New Zealand day 0 - Catch up from Noumea

Position           22:16.62S 166:26.40E

Date                1310 (UTC +11) Tuesday 04 November 2014

                       

There are some entries for our fabulous time in the Iles des Pins and return to Noumea that will have to be posted when we next have good WiFi.  We arrived back in Port Moselle to prepare for our departure to Opua, New Zealand on Thursday 30 October 2014 and this time we were able to get a berth on the visitors’ pontoon, joining the other eight boats which make up the World ARC 2014 drop outs.  It is good to see that of the nine boats eight are paid up members of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) and flying shiny bullet proof flying fish burgees supplied to us for sale by Port Officers Gary Nagel and Greta Gustavson of Norfolk, Virginia.  It was fun to catch up with friends and hear the reports of the past three months cruising; did we really all cover the same ground?

 

OCC members and crew in Noumea getting ready for the New Zealand passage

 

The ‘Rally New Zealand’ is a new venture by the World Cruising Club (WCC) who run the World ARC Rally with whom the boats present sailed as far as Fiji.  This year it is at no charge to participants and if the idea flies this Rally will fit in with the move to run the World Rally annually rather than every two years as previously by encouraging participants for the World ARC who wish to spend more time in the Pacific and pick up the following year’s rally somewhere between Tonga and Vanuatu.  World ARC staff member Hugh Murray-Walker flew in from Australia on Thursday to coordinate the boats, organise outward clearance, organise two social functions and provide briefings.

 

Our water maker, fitted with new membranes in Fiji, has had an ongoing problem with a high pressure salt water leak from the end caps which appear to have been damaged during the fitting.  This was eventually solved by an excellent water maker engineer, Gerrard, provided by Noumea Yacht Services, an organisation well regarded by the group boats that have used them.

 

The problem with a group preparing for a difficult passage such as the one to New Zealand is the danger of ‘weather analysis paralyses; someone can always come up with a good reason for not departing.  Skippers were of course allowed to make their own decisions about the departure time and date but opinions varied and chopped and changed.  We are taking the early approach and getting on with it.  Five boats were leaving on Tuesday morning, including ourselves, three are intending to start on Wednesday morning and one, Tulasi the Amel 64 is intending to delay further.  Time will tell who is correct, German seaweed would appear to be giving somewhat different answers as to the weather, or perhaps they are using the new-fangled fir cone to forecast.

 

After an excellent and convivial dinner together in the La Chaumier restaurant organised by the World ARC team member Hugh and a dash to order some duty free booze and other last minute preparation we left our dock at 1215 to take on duty free diesel and were ready for the off at 1315.  The provision of duty free goods and fuel is a concession to departing yachts using their customs clearance documentation.