11 May 2012
Thus begins the 10 month ICA (Island Cruising Association) Western Pacific Rally from New Zealand to Vanuatu, Solomon's, Papua New Guinea, Eastern Australia to Tasmania (devils are tiny rascals, but mean) and return. Jan & I will steer off after Hobart for New Caledonia and Queensland then Darwin to catch the Indonesia Rally next year.
Rallys have advantages. They can grease bureaucratic wheels, provide local knowledge and serve as a focal point for get-togethers with other cruisers, most of whom are wonderfully likeable. Also, due to schedules, it discourages procrastination when starting a passage such as with those weenies back in Opua who are waiting for an actual weather window. Ha! After a day and a half of getting hammered by an obstreperous sea the two of us may or may not try to scrape together enough energy to credibly scorn their pusillanimity (real word Cal). No worries though as tomorrow bodes no wind or sea at all before the following day's headwinds change the rolling to pounding. Change is good.
We're paying good money for this.
Well, that's it. Except for a few pesky daily details blog's done until July 2013.
16 April 2012
Passage across the 130 NM Bay of Plenty has been fraught with motoring, but an unforecast breeze sprang up at 0430 for 6 1/2 hours of beautiful sailing.
28 April 2012
Having the attention span of a three-year-old, forgot to return to blog for almost two weeks in a failed attempt to make boat fully operational.
Arrived morning of the 17th at Pier 21 after surprisingly long periods, given forecast, of using only the big, white sheets for propulsion (oddly, Cal, in nauticalese sheets are ropes and ropes are lines and the big, white things are called something else entirely - sailors are a perverse lot).
Wind generator ordered from US remained backordered from Trinidad, one watermaker pump died without a whimper and refrigerator decided that cold beer was over- rated.
Found a non-working KISS (that first thing listed) by virtue of the chance encounter of a friend with its owner in Napier who actually lives within 2 hours of Auckland. Met him halfway to pick the thing up. It continued to not work on sail up to Opua.
Had a spare pump plus Spectra will make water with only one of two pumps, so blew off that little problem until later.
Frig may have small leak, but was made operational by adding freon plus dye for subsequent leak check after arrival in Opua.
After various machinations and an unconscionable amount of brightwork varnishing, cast off for an overnight to Opua on 26th, arriving 27th.
9 May 2012
All go for departure wee hours tomorrow in a manner of speaking. Anything weer than 6 is likely to be too wee.
Frankenstein wind generator and new 145 watt solar panel are maintaining amp leakage out the the wazoo. Honda generator (box-o-Honda) is back together and may possibly run one day. Water maker pumping on all cylinders. Spare freon is aboard for leaky frig. Life is good.
Now preparing to say goodbye forever, or possibly not, to many friends and acquaintances at the Opua Cruising Club. Will miss New Zealand, but new adventure awaits and plan to return one day.
15 April 2012
Necessitousness (possibly a real word, but in this case entirely gratuitous) for haste has diminished as, while festivities start on 29 April, fleet not scheduled for departure until 5 May with intervening time devoted to heavy drinking. There may also be ancillary activities such as briefings, provisioning and boat prep. Suspicion grows that organizers will expect some level of compliance with rules. Where likelihood of discovery and subsequent reproval is high one does what one must.
Three hundred nautical miles has provided significant thermal relief as extrication from duvet cocooned bunk for morning watch from 0400 to 0800 is now minimally traumatic. Crew concensus indicates that continuing north to more tropical climes would not be infelicitous (again gratuitous, but a pretty cool word).
After one more comprehensive attempt in Wellington, water system was carefully reassembled to await professional help in Auckland. Supervening operation of engine while progressing north yielded hot water. Thinking, of course, that this was a cruel hoax, foisted upon gullible life forms by a perverse inanimate object, as they do, a second test was conducted following an extended period of sailing. Hot water was again obtained and yet again with subsequent similar activity. Not wishing to underestimate deviousness of mechanical devices, have nevertheless once more become enamored of resulting hot showers.
13 April 2012
Departing at oh dark thirty when it's warm is one thing. This was the other thing. Conditions were, however, benign and after a rising sun irradiated greenhouse cockpit, ship's company were more than toasty. Progress has relied on following currents (proximate cause of uncivilized AM departure) and noisy, smelly thing below deck. Clatter was alleviated by a few hours of great sailing until wind fairy again took holiday. Anticipate developing southeasterly overnight to regain blessed quietude for a day or so. As Bay of Plenty is forecast calm during transit and motoring is impossible for full distance, will evaluate fuel situation abeam Gisborne day after tomorrow. Earliest arrival Auckland, Tuesday.
Some will notice this voyage was initiated on a Friday, also the 13th. For sailors of less stout stuff this type activity is ill-advised, imprudent and, I might say, temerarious (if I knew what it meant) or possibly foolhardy. Ha, ha! I wave my day-old skivvies in the face of fate. We endeavor to persevere... whatever.
13 April 2012
Careful examination of face in mirror reveals concern written all over it for getting up to Opua for start of Western Pacific Rally leaving the 29th. Champing at bit to be away, but weathermen, who have promised that cold, wet, northwest gale blowing through Wellington this morning will relax to clear, southerly, zephyr by afternoon, have been known to prevaricate.
Strangely enough weather weasels were correct as to wind and sky however decision to leave has been thwarted by 3 meter, short period swell prevailing until evening. Now plan to go at 0230, two hours before low tide. This timing is reputed to aid in getting out of harbour (Kiwis insert the extraneous 'u', don't know why) and besides we love floundering around in the dark - when it's cold - and we haven't had any sleep.
Non-stop to Auckland, where we expect to spend a week, is about four and a half days.
4 April 2012
Another beautiful day in paradise. The 50 knot zephyrs that occasionally gust up to heel boat 20 degrees on mooring are a refreshing change from all that serene, warm sun. Considered leaving today through Cook Strait toward New Plymouth on southwest North Island, but Jan was reluctant to enjoy what promised to be a bracing sail. She begins to lose proper enthusiasm as seas approach 5 meters. It's hard to find good crew but, ummmm, mustache needed trimming so we couldn't leave anyway.
Also, not that this would have held us, sorting hot water has been frustrating. All are reluctant to believe, given proper engine cooling, that water pump is dead. Diverter seems in good nick and coolant is topped. Next plan is to block water from going anywhere but to HWH (presumably short for hot water heater even though only cold water would seem to require this service). This, besides potentially warping a subsequently overheated head, may prove instructive.
6 April 2012
After allowing overheated engine to cool, removed block then section by section poured water through every nook and cranny of cooling system. Discovered that nothing is wrong with flow and only possibility is circulation pump which is demonstrably fine. Wow, that's a load off. Will henceforth take care to avoid scalding with 15C (59F) water.
10 April 2012
Beautiful sail across Cook Strait on Saturday the 7th until Karori Rip reached out a mile from its charted position to slap us awake just before we were run down by a humongous Cook Strait car/passenger/cargo ferry moving along at 18 knots. Those babies put out quite a wake.
11 April 2012
Truly enjoyed Wellington including the capitol center, focus here as in all countries of waste, corruption and pettifoggery. With a compact downtown, everything a cruiser could want (Irish pubs, restaurants, English pubs, laundries, sports bars, cafes, wine bars, markets, taverns, etc.) is within walking distance. It's a pretty city replete with parks, museums, great buildings and a boardwalk that runs along the waterfront throughout most of downtown. Now if only they could do something about the 50 knot gales that blow through every few days.
Expect to leave tomorrow afternoon for Auckland as blustery wind moderates to too much from way to much.