(Please excuse the formatting: I tried for hours, but Blogger just isn't cooperating with me today.)
Tutukaka was pretty rolly in the left over swell – we’ve had a lot of E recently, but not as bad as it has been. Next day, Ladybug and Melody sailed in and I was invited over for dinner on Melody. I left bright and early on the following day for for Mimiwhangata and as I ghosted out the others followed suit.
They came over for dinner, and we had another pleasant evening. They left the next day for the Cavalli Is.
and in the afternoon, I ambled over to Whangaruru for Christmas. It was a lovely, quiet spot and I thoroughly enjoyed myself cooking good food and relaxing with a book I’d bought as a treat. I even had a couple of presents to open!!
I left a few days later and sailed down the harbour and round Cape Brett into the Bay of Islands. The almost non-existent wind of the morning had turned into a great F3 and everyone else was motoring downwind with an onshore swell, I had a fine sail. In fact if anyone wants to know what the greatest advantage of junk rig is over anything else, I reckon the last week or two's sailing has told me what it is: it's fun! And the reason it's fun is because it's so easy.
Coming to the end of the day, I sailed through the Waewaetorea Passage at the W end of Urupukapuka I. Ahead of me was the only other boat sailing in the Bay: he gybed three times, which would have been pretty scary in that narrow passage with the swell-driven waves breaking quite dramatically on either side. I sailed ridiculously by the lee (I was showing off and could have gybed) and then headed up for my anchorage. He dropped his sails and motored in: I had the prettiest little beat between the shore and a heap of anchored boats (four tacks in 200 yards) and dropped sail and anchor in about 15 seconds.
The bay was very crowded, with all sorts of vessels at anchor, but it was actually nice to be among people who were busy enjoying their boats.
Later, when the wind had picked up, we were romping along and overtook a 38 footer motoring downwind, probably because he uses hanked-on headsails and they weren’t hanked on. It must be quite an effort to get the bag on deck, hank on the sail, raise it and sheet it in with only a few miles to go. I sailed around an interesting little barque at anchor before beating up into my chosen anchorage, but foolishly tried to photograph it with my phone, so it didn’t come out. I gradually reefed as I came in to anchor, so that I could ‘park’ exactly where I wanted.