Footnotes from Water Music

Sicily to New Zealand on Water Music Wauquiez Centurion 45

Vessel Name: Water Music
Vessel Make/Model: Wauquiez Centurion 45
Crew: Stephen Foot, Grace Foot, Charlie Foot, Fergus Mutch
08 November 2019
08 November 2019
31 October 2019 | Opua, Bay of Islands
31 October 2019 | Opua, Bay of Islands
27 October 2019 | 250 miles North of New Zealand
26 October 2019 | West of Norfolk Island
25 October 2019 | West of New Caledonia
22 October 2019 | West of New Caledonia
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08 November 2019

08 November 2019

And so to bed!

31 October 2019 | Opua, Bay of Islands

And so to bed

The last week has passed in something of a blur as we have put the boat to bed and sought to balance this with some more fun things to do in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

31 October 2019 | Opua, Bay of Islands

Journey's end

When we last completed a blog, we were looking for some wind to get some respite from the mirror flat seas we were experiencing. We found it!

27 October 2019 | 250 miles North of New Zealand

Signs of life

Our position: 30.00S, 170.07E

26 October 2019 | West of Norfolk Island

Turning for New Zealand

Our Position: 26.47S, 169.21E

08 November 2019
Grace Foot

And so to bed!

08 November 2019
Grace Foot

And so to bed

31 October 2019 | Opua, Bay of Islands
Stephen
The last week has passed in something of a blur as we have put the boat to bed and sought to balance this with some more fun things to do in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

Stripping everything off the boat has been a major task and Water Music - for the first time since we bought her- has had everything removed to facilitate a lot of work that we need to do. In spite of throwing loads of stuff away (for reasons unknown, i did keep the spear gun), we ended up
filling most of the container that has been allocated to us in this delightful boatyard.

Finding Dave Blair has been something of a stroke of luck and he came highly recommended by Kiwi sailor Tony Whiting (who we met in French Polynesia and is brother of a girlfriend of mine from 43 years ago). When we met him, we knew straight away that we had landed on our feet and
he was just adding the finishing touches to a boat that has been in for a 6 month overhaul. The yacht is about 40 years old and is one that Dave built all those years ago. We took her place in the shed.

Around clearing up the boat, we spent a lot of time in the Opua Yacht Club - where they did a fantastic plate of oysters and Fish and Chips. That formed my diet for the best part of a week. Apart from that we drove extensively around the local area, visited a couple of wineries for lunch,
hired bikes to cycle down the railway track, went on hikes across beaches and through woods, played golf at the most scenic course imaginable (I played very badly), and even found somewhere to watch a dismal game of rugby. Finding somewhere to watch this match wasnt easy -
apparently none of the Kiwis around N Island have ever been interested in rugby. Cant think why that should be.

Thursday morning arrived and we were lifted out of the marina onto a truck at 0700. The next task was to take the mast out and then ship the convoy some 15 miles inland to Dave's yard for her well earned rest. The operation, expertly managed by Shelley, took about 3 hours from start to
finish, including trucking the boat to the shed and taking off the trailer once in place. Once out of the water, there were inevitable comments about the bite marks in the leading edge of the keel, caused by Flying Coral. The one at the bottom was easy to explain - if not the crack at back of
the keel - but the one we sustained near the top of the keel (in Tonga) was more difficult. Water Music is now in her shed on a small patch of land, surrounded by a herd of cows and, apparently, with a very good cheese shop on the other side of the road. Lets hope she enjoys her well
earned rest.

Having put the boat to bed, we took to the golf course. Alistair was initially disappointed that the buggy he had hired had a governor on it and would not allow us to go faster than walking pace, but did not let that spoil his steady, consistent play. It clearly did get to my golf, which started off
erratically and then became consistent but considerably worse.

The hotel we stayed in that night was right on the water front and so we could see Endeavour manoeuvering around in the bay, together with the 30+m long Maori war canoe that were due to be used to celebrate the 250 anniversary of Cook's arrival in NZ. We had learned all about that
on our visit to Waitangi the day before - so good to get a glimpse of the ship coming in.

After a long bus journey, we arrived in Auckland and went for drinks with Will & Wendy Roberts (Friends of Victoria's from Hong Kong). There was a bit of a gathering forming as their square all seemed to know that this would be the time that I would meet up with Debbie Whiting for the first
time in 43 years. None of us remember much about the evening - save that we ended up at the waterfront rather late. This morning gave us the opportunity to spend with other parts of the Whiting family and we had breakfast with Tony & Mags - who we hadnt seen since Raiatea in French
Polynesia. They showed us around through the morning and we are beginning to get our bearings in Auckland.

We have 2 more days of exploring, before Grace & I fly back to UK on Monday night and Al continues his journey through S Island.

Journey's end

31 October 2019 | Opua, Bay of Islands
Stephen
When we last completed a blog, we were looking for some wind to get some respite from the mirror flat seas we were experiencing. We found it!

Shortly after going off watch at 0200, a front came through very quickly and the wind built from almost nothing to 25 knots with a sea running for the first time since we left Fiji. With all sails duly reefed, I got back into my bunk to find that Alistair had hooked a large tuna. That was exactly
what we needed - however dispatching, gutting, skinning and filetting the fish as we bounced along was quite challenging.

We were then looking forward to fresh fish for lunch (ceviche) and then for supper. Sadly it was not to be as our diet then fell to two days of Cup-a-Soup as it was too rough to do anything else. Over the rest of that day, the wind steadily built to about 30 knots - which we sustained through
the night (with one period of winds from 35-27 knots) and the seas built to about 4m. This felt like it was going to put a huge strain on our weakened backstay and the mainsail that we knew was on its last legs. Fortunately that all held and the autopilot held us to the course we asked
without any sort of grumble or murmur. To compound matters, the wind came in from the S and so it was very cold and meant that we couldnt sail anything like in the direction we wanted to take. After a while the dodger came up - which provided some protection. To give an indication of
the strength of some of the wind, we had a wave break over the bows, which brought green water (sadly it is no longer deep blue) back to the cockpit and the dodger took the brunt of this wave - which was by now about 2 feet deep. Not surprisingly, the stitching failed on the dodger and
we just had to hope that the material would hold.

By this stage, the small infection on Grace's wrist had inflamed and she was digging into the supplies of anti-biotics we have on the boat. From then on Alistair & I did 2 hour watches overnight as it was just too cold to be up for much longer.

Eventually we started to get into some lee of the N Island and the winds started to veer round to the South West and the seas eased. This meant that about 0100 yesterday morning we were finally able to point at our destination. That was a huge relief and as the sun started to rise the
temperature started to go up and we got freed some more. We ended up with the most glorious sail in growing daylight down this memorable coast. It was a truly fitting end to an amazing trip, during which time we have sailed over 15,300 miles since leaving Lanzareote.

We had arrived and, in spite of the challenges of the boat, we were in one piece. Nothing had broken on the passage down - which given some of the severe pounding we received is remarkable and our mainsail can now finally go off to be recycled - or whatever you do with an old sail
that is in too poor condition to make into a bag!

Customs into was pretty straightforward and we were on our dock by lunchtime. Grace went to see the doctor in the afternoon and has been given a sling, but the antibiotics are now working and we we are now looking forward to doing some exploring of the island. We may get a game of
golf in - but first things are to work out where we find a television for tomorrow's big game.

Signs of life

27 October 2019 | 250 miles North of New Zealand
Stephen
Our position: 30.00S, 170.07E

We have now been motoring for the last 30 hours and are getting fed up with the noise. However, at least we have lots of hot water and the batteries are fully charged. There is one person on the boat who is happy with the almost complete absence of wind and that prompted her to make
a lemon drizzle cake yesterday afternoon and some fresh bread for breakfast this morning. Actually we think that making the bread is some form of atonement for the double strength rum & ginger ale that she drank last night. None of us think that the Fijian rum is very good in the first place
and the solution is probably not to make it overstrength. Sadly, with the whisky finished we dont have much choice.

The other good thing is that the engine is working. I decided to do some engine checks yesterday morning after the radio schedule. The leak around the prop shaft seems to be ok, but there was one around the salt water inlet, which also seems to be under control. I needed to put a little
oil in both engine and in gearbox - but that is only to be expected and top up the diesel tanks from the cans we carry on deck. Having finished these tasks, we started again and the diesel purred into life. A job well done. However, about one minute later it died and simply would not start.
the book "Diesel Engines Afloat" came out as well as the service manual (taken from a 1980's Haynes manual on the Morris Marina as the engine is the same). Neither held any clue to this near catastrophe - the idea of sitting in complete flat calm for unknown days held no appeal for
anyone. After a lot of scratching of heads, I find that i had knocked the fuel inlet and turned it off. No wonder it wouldnt start.

Last night we had a couple of planes pass overhead and this morning we have seen a ship bound for Japan. That was shortly before we caught a fish - sadly it was so huge that it took the line as well. At least the lure that Curly Carswell from Savusavu sold us did actually work - the only
other thing it has caught was an empty tin of tuna we had thrown over the side.

Listening to weather forecasts, it looks like we should get some wind later on today - otherwise the sea is completely flat - and that should allow us to start sailing again. With any luck, we should arrive in Opua on Wednesday or Thursday. By the sounds of it, there will be an exciting game
on Saturday night and we'll have to find a bar to watch the final.

Off for breakfast and that fresh loaf of bread.

Turning for New Zealand

26 October 2019 | West of Norfolk Island
Stephen
Our Position: 26.47S, 169.21E

A quieter day on the board after some of the challenges of getting the backstay etc resolved. We are now motoring in the High Pressure zone that bridges the Tropics and the temperate latitudes. This means that we are experiencing light winds. Whilst Grace likes the lights airs (actually
we all do) it has meant that we had to turn the engine on at 0200 this morning and have been running it pretty much ever since. The good news is that we reckon we have got enough fuel to motor all the way to NZ if necessary.

Our Weather router has just told us that we can now head direct for N end of NZ (Cape Reinga) and so that means our distance to run is now just under 600Nm - less than a Fastnet race. W ewill struggle to do that as what little winds there are are coming straight from the SE - exactly
where we are trying to go. That means progress will be slow and noisy. The weather router is also suggesting that we are unlikely to confront anything more than 20kn of wind now.

All is well on the boat - but getting decidedly chillier. even in the day time in full sunshine it is better to wear long trousers. At night Grace is wearing her wooly skiing hat. All of us in oilskins overnight.
Water Music's Photos - Main
Photos from Charlie and Fergus, from Tongatapu to Vava'u
25 Photos
Created 9 September 2019
No Photos
Created 27 May 2019
No Photos
Created 17 April 2019
1 Photo
Created 31 March 2019
7 Photos
Created 22 January 2019
No Photos
Created 21 January 2019

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