Time Bandit

30 April 2017 | Tutukaka
28 April 2017
13 April 2017 | (Library pic. It really was tipping with rain)
08 April 2017 | Bulk tonic being delivered to anonymous cruisers in Fiji
03 April 2017
02 April 2017 | Port Whangarei
25 March 2017 | Another Bloody Atoll
04 March 2017
28 February 2017
25 February 2017
21 February 2017 | Christchurch City Centre
14 February 2017 | Sleepy Westport
07 February 2017 | Scots Brolly v's Power Brolly
30 January 2017
14 January 2017 | Anne adopting the squaw look to fight the Welsh freeze.
24 December 2016 | Car Hove-to in the Christmas Breeze
22 December 2016 | Largs, Scotland at 11:30 AM!!!

It's Wobbly Out Here

30 April 2017 | Tutukaka
Ivan thinks our new conservatory makes us look like the Popemobile but already I'm a convert.

At the crack of 08:30 we left the almost totally sheltered, perpetually glassy water of the Town Basin into 20-25 knots and had a seriously wobbly sail up to Tutukaka Harbour. We sailed the whole way with the "clears" zipped tight and if I'd been wearing a mitre it would have sat perched on my bonce quite undisturbed by the passing gusts.

Next stop is Whangamumu. Don't they have great names here! 30 miles up the coast in more of the wobbly stuff. 30 knots blowing and I can see a big sea running outside the harbour so it's all zips down and off we'll go in our PVC bubble hoping to arrive without having suffocated.

'Avin Your Clears Done?

28 April 2017
That's an expression you hear around the pontoons. It's New Zealand yottie speak for having a wraparound pvc enclosure made for the cockpit. Or a conservatory as Anne calls it.

I hate these things. For years I fought against a bimini before my throbbing, burned red, baldy head made me capitulate. Next negotiation was the joining bit between the bimini and the spray hood. That took another couple of years and then, for reasons I don't remember, particularly as we're chasing a life in perpetual sunshine, somehow an enclosure got on the to-do list.

While I'm likely to spend a further load of dosh with chiropractors after having to squeeze under the damn thing all day and it will feel like sailing with a giant crash helmet with its visor down on my head and, finally, we'll have turned the boat into a true floating caravan, this morning, in the tipping rain, I have to concede, it has its advantages.

Maybe we can grow tomatoes.

Cruisers Worry of Premature Ageing

20 April 2017
Cruisers here are reporting symptoms of premature ageing. Early signs experienced include when....

- You go up the mast two days after you spotted a broken wire on one of the the check stays and bring down the wrong one.
- You walk two miles to the chandlers six times in one day because each time you forgot your note of what to buy.
- When you do the math and work out that song from Classic Hits FM wasn't from just a few years ago but actually 53 years ago.
- When you walk past the mobility scooter store and think, "Hmmm. That one in black is quite nice".
- When you hunt round the boat for 10 minutes looking for your damn sun specs....and find them on your head.
- When an afternoon nap is more appealing than afternoon delight.

Chop and Change

13 April 2017 | (Library pic. It really was tipping with rain)
Back in the Caribbean a year ago in January our Raymarine wind instrument failed. Or more likely I thought, it was the masthead transducer. Again.

Dave and Linda kindly schlepped a new one all the way to Panama from L.A. A quick flash up the mast and we were back in business.....for a few months.

Thereafter, on the morning Net our wind reports were of the "look oot the windae " variety rather than digital. Other than the $450 down the tube it wasn't too much of an issue other than we lost our steer-to-wind functionality which is quite useful for avoiding crash gybes while I'm doing the pole dance on deck.

Consequently getting the Wind fixed was on our "To Do" list...under "Critical" although it really wasn't and should have been on the "Do Next" list ahead of the "Nice-to-Have" list.

The big question was, where's the problem? Was it the new transducer that was bust, the wiring down the mast, the wiring through the boat or the 17 year old display or combination of issues?

First off, as the schlepped L.A. transducer was just over a year old, the previous one from 2011 having predictably expired 1 year after the end of its miserable 3 year warranty we thought it likely the old display was the problem. So, we spent the cost of a new small car on a new display and....it didn't work.

Maybe it was the dodgy wiring. All checked and metered but all looked OK so took out the new display and put the old back in. The local Raymarine guy was kind enough to lend us a new transducer to see what worked with that. So, up the mast we went, changed the whirly and bingo, it worked.....until morning. So, in the cockpit we ran a shortcut and put the new display on the new transducer and bingo, it worked...as did the old display. So, to test again, back up the mast to test old whirly with new and old displays and, both mysteriously worked. As I wasn't going to spend the cost of another small car on a new whirly I shot up the mast (well, huffed and puffed) and changed back to the old whirly.

Next morning, nothing worked.

It has to be the wiring.

Floorboards up, old connections all chopped off and re-made and bingo, the old whirly and old display worked.

Maybe I could get my money back on the small car value.

Worked till morning that is. Maybe it was the whirly after all. Back up the mast...... and on it went 'till I finally gave up and decided we'd just look oot the windae.

Then the engineer called to ask if he could have his new whirly back. Which got me thinking.

Did I ever check the new whirly from the masthead as opposed to just in the cockpit with the new display? I'd done so many variants that, despite having written down a matrix of all the permutations I wasn't 100% sure I'd checked the new whirly with the new connections to the new display. The Ferrari scenario.

Back up the mast, in the rain and finally, so far, it's all working. Until morning????

Should just have bought a Ferrari.

Gin and Tonic Anyone?

08 April 2017 | Bulk tonic being delivered to anonymous cruisers in Fiji
Two of our cruising friends, who best remain anonymous; let's call them Al and Amy, stocked up in Whangarei today in preparation for their summer, or is it winter, in the islands. Top of the shopping list was...... 36 bottles of gin! Yikes!

"It's a long summer in the islands" said A&A Anonymous. They've spent time in Fiji and Vanuatu and know what things cost so I'm now a bit worried our meagre duty free allowance will see us through........one hard night. We may need to rethink our victualling before we head off especially as we'll have a freezer to keep and make ice cubes.

This stupid freezer project has occupied every waking hour for days now but tomorrow is F-Day. The day we pass the point of no return and bend the freezer plate to shape, squeeze it into the new space, wriggle, push and pull the pipework through into the aft locker and then, another crux, screw the plumbing together without getting gassed. It has all the potential for being aptly named F-Day.

Perhaps we should have given the Jehovah's Witness who appeared at the boat this afternoon a bit more time!

Beer and Skittles

03 April 2017
Well....... sometimes it is beer and skittles.

The kind people of Indonesia sent their Minister of Tourism and another four of five bods including a musician playing a cross between a harp a banana and a guitar. All there to support him in a presentation on the delights of cruising in Indonesia while we enjoyed the free beer and food, a guarantee for a full turnout in any cruising community.

The biggest issue was that the free beer came long before both the speeches and the food. Consequently, one third of the audience were falling asleep at the table. One third were giggling at the pis-pronunciations and impolitely talking while the last third tutted and harrumphed at the other two thirds.

It's hard to imagine any major return on their flights let alone the new cruising infrastructure in Indonesia. However, the new President has apparently decreed that the mountains of forms that have to be completed in triplicate prior to entry and departure are slashed (maybe soon just required in duplicate) all as part of a major push to attract cruisers.

Somehow they have the feeling we're awash with cash. Us. The cruisers who gather water off the side decks, cut our own hair and always know where the least expensive joints are in town. A quick look around at the state of dress of the audience might have given the Minister a clue as to our interest in splashing cash. Nonetheless, new marinas are apparently under construction all over Indonesia and the number of legal entry points has been increased dramatically. Sounds good, but a while off for us yet.

We just went for the beer and skittles.

Splash the Cash

02 April 2017 | Port Whangarei
A few years ago we motored Time Bandit into Tobermory, the quaint old Scottish town on the Isle of Mull out on the west coast. Younger or not gainfully employed readers will know this wee town better as Balamory.

Moored up alongside the pontoon was a 70 or 80 feet length of pointy aluminium which we now know was a Dashew FPB. These luxury offshore, long distance power boats are made right here in Whangarei. There's two in the water and three building in the yard.

The latest just splashed ahead of us having had a bit of work done. We counted 13 "tradies " cars parked at it while it was in the stocks. 13 x $75/hr = best part of eight grand a day on labour alone. Yikes.

Back in the water and with the clock ticking to departure time we start on "the list". As a queue of tradesmen isn't in my budget it's all hands too.

New AIS aerial; fridge, genoa halyard, foredeck light, bow roller. All run of the mill stuff until you remember it's a boat.

Boat. Bring On Another Thou.

Once you've bought the kit which you know will last one week longer than its guaranteed period you have to install it.

The wire run for the AIS would confuse the smartest rat. The fridge and new insulation layer is all compound curves and trapezium shaped (is that the squinty rectangle?) Funny angles everywhere and of course it all has to be measured and templated while upside down with only your feet sticking out to show there's life. The halyards obviously are up the top of the flaming mast where I find, other than a nice view down the river, that we need a new section of furler. Not a mast down job. Just the forestay down. That'll be a doddle and of course B-O-A-T.

It's not all beer and skittles you know.


25 March 2017 | Another Bloody Atoll
It's been a bit quiet on the Blog front. I think my creative juices have dried out in the New Zealand summer heat. Either that or there's hee haw happening.

After eight weeks on the road, staying in motels, hotels but mostly in AirBnb's (probably keeping the black economy alive) when we saw quite a lot of New Zealand we are now back in the boatyard.

It's taking a while but we are slowly getting back into boat mode, confused and slowed a bit in our prep for the new season as we dabbled in selling and moving to two hulls, but that's a pipe dream now either extinguished or, perhaps smouldering.

There's loads of advantages to a cat. Speed. Patio as opposed to basement living. A cockpit you can walk around in and, perhaps best of all, the potential to have a hull each.

Recently we watched a TV programme about young couples living in "tiny" or even minuscule apartments, caravans and sheds.

Ee by gum. They 'av it cushy. Why, we live in't space no bigger than a budgie's feed box.

We had a possible buyer for Time Bandit but unfortunately they asked for an inventory. We then spent a couple of hours writing down all the stuff we had; wind vanes, heating, spare sails, new chainplates, anchors, chains and on it went. By the time we were through we thought actually, this board pretty well set up for what we want to do......and can I be bothered setting up a new boat, of whatever colour.

So, we're on Time Bandit for another season. A season that, Plan A, will take us to Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and on to Australia somewhere for cyclone period starting November ish.

So, if you want to hear about ABA's (another bloody atoll) stay tuned.
Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 45
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
About: ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with an ocean going boat and cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana...
Extra: 2016 Transited Panama Canal early February '16 bound for Galapagos (March), Marquesas, Pacific Islands and New Zealand for November '16
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
Time Bandit's Photos - Main
An interesting perspective on evolution in the Galapagos.
23 Photos
Created 7 March 2016
18 Photos
Created 30 September 2014
Mediterranean Spain to the Arctic Circle
67 Photos
Created 12 August 2013
Scraping and sanding hull back to gel coat for epoxy and Coppercoat treatments.
6 Photos
Created 3 February 2013