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SV Secret Agent Man
Eric Rone

After... Savusavu, Fiji, also known as hidden paradise. Time to shed those layers!


Before... a much colder happy pair sail out of New Zealand... headed north for the winter

Minerva Reef
Eric / Eric's Dad
06/05/2012, South Pacifc

Eric & Amy have arrived at Minerva Reef on the morning of their seventh day out from New Zealand. It was fast sailing and the warming temperatures announce their approach into the tropics. Here are two e-mails from therm this past few days.

June 4
Hey guys,
As I write this we are ripping along on a beam reach with a single reef in the main and full genoa. The breeze is out of the east at about 15 knots and there are lots of squalls. It makes a big difference if they go behind or ahead of us. We are motor with no wind if they pass ahead, and we get a lifting 20-25 knot puff if we make it in front of them. It is fun. We have had two fish on but they got away. Amy has her sea legs but it took a while. She says Hi Laura. We should get into Minerva reef tomorrow. A trough from Vanuatu to the SE is making NE 15-20kts here starting tomorrow and Wed so we are going to sit that out. And yes dad we have been smashing! Our slowest 24 hour out of the four has been 136Miles and we did 149 on the first one. The clean bottom is fast! It is getting warmer every day we are in shorts and T-shirts.
Eric and Amy

June 6
Hey guys,
We are safely on the hook at Minerva reef. We cleaned the boat up yesterday, took baths, went on a shore patrol, and made sushi with our Mahi Mahi. The air is feeling tropical finally. The water is OK, but we will need to wear our wet
suits for spear-fishing. Yesterday we walked on the reef. The windward edge is cool, but the lagoon side is magic. There is a constant flow of water into the lagoon from the ocean coming over the reef, and at low tide there is a seemingly endless waterfall of ocean water pouring into the lagoon. Great snorkeling and lots of marine life on that side. We saw lots of fish. Tree decent sized white
tips, and I saw a big sting ray under the boat when I was diving the anchor. We are going to be here for a few days waiting on a nice weather window to make it up to Fiji.

PS (DAD) This is a perfect spot to practice celestial navigation. The reef is awash at high tide so it is like sitting at anchor in the middle of the ocean with a 360 degree horizon. Amy is keen to learn.


Note from Eric
Eric's Dad / Eric
06/02/2012, South Pacific

Here's a note from Eric via his Ham radio e-mail received Friday. Per last nights position report through the Pac Sea Roll Call, they are bombing along in 20 knots taking big daily leaps toward the lower latitudes and the warmth of the tropics. Here's his note ...

Hello all,
We are sailing east of north towards Fiji still with a possible stop at Minerva
reef. We had two really good 24 hour runs so far: 136 miles yesterday, and 149
the day before which is really good for Secret Agent Man. Amy is slowly getting
her sea legs. We played dice in the cockpit last night ripping along in 25 kts
of wind. The breeze started off out of the South and has swung East. It has been
fresh the whole time but nothing over 30 kts, and we have had some light spots
after squalls. We had one fish on but it got away. We have 790 miles to go to
Fiji and about half that to Minerva. This morning we took off out jackets and
socks. (Amy put hers back on) We just got into the 20s having crossed 30 Degrees
South. We cant wait for the teens.

For those who want to follow Eric daily there's a couple of ways. Every evening he posts his once per day position and conditions report with the Pac Sea Net "Roll Call" Here they are listed by their call sign KF7 DCY along with a dozen or more other sailors on various legs of their own voyages. The Roll call website is....

On that site the data is labelled in a cryptic way, here's last night's report...

16|KF7DCY |0300|29 20 S 179 11 E|030|6.4| SE| 20| SE|2.0| 40|1029|0 |

This means they were the 16th boat on the list. Followed by the time reporting in Universal Standard Time (Previously known as Greenwich Mean Time). Their latitude and longitude, their compass course (030 degree's magnetic), the boats current speed, the winds direction and strength in knots, the swell direction and height in meters, the percentage of cloud cover and finally the barometer and trend.

If you want to see them on a zoomable map of the South Pacific then here's the site

You'll notice both the current leg (blue markers) as well as markers from the past legs on this trip.

06/02/2012 | Laura Cella/Amy's Mom
Thank you for forwarding Eric's post. I really appreciate any and all info on their voyage. (Also was amazed at how you could decipher last night's report. Now I KNOW that Eric comes from a line a well seasoned sailors!!) I'm glad to hear that Amy seems to be doing fine. What an adventure!!
Back at Sea
Eric's Dad
05/31/2012, South Pacific

Secret Agent Man is a happy boat having left the Bay of Islands bound for Savusavu Bay in Fiji on May 29th. Eric e-mails that after 149 miles in 24 hours it is "Sweet sailing". Fiji is about 1200 miles away and this passage may (or may not) involve a stop at Minerva Reef depending on the weather. Being away from the Internet he has deputized me again to write a few reports.

6 months in New Zealand was a long stopover filled with a wealth of exploration, repair and refit, and visiting and being visited by family. Since last November's landfall at Cape Brett and the subsequent sail down to Auckland an enormous amount of work has gone into the boat. Eric comments that S.A.M. is more sorted out at this point than ever before. The loyal readers have met Midshipman Amy in the recent posts and Eric has convinced her to join him for the return to the tropics. Her intellect, organization and skill sets are sizeable and a compliment to the ships manifest. The Man Cave may never be the same!

Getting cold in NZ with the last week of southerly winds driving down the morning lows into the 40-degree range. Eric commented that they are wearing virtually every piece of clothing they have under their foul weather gear and watching the latitude numbers slowly fall (that's good) on the GPS as they sail north to the warmer waters and longer days. The Kiwi's were wonderfully hospitable and accommodating. Thank you to all who helped these young sailors far from home.

On the hard
05/23/2012, Opua, NZ

After an epic time on Great Barrier Island, we took off for Opua for Secret Agent Man's much awaited makeover. We hauled out at Doug's Boatyard, which was a great place to call home for the week we were there, and the free hot water showers and portable electric heater will be some of the greatly missed perks. Honestly, it's almost winter here! One minor element against us was living in complete shade with only a shred of indirect sunlight feeding our solar array. With the batteries slowly losing charge, Eric called a local sparky to lend a hand (read: sweet as 25 amp battery charger). In a flash, he also fixed our monitor which had been giving us false readings on our battery bank since Auckland. So if anybody reading this makes it to Opua and needs an electrician, Marcel is your man. Thanks Marcel!

Meanwhile, the days at the boatyard were cold and rainy, and Eric and I progressed slowly on all things from the waterline-down. We sanded and painted the bottom, raised the waterline, cleaned the prop, strut and cutlass bearing which got a coat of Propspeed, and waxed the hull. And even after a crippling fall and some antifoul in the eye, nothing that week made us smile wider than peeling the protective tape off of a freshly painted bottom and seeing our reflection in a sleek and shiny hull. Secret Agent Man is now faster and sexier than ever.

05/24/2012 | Brian Trautman
Yo Eric! Glad to see you enjoyed N-Zed. We had a blast there too. Are you heading to Australia this season? We're in Melbourne.


Eric and Doug fastening on new tracks after spinning Secret Agent Man around on the turntable.

05/29/2012 | Helling
Dude, that is a super sweet rig! Boat is lookin good!

Eric supporting Secret Agent Man as she slips back into the water


Secret Agent Man now looking flash

05/25/2012 | Eric's Dad
Clearly a well loved boat. Nice look!
05/29/2012 | Amy's Mom....Laura
Wow.....she's gorgeous!!! You sure have put a lot of good work into her....and it shows. I'm sending my love and best wishes to you both for a very safe journey....and a wonderful adventure!!
05/29/2012 | Elyse
Clean as a whistle! Safe voyage you two!!!

We had some fun neighbors for our last few days at the boatyard. Griffin(4) and Tansyn(9). We'd play games like "Wash the Deck" and "Scrub the Floor" ; )


A thorough sanding and polishing to reveal a shiny Propspeed-ed assembly.

Great Barrier and a note from the rookie
05/16/2012, Great Barrier, NZ

This entry brought to you by Amy, Secret Agent Man's newest, and very green, addition. Before last week, the only passages I had on record were in unseasonably placid waters off of Australia and Panama. At 3am you were in little more than a bathing suit, with hot drink in hand, while smalltalk was made with a fellow watchmate to stay awake and to pass the time.... too easy. Back to 3am present day and I'm rounding Cape Brett on Secret Agent Man... shivering, white knuckles gripping the companionway, and eyes peeled on the navigation system as we get tossed about like a shuttlecock. Uh-oh, did I just wet myself? No, I just spilled hot tea all over my lap... thank goodness. The only thing that calmed my nerves was seeing Eric below, sleeping like a baby, so clearly, this was business as usual... and I just needed to grow a pair. But rather than whine about the shakedown from Great Barrier to Opua, and what otherwise would have been the deal beaker had Eric not convinced me that 35 knot winds on the beam were not your average passage.... I share it as an uplifting trial... giving me the stuff one needs to pursue a proper passage... lunacy, I think is what it's called ; ) But I kid... this is just how it appears to one not brought up on a sailboat. After 29 years of living with solid ground under my feet, I just need to re-calibrate my sense of security now that I'm at sea. Fortunately, Eric is better than any teacher I could ask for, and with that, my confidence builds each day. Goodbye sweet, stable land... you will be missed...*sniff*

05/21/2012 | Belinda Rone/Mom
Glad to hear that you made it through your first ocean passage with your sense of humor and well being intact. Sailing and living on a boat can be wonderful, but does take a bit of adjustment. Eric is lucky to have you aboard. Hoping for good weather and smooth sailing in the future. Belinda/Mom
05/29/2012 | Amy's Mom - Laura Cella
Hooooo, Boy, Amy! Reading this entry, I just realized that that's definitely not tea spilled on MY pants!!! Eric, you should be thankful that Amy didn't inherit my "wimpy" genes! I can tell that she is enjoying this tremendous experience, white knuckles and all! Sweet sailing, you two!

Hello all,
Amy and Myself are still out on Great Barrier island. The weather window we wrrived with gave us the chance to get up to Bay of islands fast, but we chose to stay here for a period because it is epic. As with any place you go we have learned the ropes over the last few days. We have learned how to catch the fish. We have learned that there are abundant clam beds here. And we have discovered the hot bath. The hot bath is a community beach porperty (which is epic) that an owner made into a spot for everyone's enjoyment. It is located in Smokehouse Bay, and boasts a cabin with a bath tub, massive fish smokehouse, composting toilet, rope swings, camp fire and BBQ facilities. The water comes from a spring fed cistern and is heated for the bath by a wood fire. The point is we are set even though it is starting to get cold down here. We are looking at leaving in the next weather window but are going to be pinned down by some strong NE breeze tomorrow. The next stop in the Bay of Islands for some bottom paint and then Northward. I hope this finds you all well.

05/07/2012 | Eric's Dad
Nice report and very artsy photo's. Great to see S.A.M. once again exploring the world. Port Fitzroy does look like Desolation Sound! Enjoy the warmer weather as you get north.
05/15/2012 | Stivers
Great Barrier Island looks awesome on Google Earth... so I'm sure it's pretty rad in person :) Big ups to you and Amy for getting out there!!

Snapper and an unidentified fish that have become stapels for us along with clams.

05/08/2012 | Allison
Ingrid's comment: "blub blub blub" (this is how she says fish).

Port Fitzroy



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