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Anthem Adrift
04/18/2015, Whangarei Town Basin

Sunday 19 April 2015

This seems rather peculiar, but the head vanities are operational. Can't explain it. Temporarily accessible toilet plumbing was opened up and de-scaled Friday (imagine the fun). Countertops were install Saturday and using that ingenuity thingy referred to in last epistle (don't hear that word much anymore, huh?), a few items were purchased and the whole shebang was stuck together this morning. Like the fellow said passing the 25th floor after jumping off the Empire State Building, "so far, so good".

Rebedding of portlights continues grudgingly. One beside forward bunk (guest suite) was previously done with some silicone substance that is nearly impossible to remove from some spots and provided no seal at all in others. Best part was putting it back together with appropriate goo to discover all screws across the top were stripped and epoxy injected into holes for re- drilling oozed out into the bedding. Subsequent mess was taped over to keep rain out and henceforth ignored to engage in happy hour G&T.

Under-withheld US federal tax was extracted from bank account on 15 April (lovingly referred to as "tax day"). Not withholding any more than absolutely necessary results in a rather ugly experience at this time each year, but at least the money is available to me until consequential retribution is in the offing and not to some bone-headed bureaucrat who will use the money to make everyone's life miserable while convincing them that he's there to help. Don't people pay attention?

"I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator and name it after the IRS." - Robert Bakker


Non-conscientious Objectives
04/16/2015, Whangarei Town Basin

Monday 13 April 2015

Well, the 13th came on Monday this month. Not being Friday (there will, however be 3 of them this year) it turned into a pretty good day. Notwithstanding the rain, got a ride to several purveyors of marine type crap where much cool stuff was purchased with, however, continued assault on teetering solvency. Hope this bout of boatwork will keep us going at least until Langkawi, Malaysia, where such activity is cheaper.


Got distracted again, this time for 3 days. Had once achieved the attention span of a hormone crazed teenager, but have now regressed to 3 years old. Hey, that's better than 2 - it's hard to even carry on a decent conversation with someone that age.. religion, politics, even sports.. hopeless.

Having been discouraged from renovating the 2 head vanities in Auckland (after purchasing new basins and faucets in America), finally found a willing fellow in Whangarei who has now helped destroy the old molded-in sinks preparatory to installing new countertops. Patterns have been made, material has been selected and optimism is running amok, somewhat muted by discovery that fixture drainpipes will not work with single layer stainless sinks and no NZ standards fit. Got to scrape up some of that American ingenuity thing people talk about.

Constant oscillation (is that an oxymoron?) of rain and sun for the last few days has prevented further rebedding of deck hardware, although all hatches save one have been done, but not completed as cleanup of excess sealant (enjoyment of which is even lower than the resealing itself) has been put off due to second favorite deadly sin - you know the one.

Boat is scheduled for haulout this Monday for anti-fouling and a few other bits and bobs with hopes (ours, not the boat's, whose opinion is unreliable and has not been solicited) that departure toward the Bay of Islands, Whangaroa and the Cavallis may imminently ensue.


Can't seem to stay focused on getting one of these things out in a timely manner without remunerative inducement or credible, physical threat. Today promises to be clear and rainless, but procrastination coupled with need to clean scale buildup from head hoses and free Y-valves while vanities are open (yes, this is preferable to rebedding deck hardware) takes precedence.

Time is wasting, so off we go to do work?? No, have breakie - can't do stinky labor on an empty tummy.


Here and Gone and Back and Away
04/08/2015, Abeam Kawau Is. En Route Whangarei

Saturday 14 March 2015

Previous warning unnecessary as over 3 months have elapsed in peace and tranquility, but this felicitousness was bound to end sometime and why not now? ...OK, you didn't have to groan that loudly - understandable, but quite rude actually.

Ski holiday in Whistler/Blackcomb was excellent as snowmaking and overnight preparation mostly made up for severe lack of precipitation, temperatures remained hardly below freezing, the sun sparkled from a deep azure sky and no orthopedic interventions were invoked. By the 5th day we had regained our ski legs and were reluctant to have it end. Ibuprofen is our friend.

Additionally, visited good mates in Tacoma and Oahu, which kept us away for a total of 4 weeks. Now, however, we're back, plumbing the depths of sloth, yet attempting to do actual boat work in preparation for casting off into the wild blue yonder (the other one) in mid-May.

This effort has proceeded haltingly amongst periods of screwing off and having fun (often concurrent). The interval hasn't been totally squandered, however, as brightwork was varnished with some really cool stuff that is guaranteed to last 5 years without attention... a claim that is no doubt preposterous although reports indicate a good year at least.

In the "oh crap, I didn't want to do that" basket, due to irremediable, structural rust (304 stainless?) we replaced the single 134 gallon water tank, situated beneath aft island bunk, with 2 smaller tanks (316 stainless) totalling a tad more. Since the old one was installed during original construction when it was unnecessary to fit it through a hatch or companionway, more extensive effort was required moving it out. Being disinclined to detach the deck for this purpose we determined it might be appropriate to cut the thing into bite-sized chunks. Wading through a goodly amount of sludge from fine stainless sawdust mixed with residual water was an added inducement. Anyway, all now OK as leakage is minor and plumbing will only need a small alteration or two for proper operation.. probably.

Thursday 26 March

Have been working like a beaver (the chilled out, torpid kind) on the boat for the last 2 weeks. Pedestal has been re-engineered so that one needn't resort to a periscope for seeing over or around a massive instrument pod, some deck hardware has been rebedded and multiple projects (remounting nav station instruments, powering starboard secondary winch, replacing puny alternator with high power unit and smart regulator, etc.) are in train for completion any time now.. probably. Renovation of head vanities is showing signs of stasis as boat builder has not displayed a significant amount of enthusiasm for the project by, oh say, doing something.

Couple of miscellaneous tidbits: in Whistler one may purchase a "warm hot chocolate"; in America one asks "how are you doing?" or "how is it going?" whereas Kiwis ask "how are you going?" (a bit more efficient perhaps) and finally, watched an in-port race of the Volvo Round the World 65s then their departure on leg 5 headed around the Horn for Itajai, Brazil. They're the dog's bollix.

Thursday 9 April

Well, managed to avoid completing a single issue of this fine literature during the 4 months and a day in Auckland. Time there was, as always, ill-spent and terrifically enjoyable. Did, however, manage to get a couple of things done and in another few months at current pace should have the boat ready for passage. We leave for New Caledonia in 5 weeks.

Currently motor-sailing to Whangarei for further modest efforts and ill-spending - time and money. Wind marginally cooperative.


12/07/2014, Kawau

Friday 5 December 2014

Another surprisingly marvelous sail to Tutukaka (pronounced 'too too KAH kah' which in Maori means... never mind) with easing wind requiring motor-sail last few miles. Mast, sails, rig and all diddled-with parts, new and old, operated properly during 2-day trial. All lights, radios and instruments are, to the amazement of... well two anyway, also nominal.


Two more nights and a day of full contact partying in Whangarei and 2 great bracketing days of sailing have brought us to Mansion House Bay on Kawau Island with about 28 NM left to Pier 21 in Auckland. We'll be in tomorrow. It's quiet, it's peaceful, it's beautiful, it's a relief. Love kicking around with good mates, but man, we needed a break. Chook on the barbie, maybe a little telly with a documentary on the South Pacific then early to bed.

Speaking of friends, after nearly five years we caught up with sailing buddies from St. Pete. Hadn't seen Michael & Barb since Panama in 2010 when they line handled for the Cabo Rico 38 Canal transit. They crossed the Pacific on their Moody 42 "Astarte" (the Babylonian goddess of passionate love) in 2012, but we missed them in New Zealand because we were in Oz prior to selling that boat and buying this one. While we were returning to SoPac via Caribbean and Mexico, they were dodging cyclones in the Marshalls. We'll go to Indonesia next year, but they may not until '16. Not to worry, we'll bump into them sometime, somewhere down the line. It always seems to happen eventually. Notwithstanding that we live on a big planet and our vessels are slow, cruising is a small community and if someone doesn't swallow the hook and retire inland, you're likely to run into them again - whether they like it or not.

Last time this ongoing codswallop took a break after first arrival New Zealand. This time has lasted a bit longer. It may now adjourn after Auckland, but, given a perverse nature, may sneak into the ether occasionally to abuse your more tolerant natures. You have been warned.


12/03/2014, Whangamumu

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Misspoke concerning Kemp. This original name was changed to Selden in 1997. Same company that has since discovered that old masthead sucked and now made it easier. Should get sheaves replaced Saturday or not until Auckland. Meantime other projects are limping along.


Wrong. Stays disconnected and masthead missing, so can't even motor south. Steel sheave pins frozen to aluminum cap required removing latter to hydraulic press after additionally disconnecting furler and pulling or cutting wires to wind instrument, tri-color/anchor/strobe light and VHF. Then, of course, available, but non-fitting, sheaves must be machined to fit which can't be done until Monday (maybe) and rigger can't get back until Tuesday (probably). Totally slammed marina took our delayed departure until Wednesday with aplomb and tickets to Whangarei welcome party Friday may still be used after 2 day sail if we actually leave ref. new schedule. Was it mentioned a slip at Pier 21 in Auckland is being paid for starting the following Monday?

Meantime we were thrown out of the Cruising Club Thanksgiving dinner Thursday when Jeff from Grasshopper, last seen 6 months ago in Mexico, brought us a present of fine tequila and decided to open it after the meal. Major no-no that can get the joint closed down and purveyors fired as contrary to their license. Being merely accomplices we could have stayed, but supported our impetuous comrade by returning to boat and rather disgracefully continuing to overindulge. Apology subsequently accepted by bartender Marie.


After 12 or 14 hours for the 2 hour job (good news on cost is in the mail), mast is again stabilized with all appropriate parts including new sheaves, destroyed interior has returned to merely disheveled and de-mildewed sails may actually be hanked to furlers with new telltales at some point prior to required noon departure from dock. Love it when a plan comes together.


Considering all, departure from the marina just before 1300 yesterday was a miracle. Despite forecast, a beautiful sail was had all the way to Whangamumu (pronounced 'fang a MOO moo' which in Maori means 'carnivorous cow'...). After busting rear for a week getting rig, sails and diverse other boat bits prepared and then being exposed to a peaceful, clear (albeit frigid - 16C) night in a quiet anchorage, slept for 12 hours - gotta rest up for that big party in Whangarei on Friday. When will the fun ever stop?


Arduous Amusement
11/23/2014, Opua, New Zealand

Thursday 20 November 2014

As seems to happen following arrival at every cruiser node, ennui and sobriety are cast aside (assuming either of these conditions exist) and merriment ensues. Despite absence of many who, due unfortunate weather between the tropics and New Zealand, are yet en route, All Points Rally festivities proceed apace, counterpointing for nearly everyone numerous maintenance issues that have accumulated during the Pacific crossing or were introduced for some by a more interesting passage than they might have found absolutely necessary. Thus has this blog, to the delight, no doubt, of billions, been in abeyance since moments prior to arrival.

Opua is a marvelous place for boat work as well as boisterous bacchanaling so, to the degree obligatory gaiety allows, a few bits that desperately need attention are getting it. For starters, an isolation transformer was installed to allow plugging a 120v boat into 240v shore power; most of the globe outside of North America uses the higher voltage. A new Lavac head pump and hose was installed to segregate fecal matter from less bacterially laden areas. Recalcitrant navigation and deck lights have been re-invigorated with LEDs. New masthead sheaves and halyards will soon be mounted encouraging genoa to remain a sail rather than a sea anchor and various other rigging paraphernalia will be added or upgraded. Other items that may possibly receive attention in the next week are: rebedding of additional shroud chainplate covers which transported water onto port settee during previous passage; replacement of masthead mounted Windex wind direction indicator which was rendered ineffective by rude, not to mention heavy, frigate birds; thorough cleaning of deck; and removal of old brightwork (teak) coatings preparatory to new varnish.


In the interim inexcusably high spirits have prevailed and little else has been accomplished including masthead sheaves which present an unexpected, difficult problem due having to disconnect stays to lift mast cap with furling extrusion which contains and yet hides sheave pins. Cap also holds sheaves that rigger uses to keep his relatively soft, squishy body suspended up to 18 meters (59 ft) above various protruding deck hardware. Apparently the designer of this Kemp mast system (similar to and owned by Selden) didn't have to do it himself.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on one's tolerance for fun and liver damage) rally festivities have come to an end and work may proceed except, of course, for all the great friends, old and new, here or soon to arrive, with whom one is forced, forced I say, to celebrate. We soldier on in the face of such adversity.

"When I works, I works hard. When I plays, I plays rough. And when I thinks, I falls asleep." - Anonymous


11/09/2014, Day 5 to Opua

Monday 10 November 2014

Today's the day. Having left the gale behind and now motorsailing in calm sea, we expect arrival Opua, Bay of Islands, late this afternoon. Jan & I got together there 4 years ago and it's a welcome return for us. Beautiful country with great people, New Zealand is our adopted home. Now if only we could convince Kiwi officialdom of that and what excellent additions we would make to their population we could possibly return a few years hence, after the current circumnavigation, as residents. As stands, although Jan may be able to maintain permanent residency in Australia and consequently, via the Trans-Tasman agreement, New Zealand, I don't qualify due being over 55 and not having $10 million dollars to invest - too old and too poor. All to be revealed in the fullness of time.

Besides the citizenry and our mates here, we love sheep. No Cal, shame on you, not like that. We're particularly fond of their wool on those frosty nights and lamb cooked just right nearly anytime. NZ wine is excellent with sauvignon blanc a specialty and a malbec from Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf the best we've ever tasted. Auckland, The City of Sails, is a terrific place and Pier 21, the small, friendly marina where we often stay, is within easy walking distance of the center, which includes live theater and a symphony. Although they've risen in recent years, prices, as opposed to Australia, are reasonable. Boat parts are readily available tax free for foreign yachts and otherwise may be imported duty free. Boat work is generally excellent and also untaxed. New Zealand is a wonderful place to avoid the South Pacific cyclone season and is within a week and a half sail of Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu or New Caledonia. Kiwis know how to make coffee. Jan & I look forward with happy anticipation to the next 6 months.


Running Hot and Cold
11/08/2014, Day 5 to Opua

Sunday 9 November 2014

By yesterday afternoon wind had decreased to 12 knots. Sufficient with the genny on a close reach to keep speed near 7, but the staysail just doesn't have the drive so, given that for us, the child-like wonder and enthusiasm for sailing has gone out of this passage, we're motor-sailing in the almost certainly vain attempt at arrival during business hours Monday; also, of course, as is everybody's secret desire, to squander non-renewable resources and kill the ozone layer. A shame as this would otherwise have been by far our best trip between New Zealand and the tropics.

Speaking of gentle breezes, warm days and soft nights, they're just a fond memory. Despite coming out of overcast and drizzle into bright sunshine it's cold here at 32 south. Hell's bells, temperature went down to 19 Celsius (66F) last night and promises to do worse tonight! How do people tolerate this sort of thing? Have been informed that at some locations on earth it can actually go below 0C. Ice is formed at that temperature, you know! Humans are mostly water, so how do they survive? It's not natural.

Despite losing 2 halyards and use of the genoa, we've been very lucky in finding the seam in a very difficult and unsettled series of weather patterns (of course, Jan & I know it's really a matter of transcendent perspicacity, right?). Many who left earlier had little or no wind alternating with too much and those behind are jammed up in the islands by a gale. There are upwards of 30 boats just in Tongatapu with more in Fiji, Vanuatu and New Cal, some having waited multiple weeks until at least Wednesday to depart. We wish them all a good and safe passage.


No Go Mojo, Part II
11/07/2014, Day 4 to Opua

Saturday 8 November 2014

Was awakened at 0300 an hour before my morning watch by Jan indicating, rather insistently, that there was something interesting to see on deck. She suggested that we might want to do something with the genoa (this is the very same large overlapping sail at the pointy end referred to yesterday, Cal) that was at that moment dragging through the Pacific Ocean after the spinnaker halyard parted at its sheave. Feeling a little deja vu are we? This time, as there is not another halyard forward, used a spare main to get it on deck where it was poorly lashed. "Poorly", you might query? At 0815 a wave washed over the bow and dragged a bight of it back into the Ocean which subsequently filled with more water and was the devil's own effort getting back aboard to be secured a tad better. Are you asking yourself if this is another example of the glamour of cruising? Yes, yes it is.

Became aware of today's second dunking, third overall, during a conversation on the SSB which led me to the clever statement "We've got a little emergency. I'll call you back". Well, the "little" was lost in translation. Since it took some time to secure this whole caboodle and we didn't get back right away it was assumed that a real emergency had occurred. My bad. Got it sorted presently with abashed apologies. Life in New Zealand returned to normal as construction of 2 Coast Guard cutters was abandoned, 5 million Kiwis turned off CNN, and 19 million sheep were allowed to continue grazing.

With only staysail and main, progress has been slowed somewhat to 5+ knots as opposed to 8. An inconvenience perhaps, but latest weather reports show no worse than fresh beam breeze all the way to Opua and because good speed had been maintained until now we expect landfall, barring another fascinating, glamour enhancing, advancement inhibiting escapade, Monday evening.


No Go Mojo
11/07/2014, Day 3 to Opua

Friday 7 November 2014

More perceptive folks, perhaps one of you 3 who actually reads this codswallop, may have noticed the post for Wednesday was sent same time as yesterday's. Propagation in the high frequency bands was abysmal so couldn't get through, but then it improved to appalling. Hoping for merely dreadful today.

Was awakened at 0345 just before my morning watch by Jan indicating, rather insistently, that there was something interesting to see on deck. She suggested that we might want to do something with the genoa (this is the very large overlapping sail at the pointy end, Cal) that was at that moment dragging through the Pacific Ocean after its halyard parted at the sheave. As it was no longer encouraging, but rather inhibiting progress away from a gale that might soon overtake us I agreed that getting the thing out might be appropriate. Next 45 minutes was spent with crew (me scrambling about in skivvies) using spinnaker halyard to pull it up and onto the deck, then re-reeving bolt rope into furler extrusion and rolling up the sail until daylight. After giving new arrangement an eyeball, it has again become a productive element of our journey.

And speaking of storms, the promise of a sub-tropical low has materialized big time. Latest GRIB (Good Reason to Imbibe Booze) indicates we will get a bit of a spanking over 36 hours beginning in the morning and 2 boats behind us will get more for longer. As happens, the boat in worst position is the only one paying cash money to a weather router. Think I'd rather just be beaten up and use the money after it's over to get anesthetizingly inebriated. Today has seen more wind and lumpier seas than forecast, so if there's any karmic justice, the next day and a half will be easier than expected. Meantime we're plowing along, making good time, with hopes of arriving Opua Monday afternoon in prospect of getting only slightly sloshed.


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