Noobs on the Water
28 January 2010 | Russel, New Zealand
It was quite an experience getting back out on the water, with just a little trepidation after almost 3 months tied to a dock or on the hard. Those hard-won cruising skills came back quickly though, and we are once again bouncing around the boat, gaining stronger sea-legs by the day. Talk about feeling like noobies!
We have been sorting out the boat, which was in quite a chaotic state after all the work that was done, and we are close to having her back in order. We also discovered that our genset and solar charging system were not working, reducing our electrical system to a single alternator for charging the 675 amphours of capacity. We therefore got just a little cranky when we had to return to the dock to research what was going on. 2 days later, both problems were traced to workmanship... The genset fuel pickup was not tightened after a tank cleaning back in November, allowing air to enter the fuel line, resulting in variable genset RPM before it shut down. A half a turn on the fuel fitting fixed that. The solar panels was more interesting, with visions of a controller that had lost its mind and no longer sent current to the batteries. If there is one skill that I have not gotten comfortable with, it's electrical systems. I can do the basics, but after watching Carl the electrician come in and diagnose the problem in 5 minutes, it confirms it have a long way to go. Turns out that when the batteries were pulled out and reinstalled to torque the keel bolts, one of the hot leads was not connected, allowing the voltage on the charge input battery to rise, which told the controller to stop sending a charge to the batteries. The electrician diagnosed this by identifying a voltage drop between the batteries, then tracing the cables, finding one that had hidden itself in one of the chases. Hooked her back up and everything's working fine... back to 3 charging systems!
The new rudder works great, with virtually no change in behavior from the old while sailing and motoring around the Bay of Islands. We will get a better feel as we head to Auckland on Saturday, where we will Rendezvous with Carinthia and Wayward Wind at the Viaduct Marina. We will then load Follow You onto a Dockwise freighter for a trip to Ensenada Mexico, where Rina and I will resume cruising for 6 more months. While Follow You is in transit, we will tour the South Island of New Zealand, "Lord of the Rings Country" as Dietmar on Carinthia likes to say.
Meanwhile we have reconnected with our cruising musician buddies Roger and Bobbie Joe from Hipnautical, playing at the Opua Cruising Club for a large audience last night. Tonight is our final gig with Trippy at the Opua Café. I'll really miss playing with everyone here, especially Roger and Bobbie Joe, having played gigs with them in Mexico, French Polynesia, Tonga and now New Zealand. It highlights a cruising truism, meeting great people, building great friendships, but then having to ultimately say goodbye as our cruising plans diverge over time. Bittersweet indeed...even if balanced by our excitement of heading back to Mexico where we will meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.
The picture above is Follow You Follow Me, dead center, in the Bay in front of historic Russel, the first capital of New Zealand.