While the Arizona Wildcats were thrashing Duke in basketball, we were out in the remnants of another New Zealand gale with Iron Lady. For company there were eighteen visitors from around the world (three parties of six). It had been blowing from the east for two days, so as you might imagine, the combination of shoaling bottom, reflected waves, and river mouth currents made for an interesting mix.
Our guests aboard were attending the open house, and when we read the weather forecast we thought more than a few might opt for a day of touring rather than a ride in conditions no normal yacht would seek out. However, all were eager and we had a full boat – eleven per trip including owners and crew – to enjoy the “fun”.
During each of the three trips we saw some amazingly step seas, the biggest of which were ten feet/three meters and nearly breaking. iron Lady handled the upwind legs comfortably, with soft landings on the biggest and steepest seas (not a single jarring thud). Running with the waves the autopilot was at minimum gain and there was not the slightest tendency to lock in and bow steer.
Our guests counted several modern production trawler owners who had flown in from Central America and the US. Their comments were of particular interest as they have a different frame of reference.
Iron Lady is carrying full water, half fuel, and most of her cruising stores, and is on her full load marks. She is running at 9.5 to ten knots uphill and a half a knot more with the wind behind. We will show you two long sequences, seven minutes total, so you can see the conditions without interruption. Towards the end there are a couple of minutes with the seas abeam.
There was a lot of video taken, of which this is a small sample. When we get back to Arizona we will post more. Click here to play with us in the near breaking seas (video #3). Another 8 minutes with some interesting chatter is here (video #4).