Monday, April 18, 2016

And We're Off...

Sailing 2016 got off to a flying start today.  

We've very much enjoyed our last week back afloat in the Waikawa bay.  Sailing Fidget in to get the last spares and stores, varnishing the mast and making new friends.  Yesterday we headed out along the Queen Charlotte Sound under a brilliant blue sky with the gusts always on the beam and rested overnight in endeavour inlet. 

This morning under a threatening sky we ventured out into the Cook Strait. It was a perfect sail on a beam reach with a good force 5, at times 6 hefting us along as the skies gradually cleared.  We caught a fish as the line was still paying out so enjoyed a lunch of fish soup and Kawai sushi for dinner.

For the next couple of days we shall explore Pelorus Sound before the Abel Tasman.  We must catch our own Blue Cod which has eluded us thus far.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The New Zealand List...

We're back. Actually we've been back almost a month. Impetuous weathered her solo nine moths well and just this afternoon we splashed back into the water. Our plan is to enjoy the last of New Zealands' autumn; sailing a little more in the Sounds, the Abel Tasman National park, back to Northland, then head further North to the Pacific islands in May.

Its been a long month on the hard, working away at the jobs list, but nothing compared to last time. The last time we were out of the water the boat was where we bought her.  It was Texas and it was early 2013. We were at that frantic, exciting time of Impetuous' renovation where we felt very strongly that this was when we had to go and that Hurricane season was coming all too quickly.

Four years is a long time to spend behind the dull side of a paint brush, it was time for a sail; to reap the rewards we'd been working towards and to avoid the entrapment of the never ending project. There would have to be some things we could live with unfinished, undone, or untackled; for a bit. We'd do odd bits and bobs and maintenance as we went but next time we stopped for longer, we'd tackle the big jobs left over. No doubt there would be more jobs by then anyhow. So in our scrap book we wrote 'The New Zealand List'

We're delighted that we got this far without incident but the list grew as we found foibles with what we'd already done. Our waterline was way off; the kitchen tiles though beautiful at first, do not stand up to the rigours of salt water and keen cooks. Also having a sprayhood on this boat is a necessity keenly felt after the third wave has dumped into the galley and all over the chart table.

We'd learned an acute distrust of elderly stainless steel whilst still in Texas. This was only heightened as we met people along our way with various rigging and gear failures; stainless in a salty hot environment does not last as some would have us believe. We'd made new bronze chainplates all round after finding corrosion in our originals but had put off the bobstay and staysail fitting until now.

The bobstay was a particular concern having been encased in fibreglass some forty years ago. Its charged with holding up the mast and was unavailable for inspection. To give an idea of the forces involved, the wire that links this fitting to the bowsprit should be strong enough to suspend the boat from. Imagine that 13+ tons of Alajuela just suspended in space from one wire. One wire attached to a bit of rusty old stainless.

Then after we'd sent off the pattern we gave it a bit of a polish up and found this, the beginnings of trouble.

Job number one. The last few weeks have seen us set about learning a new skill; pattern making and getting the bobstay fitting cast. We have nicknamed it the ice breaker, which caused a little confusion on facebook. In our defence it is what would hit ice first and is certainly going to be strong, but we're heading back to the tropics for now.

New Zealand is a great place to be doing stuff like this. People have been very helpful and everything we've needed has been available. We've also been sorting out our starter motor, renovating the anchor locker, mending one of our water tanks, replacing the cutlass bearing, replacing the bearings in the rudder (which meant removing it). 

The list is by no means complete and plans are afoot for replacing the worktops, building a new staysail and a sprayhood, but once we've got the materials we need we can do these jobs somewhere else.  Very soon we will be sailing again.