Thursday, February 26, 2015

Back to the Bay of Islands...Or why we love Russell boating club

We've been gradually creeping up the East Northland coast here with a new adventure in mind.  It didn't take us long to realise that we weren't going to want to stay in this corner of New Zealand until we head back to the UK for a bit and we certainly weren't going to get a car like most overseas sailors do once they get here.

It started after about a week looking around the beautiful bay of islands.  'This is lovely but wouldn't it be something to see the fjords...' The seed was planted.  So we've been getting ourselves ready, together with seeing a bit of the area.

Someone else with their spinnaker up near Great Barrier Island.

Whangamamu harbour, an old whaling station.  Rather gruesome to read about but a lovely walk across the peninsula.

Just shows I can still harbour double standards since we were delighted to catch this kingfish just after we rounded Cape Brett.  We got changed and washed the cockpit down a bit before the photo.

From the top of Motuarohia island.

This area of Northland is famed for it's beauty and clement weather and as such is something of  a holiday destination.  But with a boat and all those islands to chose from you can still find yourselves a quiet corner. There's also loads of scallops, mussels and oysters around to supplement your dinner.


So, whilst we've been enjoying our sail back up the coast and around the islands, we've been thinking about how we need to be prepared for our forthcoming trip.

We've started to rebed our portholes.  They all need their rubber seals replacing where they open and close and this is much easier to do when they are out of the wall.  Some of them were dripping a bit occasionally so we'd like to get them all redone before we leave the boat in a couple of months time.  A good time to give the wood behind some TLC too and a little shine doesn't hurt though don't count on the eighth one getting this attention!

 This is the really big job.  Since it might be quite windy down around the bottom of South Island we feel we'd be pushing our luck to solely count on our 40 year old main sail to stand up to it.  We wanted our spare ready to use just in case.
 When we bought Impetuous she came with an old and a new main sail.  Brand new never been used with the name and number of the boat on it. Imagine our surprise when we hoisted it for the first time and found that it didn't fit.  We puzzled for a bit as to what we'd done wrong, we'd built our new mast taller than the original but we couldn't work out why this would make any difference...
In the end we couldn't find any other explanation other than it was wrong and we'd need to change it significantly before it could be of any use.  So we paid a sailmaker in Guatemala to recut the leech shape and remove the foot, add a new panel and reshape it.  We'd left it at that all this way but here we will need the reefs when our old sail finally gives out.  So we removed the old reef patches and eyes (except one which we could make work) and very carefully measured where we wanted the new ones to be.


So we made new strengthening patches.  6 layers starting small and getting bigger to spread out the strain on the material.  Then onto the sail so when we were sewing them under the leech tape that made 9 layers, we were so pleased that our machine could just about manage it, the material is very tough (9oz dacron).

Next we had to add the eyes through the patches to do the work.  We'd bought the equipment to do this in Panama so we were ready, we just refreshed our minds by watching the sailrite youtube video again.  Cut the hole with a stanley knife, punch holes where the stitches will go and then sew the brass ring on.  Two rings of stitches of different sizes for added strength (a la Moitessier).  Once it's finished, hammer on a grommet for the ropes or hardware to run through.



So this is why we love Russell boating club.  The people are friendly and helpful, they have a hot shower, a bar open 3 evenings a week, a big dinghy dock and a lovely big space where we could work on our sail.  It's all done now so we're leaving this afternoon, sailing round the top at Cape Reinga then heading straight for Milford Sound.  The wind may not let us go straight though as we're likely to pass through a patch of variable and light winds but we'll hope for the best.

The other reason I love Russell boat club is that it has a community garden.  It's lovely to potter in a garden and get your hands in the soil. Contribute and you can share so we've got some beautiful chillis, lettuce, chard and a few little carrots for our trip.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park is worth a look on the way to Milford Sound