Sunday 24th August 2014 - Phase 1 of the Breakout Complete

Jon & Carol Dutton
Sun 24 Aug 2014 01:27

35:18.83S 174:07.34E


Sunday 24th August 2014 – Phase 1 of the Breakout Complete


The watermaker men came as promised on Tuesday and fitted it all back in working order.  So, we were ready to leave on Wednesday morning but chose not to because the weather was forecast to become hideous imminently.  It did just that with very strong northerly winds – even in the marina they reputedly reached 50 knots - so the chances of getting north in that lot didn’t look good.  However life was forecast to get a lot better by Thursday afternoon and remain sunny with winds from the southern sector for several days.  So, we decanted the rest of the stuff from our flat on Thursday, took Lindsay and Raewyn out to dinner as some sort of very inadequate ‘thank you’ for all they have done for us and moved aboard, with most of the stuff re-stowed, for the night.  That put Arnamentia properly down to her raised waterline.


At about 1530 on Friday we slipped our berth in Gulf Harbour marina – not without a little trepidation with a pretty gusty F5-6 pinning us in there – and made it safely out to sea.

The plan was to sail overnight to Opua – the northernmost port in NZ from which yachts can clear out and about 130NM by sea from Gulf Harbour.  We had a decent F5 or F6 up the chuff for almost all the way.  So, it was a good full mainsail and boomed out yankee romp which saw us berthed in Opua 17 hours later, at 0830 yesterday morning, having dawdled a little towards the end so as to arrive in marina office hours.  Average speed for the journey   a bit over 7.5 knots.


It was great to be at sea again and to see Arnamentia doing something other than exercising her well-developed talents as a cash sink.  There were one or two electronic teasers that puzzled us for a bit (when agents take stuff like plotters away to fiddle with them they always give them back with all the settings reversed to default.  And, of course there is no way that you can remember what you set to what or that it needed setting in the first place.  Chaps may even be forced to refer to a user manual.  Steady!  Moreover, we were visited by an irritating gremlin that stopped our AIS from working for most of the trip.  That is scarcely a drama in the South Pacific, but, just as mysteriously as he appeared, he disappeared as we approached Opua.  So, apart from a couple of tiny things to fix, it looks as if everything is sort of working.  If that statement isn’t a hostage to fortune, nothing is.


Lovely though the wind was, one was left in no doubt that it was coming from the south.  The fleece-lined Baby-Gro was the least of the requirements.  Whoa – that was chilly.  The plan now is to leave Opua for Savusavu, in Fiji, on Monday.  By the time we’ve messed about with NZ Customs and refuelled and so on it will probably be midday at best.  However, the generally favourable winds are due to hold for a few days yet so the hope is that we can get clear enough of NZ before the next low pressure system comes charging in.


Saturday evening was spent at the Opua Cruising Club watching the second Rugby Test Match of the Bledisloe Cup (Oz/NZ) at Eden Park in Auckland.  Last week the Wallabies held the All Blacks to a 12 all draw during a very wet match in Sydney.  The All Blacks were lucky not to have lost and probably would have done had the Wallabies taken their early penalties as kicks rather than trying to play the very slippery ball.  Rugby is the religion here, of course.  ‘Footie’ is what all young men play (either Union or League – very little of your soccer nonsense) and many go on playing for the large number and variety of local teams (some limited by age and/or weight) well into their 30’s.  There are plenty of women’s teams , too.  As a result, Kiwis are relentlessly critical of the All Blacks if they don’t do what they are supposed to do in pummelling the opposition into the ground.  For example, the fact that they’d beaten England in the first Test against them recently was nowhere near good enough.  They hadn’t destroyed them with All Blacks’ magic.  So, having by their own admission “Played a totally crap game” in Sydney and left the Wallabies standing they were in no mood to repeat the performance.  They won 51-20 – no messing.  It was a brilliant game which illustrated perfectly why so many of he northern hemisphere teams often look flat-footed when playing the All Blacks.  Magical stuff and I guess the rest of us will be pushed to compete, notwithstanding much greater populations, until we ban soccer (honestly, given England’s performance in the recent World Cup, it’s got nothing to lose) and get every fit young man who can play ‘footie’ onto the right sort of pitch.

Today will be taken up with admin of one sort or another.   The car, having been collected from Gulf Harbour yesterday (thank God for busses and Raewyn) is being put somewhere safe, there is a little last-minute provisioning to do and there are a couple of minor fixes to put in place on board (as ever).  Then, with any luck at all, we’ll be outta here.