June 2024

Winter in New Zealand

By Lin Pardey

Gale force gusts of wind rake across the cove. I dodge a wintery rain squall as I run between the house and my office. Yesterday it was bright and sunny, crisp. David had walked into my office late in the afternoon to say, “I am tired of being inside, can’t stand another minute of dictating into my phone. Want to go out with me for a quick sail on Felicity?”

I was torn. I was within a few hundred words of completing the very last chapter of Passages: Beyond Cape Horn, the book I’d been working on for almost two years. An editor was waiting for it. I was “in the groove.” But….

“I’m going whether you come along or not,” David said. From the moment I started this latest project, he had spent time editing each chapter I’d written, encouraging me, even cajoling me when I thought of a dozen reasons to put off writing. Now he noted my hesitation and said, “I think you should stick at it. You’ll be thrilled when you get that chapter down on paper. Besides, there’s only an hour before it turns dark. Probably only be out for half an hour, so, you won’t be missing much.”

But as soon as I turned back to begin typing, I realized he was wrong. I was missing a lot; a chance to feel the wind on my face, to watch the ever-changing patterns of the water slowly slipping by the side of a lovely little boat, a rare chance to do nothing at all and not feel the least bit guilty.

Then I became engrossed in what I was writing and completely forgot about time. When I finished typing my chapter then read through it one more time before pushing the button that sent it on its way to the editor, I finally looked up. It was dark, too dark to see where David and Felicity happened to be.

I went out onto the deck of my office and could feel the stillness of evening. David’s breeze had dropped off to the lightest of zephyrs. The temperature had dropped precipitously. I quickly walked towards the house to grab a jacket, then head down to the end of the jetty where I planned to climb into my fizzboat to go out searching for Felicity. I could imagine David, who hates being cold, would welcome a tow home rather than sit out in the bay becalmed. Before I reached the house, I heard the scraping sound of our little fiberglass tender being dragged up onto the pontoon and realized David had obviously gotten back on his own just before the wind dropped off. He had secured Felicity on her mooring and rowed ashore.

I went inside the house and set to work building a fire in the wood burner. David walked in a few minutes later. “Perfect sailing. Went right around Goat and Rabbit islands. Would have gone further but knew the wind would drop. I didn’t put the boat cover on because you might want to go out on Felicity tomorrow. How did the writing go.”
As usually seems to happen when you miss a perfect chance to head out for a sail, tomorrow became today and today the winds are far beyond the “fun” sailing range. So, though I am happy to have reached a milestone with my book project, a voice inside me whispers, “lesson learned.” There is never a good reason to miss being afloat around Kawau.

Here’s a link to a video with me out sailing on Felicity


Passages: Cape Horn and Beyond, will be ready for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Pre-order page for signed copies will be up in a few weeks.