, I only use two Macs: one for this e-mail and the other down below for weatherfaxes. The onboard PC is dedicated to the load cell instrumentation and one more Mac is put away as a backup.

A notable event happened today: we each took a nice hot shower! We've been really good about conserving water, so it was a deserved treat. The propane heater was appreciated in this noticeably cooler weather.

Update early am Thursday 11/28

We motored all night, as there was absolutely no wind! We are in the middle of a high. Still motoring slowly (3.2 knots knotmeter) to maximize our fuel, always using one engine, and are now bucking a one-knot current! Lightning in the distance. Looking forward to the Wx update as I upload this report. When there is no wind we lower the sails to keep them from slatting and thus chafing - otherwise, if they can draw, even a very light breeze assists our boatspeed in motorsailing.

On a personal level, we're all doing fine, having settled down into a watch routine which has someone sleeping at almost all times and is tailored to each person's sleeping preferences.

Once again, if you don't hear from us don't get concerned as there are lots of things that can go wrong with the present electronics lash-up.

Slow progress. (sigh)

Regards to all,

Joe Siudzinski
sv KatiKat


Date: 11/29/02
Time: 0600NZDST (1700UTC)
Position: 33deg33.2minS 168deg43.0minE
Course: 060M
Speed: 5.0
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: 175
Last 24 Hours: 90
WindSpeed: 10.0
Wind Direction:: 126degM
Waves: Bumpy, but less than a metre on a small swell

Thursday Evening 28 November 2002

Hi Everybody, and Happy Thanksgiving!

As is now my custom, I'm typing this in the evening while the day's events are fresh in my mind and I'm not rushed as I am in the early morning ...

We spent the day motoring and attempting to motorsail in negligible winds. It is a milkpond out here! Our supply of gasoline is being carefully rationed. Calculation of our remaining fuel is inconclusive, as it is based upon a guestimate of fuel consumpion: despite our engines consuming 1.14 and 1.15 litres/hour average over 700 hours for each engine, we really don't know until we run out. We don't have a fuel gauge, and I've never really needed to know EXACTLY until now - I don't have a normal Seawind fuel tank onboard. We have 50 litres in jerry-cans, and poured in 20 litres already. We run one engine at a time, slowly. I want to save at least 20-hours' worth of fuel for the final slog down the NZ east coast, as it promises to be a windward beat all the way to Opua. BTW, when I tried to buy a fuel flow meter for this low a fuel flow rate I was laughed at (they simply don't exist).

Exciting day today: we saw another sailboat! We slowly overtook them as we motorsailed in almost zero wind, coming within about 3 miles of them. Wanted to putt on over and ask them for some Grey Poupon, but we're really conserving our fuel. They didn't answer my VHF calls, but after about six hours they called us (their radio had been off) and we chatted: they're a 60' Alden schooner(?) called Lady Windermere, also heading for Opua. They're coming from Noumea, New Caledonia and their starter motor is broken which is why they're sailing sooooo slowly.

Today our GPS crossed the 11,000nm mark AND our boat knotmeter log crossed 10,000nm! The reason for the disparity is that I would often not put the knotmeter impeller back in when we'd go for short sails (I take it out when we're docked, otherwise little critters grow inside the paddlewheels). Also, the knotmeter does consistently read lower than the GPS (recalibration is on the list of things to do).

(continued in Report#10B)


(continued from Report#10A)

I have two HF antennas on board: the primary one serviced by the Antenna Tuner Unit and driven by the HF, and the secondary one mounted on the starboard railing which I use with the Radio Shack receiver to pick up weatherfaxes. Well, the secondary antenna which I had just installed (it replaced the previous one which broke when the mainsail smashed into it in a thunderstorm earlier this year) didn't work at all well - I had mounted it forward of the shroud and ran its wire for about 15' right alongside one of the lifelines, which probably sucked the signal from it :-). Anyway, I relocated this antenna to the aft railing with a short isolated cable run into my study and now I receive beautiful weatherfaxes again on the Radio Shack receiver and Macintosh. The picture quality rivals that obtained from the upstairs Icom HF/Mac combination.

Want to know why Cappuccino is the preferred coffee serving onboard? The foamy cream topping keeps one from spilling the coffee when carrying it up the companionway to the main saloon. Besides, it also acts as an insulator and keeps the coffee warm longer than just plain coffee. Have this neat battery-powered (rechargeable AA) frother which whips up skim milk wonderfully!

Need to ask you techies why my antenna tuner sometimes refuses to tune. The only control over it I have is the "tune" button on the Icom HF control panel and it either does it and lights the light or it doesn't. The ATU is an Icom AT-4. Lately, it has been very reluctant to tune frequencies which previously were not a problem at all. Any suggestions are welcome.

Friday Morning Update

Well, the good news is that the wind finally filled; the bad news is that it is from the wrong direction: on the nose! We are proceeding eastwards on a ENE course. In fact, I see that we are exactly back up to the same latitude we were 24 hours ago, having been down to 33deg45.9 at 1900hrsNZDST last night. Anyway, we're sailing and not motoring and I'm looking at which strategy to adopt: originally we were planning on passing between Three Kings Islands and North Cape and so the question remains as to whether we should tack to do that or keep heading EastNE. The bad news is the New Zealand weatherfax: there's a low way off the northeast corner of NZ but I can't tell where it's moving. The other bad news is that another little low (mild) has popped up off the Australia coast, in addition to the one already there (a very mild one) which is moving eastwards but will be below us. Since y'all are on the Internet you might want to look at the US Navy weathersite to see what's in store for us: http://152.80.49
Anyway, I see that our speed is up to 5.5 knots so we're finally trucking.

Hope y'all (in the US) have a great Turkey Day!
Regards from the Tasman Sea.
Joe Siudzinski


Date: 30 November 2002
Position: 33-53.4S by 170-51.4E
Course: 155M (172T)
Speed: 3.8kts
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: 114nm
Last 24 Hours: approx. 95nm(the crew didn't record yesterday's 0400 position)
WindSpeed: 7.6kts
Wind Direction: 104degT
Waves: bumpy (it's black out there so I can't see them)

Friday (I think) 29 November 2002

I'm in trouble with yesterday's lengthy reports: by the time I sent them I had poor propagation which, together with my untuned antenna, resulted in a poor connection and it took forever to upload/download (poor connection = slow transmit/receive speeds). I had undoubtedly exceeded my daily on-line ten-minute time limit.

We tried pinching and pointing the boat as hard as we could and it actually went very well to windward because the seas flattened out and in the 8-knot breeze we had for most of the day we did ok, but SLOWLY. The wind shifted around to the SSE as the day progressed and we actually were able to lay the Three Kings Islands clearance waypoint for a while. Unfortunately, by late afternoon, converging swells and a nasty chop coincided with a wind increase and unfavorable direction change so that as I type this at around 9pm we are bouncing around as though we were in a washing machine and heading 20 degrees below our intended course (not good, as we will go thump into something in about 75 miles if we continue this).

Despite all this, Adam produced a magnificent meal on the barbie again, and we're pigging out since we have to use up all the perishable food before we reach NZ because it will be confiscated and destroyed, anyway. We're all doing just fine.

Saw our first ship this evening about an hour ago - big container ship about 6 miles off to starboard.

Didn't listen to the BBC at dinnertime, so have no idea what's going on in the world.

Someone reading these reports allowed as they thought that we were supposed to be relaxing in the light airs and savoring this passage. The response is that one doesn't dawdle in the Tasman. We've been lucky so far, and thankful for the great assistance we've had in weather planning ahead of time. Unlike other areas of the world, this passage can be uh, interesting, and one just wants to get it over with - much as Adam and I would like to try out the load-measuring instrumentation system on a para-anchor or drogue in interesting conditions :-)

30 November 0400

There looks like a big ugly fat buffalo on the weatherfax off the west coast of NZ, but we're above it.

Tacked last night about 10pm because we were being headed and were way off course (going E)- overnight we actully sailed on a course a little east of south - after we get down below Three Kings Islands we'll tack.

Hope this e-mail gets out - that antenna tuner is iffy... didn't retrieve any e-mails yesterday.

Gosh, we'll get to see land today for the first time since leaving Lord Howe.

Y'all have a nice day now, y'hear?



Distance to North Cape New Zealand:
Last 24 Hours:
Wind Direction::

Saturday evening, 30 November

Spent the morning, day, afternoon, and now evening beating - for you non-sailors, it means going to an upwind destination and nothing to do with crew treatment. For you sailors, you know what fun that is in lumpy seas, winds down to around 10knots. I've been tweaking the sails and the autopilot settings and must say that in these conditions that despite the very lumpy seas we've got this puppy going to windward on rails. Comfortable? No way! but we're moving. Having moved the heavy objects out from the ends of the boat and centralizing them down below is certainly helping, even though the anchor down there sure gets in the way. Passed the Three Kings waypoint (south of Three Kings Islands) and now we're thrashing along heading for North Cape. The SE wind had been unfavorable (wrong direction) all day long, became less unfavorable late in the afternoon for a short while allowing us to pass Three Kings on one tack and a straight line for North Cape, has now turned unfavorable again and we're being driven down below our destination. Just have to take a tack here pretty soon.

Shipping traffic around! This passage betwen the islands and the North Island is a shipping route, so we're going to have to pay a lot of attention all night long...

Passed a lone sailboat heading for Australia early today (a surprise to each of us as we didn't notice each other until we were quite close). I had done a radar scan about fifteen minutes earlier and he did not appear! In fact, he barely showed up on the radar when I was looking right at him maybe a quarter-mile away. Ships are easy to spot - it's other small boats that are the worry.

We're continuing to feast, and hope to have the perishable food pretty well eaten up by the time we arrive.

0445am December 1

Wow, broad reaching and doing 7 knots! I go to sleep and the winds rotate and pick up and everything is happy. Getting close to North Cape. Hope the winds keep clocking so we can avoid beating down the east coast of NZ.

A crescent moon just came up and its light is most welcome (no fun with pitch blackness around). Passed a boat less than a mile away - it had no running lights at all and barely showed up on the radar. The moon allowed us to see it. Like I said, ships are easy - it's small boats I worry about.

Bye for now.

Joe Siudzinski + crew


Date: 1 December
Time: 0500
Position: 34deg18.4minS 172deg34.8minE
Course: 076M
Speed: 7.5kts (knotmeter) 6.0kts (GPS)
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: 24.9nm
Last 24 Hours: 105nm (figures, as we were going at 2-3 knots for a long time)
WindSpeed: 14.3kts
Wind Direction: 203T
Waves: too dark to see, but not much over the deck

Oops, sorry. Forgot to fill in the form before sending off the last one. Right now as I type this we are on a wonderful broad reach and the knotmeter is touching 8 knots but we have an adverse current as the GPS is saying 6 knots. Great connection with SailMail this morning! Have a nice day, everybody. JoeS.

Date: 2 December, 2002
Time: 0422
Position: Inside the channel heading into Opua
Speed: 3 knots motoring
Distance to Opua: about five miles
Last 24 Hours: about 6 knots
Wind Direction: I dunno
Waves: none

0430am Monday December 2

Sending this update from the channel as we are approaching Opua because we may have poor propagation once we're inside the marina.

Calm beautiful night. Almost there.

Before I forget, the other day I got distracted and ended up giving out an incomplete website address for the US Navy weather and oceanographic info. It should have said:

Sunday afternoon, December 1.

What a difference a day makes! I'm typing this on a glorious sunny afternoon as we zoom down the coast of NZ on a screaming broad reach, the boat happily zipping along at 8+ knots in a 15-knot breeze, going way way up and way way down on these huge ocean swells generated by that low off to the northeast - it's a gentle roller-coaster ride because there is virtually no surface wave action. Now this is sailing!

Sunday evening

No sooner had I written the above when Someone Up There allowed as we were having too much fun and switched off the wind. Not only that, but that Someone Up There thought it would be fun to add some chop to the huge swells as we now motored along on the remaining fuel we had hoarded. I mean ZERO wind, which means the mainsail comes down to prevent its slatting from chafing the boltrope where the full-length battens attach (that's the area I just had repaired, with slatting being the suspected culprit). Sigh.

JoeS. + crew


Date: 2 December 2002
Time: Docked at 0520hrs NZDST (1620Z)
Position: Opua, 35deg18.853minS 174deg07.358minE tied up to Quarantine Dock
Course: quickly gobbling up our remaining grapefruit and oranges before they're confiscated
Speed: 0.0000kts
Distance to North Cape New Zealand: who cares? It's back there up the coast 78nm straight line
Last 24 Hours: 110nm - we motored slowly conserving fuel

Total mileage since start of trip: 1245nm
Total days: Departed 18 November 1230 (0200Z)
Arrived December 2 0520, with a 2-1/2 day stopover at Lord Howe Island

Incredible for the Tasman, ours was a completely light-airs passage. Thank you, Dave! Never even put in a reef into the sail! The few times we had the wind behind us, it was too light to even put up the spinnaker (we tried). I see from the latest grib chart that Lord Howe will be having 30-knot winds in the next couple of days.

The boat did just fine and accommodated the three of us in comfort ... all the bouncing around when the seas were bumpy is already fading from memory...

Thank you all for being so patient with my scribbling.

Once I sort through all the photos and figure out how to get connected, I hope to post a website update.

Need to clean up a little for Customs who will visit us in a few hours, and also catch up on some ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz's


Joe + Kathy + Adam
s/v KatieKat

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