23 January 2010 | Opua, New Zealand
It sounds strange, but it's true...you know that feeling you get after coming home after a vacation? We had it in spades after settling back in on the boat, especially after she was floating again.
After 6 whirlwind weeks in California, we arrived yesterday in Opua to find a thoroughly renovated sailboat waiting for us. Doing project management from 6000 miles away has been a challenge, but Ashby's boatyard has done great work... The list of improvements completed during this "mini-overhaul" are substantial... Both sails got new clews, new UV covers and were substantially re-stitched... They are 6 years old and were showing their age and significant use over the past 18 months. After the new rudder was installed and the keel bolts tightened, we decided to do a high quality bottom job; deep sanding followed by 2 coats of epoxy and 2 coats of Micron66 bottom paint, which served us well over the past 2 years. A couple of surprise repairs: The cutlass bearing holding the propshaft was almost gone, requiring a complete rebuild. Another was the replacement of our Yanmar 4JH3TE injectors while getting a major tune-up. They were marginal when tested so we bit the bullet and replaced them now. Hmmmm, wonder if our engine salt water episode in Tonga had anything to do with it.
Follow You then went back in the water after a thorough inspection and a couple hours of cleaning the waterline, and it was quite exciting really.... She floats, steer and everything! We'll do a thorough sea-trial on Monday and then finally get out to anchor in the Bay of Islands for a couple of weeks before heading to Auckland. Rina and I spent 10 straight hours cleaning and putting stuff back together again. 6 weeks of dirt and mechanics onboard had taken its toll. The good news is that all systems came back on line without a hiccup EXCEPT the shower sump, which decided to test our troubleshooting skills AFTER I got in the shower. Turns out a small blockage formed at the 90 degree elbow right at the thru-hull... mud-wasps perhaps? The barbeque got a thorough test, with New Zealand's finest steaks, and it felt great to just hang out in the freshly cleaned cockpit.
Along the way we have had several homecomings, spending time with Kaumoana, Dosia, Lucy, Incantation, Qayaq and Hipnautical. Speaking of Hipnautical, I'm already dialed into several gigs, as well as picking up again with Trippy, who I gigged with when last here.
All in all a great first day. Tired bodies, calm minds, smiling faces.