Hello Sports Fans-
The big news from GS2 is that we are out of the Great Australian Bight and through the Bass Strait, which is a major milestone for this leg of the race. We are also now officially out of the Indian Ocean and into the Pacific Ocean, which is also pretty cool.
The Bass Strait was challenging in that there were many squalls that would disrupt the prevailing SW wind and cause us to reduce sail and/or simply get pummeled for 20 minutes by high winds and rain. It tends to make you a little paranoid- always looking over your shoulder for the next big black cloud- so we became a bit more "defense" oriented then "offense", where we are always looking to put more sail up and go faster. We were also very close to land for the first time in a month so had to be careful not to bump into anything!
Anyway, the exit from the BS was really cool- somewhat Jurassic Park'esq, as we sailed under sunny skies past these vertical rock unpopulated volcanic islands and mainland which was very green but also very remote. We are now out the other side into the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New Zealand, and have set a course for Cape Reinga at the northern tip of NZ, a mere 1,200 miles away.
The weather for the coming week looks highly variable, with no trade wind pattern, just a series of high and low pressure systems passing through North/South that makes routing a real challenge. As we are on Day 30 of this leg, we are very ready to get to Auckland, so hoping we can thread the needle through this weather maze. It is challenging to find the best route in a constantly changing weather environment.
We are seeing signs of long-term fatigue on the equipment all around the boat, as blocks are starting to fail due to broken ball bearings, spectra lashings are fraying, the winches are whining and groaning and the maintenance list grows. We use our repaired A2 spinnaker gingerly- up to 20 knots wind speed- and are heavily relying on the Code Zero as our "jackknife" multi-purpose sail for reaching and running. We will receive a new A2 spinnaker and A3 reaching spinnaker in Auckland that were ordered months ago so looking forward to a reinforced and deeper sail wardrobe for Leg 4 to Tahiti.
After a month at sea the cookie and chocolate supply is also dangerously low, but thankfully the freeze-dried food supply remains abundant, as does the salami and cheese supply, due to my paisan partner Ruggerio. Our socks smell bad, as do our sleeping bags, so ready for some laundry in Auckland, as well as some famous NZ lamb chops and vino!
We hope everyone is enjoying fall back home and that our next message will be from very close to the finish line in Auckland in about 7 days.
Joe and Roger on GS2, October 10, 2022, Tasman Sea