Preparing to leave New Zealand for the second time
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sat 9 May 2009 04:26
Time passes and we have had some great days, and a few that were not so good. It was a significant disappointment to experience one of those set-backs that are always round the corner in this game. We could see it coming, but hoped it wouldn't. Detailed inspection of the rig revealed fine cracks in nearly all the swages, where the wire meets the end fittings, and the whole of the standing rigging has had to be renewed. Why the damage has occurred is a mystery but all knowledgeable salts were adamant: we should not venture offshore like that. Before a lamb's tail could be shaken twice the riggers had the mast out of the boat and went to work with a will. It is all back now, dressed and refurbished to a higher standard than before but it is very galling to pay such a lot for something that should have had another seven or eight years of life.
Lift off. A job well done by Northland Spars and Rigging.
Young Rob in action, lately of Brixham, born and brought up in Croydon. We spoke the same language
Safely on the ground
The skipper's missing something
Having got our rig back we were about to tackle final preparations for departure when the electric furling/reefing winch for the genoa was found to be seized solid and corroded beyond reasonable repair. A new and better one is on order but it is unlikely now that we shall be able to leave before about 21st May.
We have been watching television. New best friends along the pontoon own a 41ft Westerly Oceanlord, Tapestry. We seemed to get on particularly well with Lesley and Ian and this was explained when a chance remark revealed that Ian had been at the same school in Somerset as brother Martin and me. Not only that, but in the same boarding house. Ian remembers Martin, not as head boy but as someone who was always immaculately turned out. Our mother would have been pleased! The other day we were invited on board to watch the final of Dancing With The Stars, New Zealand's version of Strictly Come Dancing. Mags went for the dancing - I went because I didn't want to be left out. We had a good evening, and enjoyed the show but agreed afterwards that we didn't miss our telly, which we gave away to a mechanic in Turkey. It continues to astonish me that I can be such an addict of the goggle-box at home but don't miss it at all on the boat.
A few nights later we invited Tapestry for aperitifs on board before we all went on to the Opua Cruising Club for supper where we were joined by three blokes from a 47ft Oyster, Moonshadow. Tapestry knew Peter the owner quite well from their time in the Pacific and as it happened we had met him previously in English Harbour, Antigua. Another chance remark revealed that he is a retired chartered surveyor from one of the biggest firms and owner of a beautiful cottage just the other side of the creek at Tuckenhay. By the time we made this discovery we had had a couple of glasses of wine and I think we were absolutely hilarious in keeping the company richly entertained with stories of Floyd, The Maltsters, The Watermans and much, much more besides. Oh, what a jolly time was had by all! And, as we have frequently observed, it's quite a small world.
Seated one day at the chart table, musing on our missing mast, I was disturbed by a discreet cough and the enquiry: "Anybody on board?" Going up on deck I found an elderly gent with an English accent. "A Contest," he sighed, "excellent boats. I went round the world in a 42ft Contest. Took ten years. Never gave us a moment's anxiety. Then we came to live out here. Best place to live in retirement. I saw your boat from my house up there." Well, this was music to my ears and I spent a happy ten minutes agreeing with him about brilliant sea-keeping ability and other fine qualities of the marque. As he turned to go he stretched out a hand: "Pleased to meet you, Barry. My name's David, David Sadler." Ah.... One of Britain's most successful yacht architects of the 1960s and 1970s, one-time owner of Sadler Yachts and designer of the Contessa 32 and 26. Another story to tell the grand-kids; (actually, I am not altogether sure that the grand-children.........). Anyway, I wished Mags had been about so that I could have had my photo taken with the great man.
The summer seems to be properly over now. A succession of lows has been sweeping across the Tasman and all the talk is once again of "weather windows." We shall not now be ready to go until towards the end of the month so we are not anxious or frustrated yet, in fact we are really loath to leave and are enjoying every minute with our New Zealand friends and new activities. From time to time we all cower in our berths hiding from horrible gales and lashing rain but on other days the weather can be beautiful, sufficient to tempt us out to mangle the Waitangi golf course. The less said about that the better.
Thirty boats left the marina last weekend, most on a rally to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It is pleasingly quiet here now. The rally boats were given a shock when one of their number, arriving from Auckland, ran on to a reef right inside the Bay of Islands here and was lost. The couple sent out a Mayday, abandoned ship and set off their EPIRB and the airwaves were quite dramatic for a time. The boat was built of ferrocement and sank "like a stone". The rescue of the crew was handled very well and they were lifted off by helicopter but were injured by the impact and spent a few days in hospital. The boat was their home so they have lost practically everything although we understand they were insured. The weather was moderate at the time. In all the years I have spent sailing in home waters I cannot remember listening to a "live" Mayday drama. There have been several while we have been here.
Life in New Zealand.
On the golf course
Fraser Rock where the boat was wrecked can be seen in the background, on the far left
A strange craft, apparently on it's first sea trial. We know no more.
Mags' first quilt. A major achievment for a lady who claims she can't sew a straight seam.
Encouraged, she's now patching my shorts and stitching canvas and webbing to enhance JJ Moon.
Family members will already be aware that I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in the last few weeks. A bit of a blow. Fortunately, the treatment recommended at this stage involves three-monthly injections and we should be able to proceed with our current plans at least until I get further advice from a UK consultant any time after November. Mags has given me an injection today under the watchful eyes of the urologist and his nurse. It seemed to go alright, for both of us. We shall carry another pack for Mags to exercise her healing powers again in August. Life is full of new experiences.
Some particularly keen friends expressed interest in the boring list of work carried out last year. For the sake of consistency, and for our own records, I have put together another edition this year:
Work done in New Zealand 2008-2009
Spars, rigging, sails and covers
Re-cut the genoa to flatten it and help pointing ability
Build a rope into the genoa luff to improve its shape when reefed
Valet the mains'l
Build an easy-release deck stowage bag for the heavy weather stays'l
Renew all the standing rigging
Renew the mast step
Renew the rope part of the topping lift
End-for-end the mains'l clew outhaul
Remove chafed parts of 2 runner tails
Renew wire to kicking strap
Renew genoa sheets
Renew bimini securing straps
Replace JJ MOON lettering on the boom with larger
Treat the sprayhood with waterproofer
Renew electric furling/reefing winch
Re-mark the chain
Main engine and fuel supply
Routine maintenance including impeller, filter and oil changes
Attend to malfunction of the control panel, in particular the hour counter
Routine maintenance including impeller, filter and oil changes
Renew damaged nose cone to the wind generator
Replace forward shower tray pump switch
Renew saloon lighting
Renew port navigation light
Renew speed, depth, wind and amplified wind instruments
Install Class B AIS transponder
Renew the earthing to the SSB radio
Replace the manual bilge pump
Replace damaged salt water pump to the watermaker
Replace seals in the watermaker high pressure pump
Repair the galley freshwater foot pump
Replace the pump to the forward holding tank
Remove pressure tank from fresh water system
Overhaul inner forestay tension adjuster
Provide new stainless steel boarding ladder
Weld some screwed parts of the bimini
Hull and under water
Haul out and scrub off
Clean and polish the topsides
Renew zinc anodes to prop and 2 fridge/freezer keel coolers
Renew skin fittings and cocks to forward heads sea-water inlet, fwd heads outlet, fwd sink waste and stbd side cockpit drain
Renew stern gland packing
Renew packing to rudder seal
Renew rudder bearing
Renew hinges to galley lower locker
Cut out part of shelf for better access to GPS unit
Refurbish the compass binnacle
Renew 2 hatch ventilators
Reseal 2 saloon windows
Renew saloon seating and upholstery
Recover saloon head-lining
Add beaching wheels
Routine maintenance of outboard
Renew out-dated flares
Renew 2 lifejacket gas cylinders
Spare parts etc
Purchase numerous spare parts, pilots and charts
Carry out numerous minor repairs, services, improvements and cleaning operations
Work we did not do (still)
Renew the cooker
Raise the guard rails and fabricate solid s/s in whole or part
Install Electro-Scan sanitation treatment and disposal device
Improvements to large canopy