Starblazer - 18/12/2014 - It never rains but it pours (both literally and metaphorically)
Our camping weekend started damp and got steadily wetter throughout Saturday.It actually stopped raining at about 1300 hrs, long enough for us to find a picnic area to eat our pasties and stretch our legs.From there I took over driving, first time behind the wheel since May 2013, first time in an automatic since my Oldsmobile Cutlass in Waseca in 1984! To add to the challenge, we were in a gorge area where the hills and twists and turns were challenging and continuous, especially as the weather deteriorated.My driving can't have been that bad because John managed to doze a little.He claims it was nervous exhaustion.Our first destination was Cape Reinga on the NW tip of New Zealand.It is a very special place for the Maoris, the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea, where. read more...
Starblazer - 10/12/2014 - Whangarei
Our trip south from Opua was interesting. We motorsailed on Sunday as far as Bland Bay, an almost circular bay with good protection from SE through W to NE but with, allegedly, variable holding.Our anchor set instantly and we enjoyed a very peaceful night.The forecast for Tuesday was for a 15-20 knot headwind so we decided to bash on all the way and anchor somewhere inside the Whangarei basin.We had a good sail in a freshening wind until we approached Bream Head where the seas were chaotic and the wind couldn't decide where to blow from.The 'iron tops'l' aka the engine was pressed into service until it cut out.O.K. We thought, the rough seas have stirred up rubbish in the tank, the filter is probably blocked.John had installed a bypass system through another pair of filters for just such. read more...
Starblazer - 1/12/2014 - Our stay in the Bay of Islands
We quickly settled into shore-based life and hired a car for 7 days.This proved to be a bit of a mistake as, apart from a trip to the bank in Paihia to collect our debit cards then onwards to Kerikeri for a quick supermarket shop and SIM cards from Vodafone, we only used the car once more, to source gas refills at a filling station.We had been warned that Calor propane tanks would not be refilled, we had also heard they could be filled if they were pressure tested each time at a cost of NZ€45 each.In the event local knowledge suggested a filling station which might oblige!The next week was busy, with seminars in the afternoons run by the Island Cruising Association, social events in the evening and a few morning trips.The highlight for me was 9 holes of golf on the spectacular Weimata. read more...
Starblazer - 11/11/2014 – The Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly.
Last night was lovely. The seas were a flat calm, the wind a gentle zephyr, the sky was clear, the moon very bright and the engine a mighty motive force towards our waypoint.I don’t think it was as cold as Sunday night but it was nevertheless quite chilly.Today started with very little wind but by mid-afternoon it had filled in from the west and built quite quickly to 20 knots.That allowed us to sail quite fast, rolling just like on the Atlantic crossing.We have made excellent progress and our ETA came forward from Thursday midday perhaps to Wednesday midnight.We have now reviewed that and hope to arrive at about 1800 tomorrow, to achieve that we are making best speed with the help of the engine because of the ‘Ugly’.I have had another productive day, experimenting with baking a carrot. read more...
Starblazer - 12/11/2014 - The final 24 hours.
We started the night with the wind behind, mainly in the 20-25 knot range but I had a sustained gust of 35 just before midnight.We were sailing fast, averaging about 7.5 knots, occasionally getting up to 8 knots without any help from the tide.Just after I did the 0000hrs logbook entry I went up on deck and within 15 minutes the wind suddenly backed 90 degrees, the jib gybed and the mainsail tried to but the gybe preventer did its job.Involuntary gybes can do a lot of damage, even pulling the rig down in some cases.I yelled for John while struggling to get the autopilot to turn us with the help of the engine.It took about 45 minutes to sort out the sails, the heading, the other gybe preventer etc.In daylight it would have been much quicker, we could have seen what we were doing.John would. read more...