Sunday, January 23, 2022

____________ MY OLD MATE SLIPSTREAM AND I HEAD SOUTH ____________

I found this photograph on the Zephyr Instagram site. I (on the right) am talking to a fellow Zepherite on the beach at Manly (A beach on the Whangaparoa Peninsula slightly north of Auckland New Zealand) while my yellow Zephyr 'Slipstream' looks on - on the occasion of the 2021 National contest.

This comment from the Instagram site sums up the spirit of sailing a Zephyr - and I say amen to all this:

Next month I head south again to Worser Bay Wellington for the 2022 National Zephyr Championships. I hope to improve on my placings at the other two Nationals I have raced in (60th Worser Bay 2018 and 46th Manly 2021). At 70 years of age a placing in the top half of the fleet will be very pleasing indeed.

What I like about this photo (taken in 2021 at the Nationals in Manly) is that my second hand $4000 home renovated Zephyr (195 in the photo) is ahead of 703 which is one of the new beautiful fiberglass Zephyrs that are now available costing north of $25,000. It's races like this that makes all the renovation blood, sweat and tears worthwhile! Of course it doesn't stop me thinking that a brand spanking new fiberglass model would be rather nice.

What the weather will be like at this years Nationals in Wellington is anybodies guess - but one thing we all know in New Zealand is that if it blows in Wellington - it BLOWS!

So shipmates I'll soon be hitching up the mellow yellow Slippy and heading south - can't wait.

Monday, November 22, 2021

________________________ SPRING IS SPRUNG ________________________

 Nest to the north of the jetty

'Spring is sprung, the grass is rizz, I wonder where the birdies is ? .......'

....... which is how the doggerel goes ............. and Christine answered the question when she came back from her walk at the Whangarei 'Loop Walk' to tell me about some beautiful little birds nesting on some old piles close to a jetty that juts out into the river from the walking path. There were three birds nesting on three different piles in the river, the closet bird defending her nest with loud squawks when I came too close. 

"The New Zealand fairy tern or tara-iti is a subspecies of the fairy tern endemic to New Zealand. It is New Zealand's rarest native breeding bird, with about 40 individuals left in the wild. It nests at four coastal locations between Whangarei and Auckland in the North Island."

Nest to the south of the jetty - (Te Matau ā Pohe - The Whangarei lifting bridge in the background)

Nest to the north of the jetty with the Hatea river in the background.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

________________ VERTUE XXXV AND KEVIN O'RIORDAN ________________

A painting of Vertue XXXV at the point where she is hit by the crest of a huge wave during a hurricane, was thrown onto her beams end and suffered considerable damage. The painting is by K.W. Rainbow, a well known marine artist and was a gift by the artist to Kevin O'Riordan. This painting and all other photographs on this posting have been supplied by Kevins grandson Alastair O'Riordan and remain his copyright.

A few years ago I posted about the Laurent Giles designed Vertue class yacht called 'Vertue XXXV' and the celebrated voyage of this boat written about by the boats skipper Humphrey Barton here:

The very capable crew on this voyage was Kevin O'Riordan who features strongly in the books narrative. Recently I received an email from Kevin O'Riordans grandson Alastair O'Riordan asking me if I would be interested in some photographs and a couple of historical recordings concerning this voyage. It is the information made available to me by Alastair that make up the substance of this blog posting.

The two recordings (below) are interesting. There is an immediacy that spans the years and shrinks the distance. The first is a NBC interview in New York shortly after arriving in America. The second are reminisces of Kevin O'Riordans earlier sailing years. Both are very interesting and informative for aficionados of Vertue design yachts and small boat sailing in general and Vertue XXXVs voyage in particular.

Recording - Kevin O'Riordan -  NBC interview in New York (above)

Recording - Kevin O'Riordan - Sailing Reminisces (above)

This is the telegram that was sent to Kevin O'Riordan by Humphrey Barton asking Kevin to join him in a trial cruise with the possibility of a crossing of the Atlantic from the UK to the USA.

Kevin O'Riordan was the navigator on the trip (Barton was skipper and cook) and this is the original chart that he used. The chart is older than I am. The plotting on the this piece of paper took place a few years before I was born - so that makes the chart over 70 years old. The blue track on the chart above the plotted daily position line is I think either a comparative rhumb line or 'great circle' route. 

An interesting piece of serendipity / syncronicity was shared to me by Alastair O'Riordan regarding his grandfathers full name [ Kevin Moran O'Riordan] in an email to me - ".............. amazingly the first boat they saw at New York was a tug the 'Kevin Moran' - his first names - and the business was run by a family connection hence his second name. When I was very young I couldn't understand why he got the Moran Tug News every quarter".  

Alastair sent me this photograph of Vertue XXXV leaving on her great voyage. It is exactly the same as the photograph in Bartons book, except that it is clearer and has Vertue XXXV on the starboard tack - in the book the boat is on the port tack - so one of the photographs is a reverse image! A small matter, but curious none the less.

I am a great fan of the Vertue class yacht, a small very capable little boat that has completed some remarkable voyages - including Cape Horn journeys. There are a number of books written by Vertue skippers and there is a swag of information on the internet.

I am also a great fan of the voyage of Vertue XXXV. This voyage takes its rightful place in the early sailing pantheon - a gutsy early post WW2 small boat voyage of high adventure including a battering from a ferocious hurricane - both boat and crew using great seamanship and determination to see the trip through to the end. A voyage without the modern aids of a liferaft, radio telephone, satellite navigation, chart plotters etc, etc - a simpler time where your life was in the hands of your own seamanship and a sound seaworthy little ship - as Vertue XXXV proved to be.

Viewing these photos and listening to the recordings of Kevin O'Riordans voice has been a wonderful extension to Bartons book. A book that I read when I was around 15 years of age - 55 years ago! There was an immediacy in listening to his voice that was uncanny. Thank you Alastair for your kindness in sharing these artifacts.

Friday, October 15, 2021

______________________ A JUNK NAMED 'FANTAIL' _____________________

Fantail with her new colour scheme

The Owen Woolley designed (circa 1970s), New Zealand built Raven is a whole lot of boat packed into 26 feet. Specs on the Raven here:

'Fantail' (above) is a Raven that was converted to Junk rig by Annie Hill, a holder of the esteemed Blue Water Medal and the author of a couple of well known books 'Sailing On A Small Income' and 'Brazil And Beyond'. 'Fantail' was sold a while ago to new owners but you can get more information about 'Fantail' (her conversion to Junk Rig etc) and Annie Hills current Whangarei built boat 'FanShi' here:

Video of 'Fantail' under her new ownership is here: 

The diagram below showing the comparison of the current junk rig with the original masthead sloop rig shows that in terms of  fore and aft 'working sails' there is not much loss of sail area. Of course what is lost in sail area is more than made up by handiness and simplicity. In the same manner as the gaff rig, the junk rig is powerful down wind.

I like the aesthetic of the simple raised deck, a design feature that provides strength to the structure and a roominess below that is common to raised deck boats of all sizes. When combined with the simple Junk rig the outcome is pleasing. 
Second hand Ravens go for fire sale prices at the moment (as do many of the older fiberglass yachts). A Raven make over and the construction of a simple, relatively much cheaper (home made) Junk rig would make a nice project. Hmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

_____________ LISTEN TO THE MAN - GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR ____________

So there I was sitting with my grandson doing some Covid Level 3 (he's in our 'bubble') school holiday come lock down babysitting. We had played about a thousand rounds of 'Uno' a kids card game, had a picture drawing competition (he won), built Lego ( I was assigned a crash test dummy kind of inspector role for all of the ingenious vehicles that he built) .......... and then while relaxing watching some Utube videos about Mars we found this photo during yet another Google - come Utube search for further videos about Mars.

This is a photo of that conqueror of gnarly astronautical exploits - Buzz Aldrin. He is older than me. He is 91 years old and is a 'Rocking On' pizzazz exemplar par excellence. He's a bit of an inspiration - When I am 91 years old I will post a photograph of myself in an appropriate 'Get Your Ass To' T-shirt of a nautical nature - Possibly - ' Get Your Ass On A Single Handed Voyage Around Cape Horn'. If I am capable of standing at 91 to get the photo taken, I will attempt my T-shirt pose with style and pizzazz.


Thursday, September 9, 2021

_____________ CHRIS BOUZAID AND RAINBOW 2 PODCAST ______________

This is Chris Bouzaids Rainbow 2 - One of New Zealands most famous, iconic and successful yachts.
Man and boat are firmly fixed in New Zealand yachting history. It is said that the music we listen to is the soundtrack of our life - but our 'soundtrack' to use the word as a metaphor is broader than music and for me as a sailor I remember this man and his boat as part of the background to my NZ sailing life.

This is the crew of Rainbow 2 - Chris Bouzaid is second from the left. This podcast (click below) will be of special interest to Kiwi yachties. I found it wonderful to listen to, a real trip down memory lane. It's quite long but well worth the listen.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

____________________ WESTERLY 22 TRANSFORMED ___________________

 I was so taken with this boat I have unscrupulously copied the photograph of it from Max's Blog here: 

The reason why (Along with the fact that I simply love the yawl rig) is because I am intrigued by the way a basic design ( The ubiquitous Westerly 22) can be  transformed simply by changing the rig. Changing from sloop to gaff yawl has introduced such a wodge of romance, balanced complexity and jauntiness into the mix that when I first saw this photograph on Max's Blog it became this weeks jaw dropping moment. In my opinion, adding an interesting and more complex rig to a small boat increases a boats gravitas and saltiness. This little boat looks eager and perky - ten out of ten to the skipper who was inspired to make the change.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

____________________________ MEDITATION ________________________

Unity of heart and mind speaks of the world as 
islands set in oceans and seas of wind whipped blue
Our deepest truth is found on voyages alone navigating the self 
among the scend of oceans breaking on headlands and reefs
Old truth tells us that to seek is to sail the horizon back to where we began
The voyage and the return are one, a circumnavigation of islands born of meanings call
  to find the heart of seeking eternally moored by the shore
 in the silence of our own harbour .
By - Alden Smith 2021 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

________________ A MAST IS NOT A MAST WHEN IT IS A ? ________________

Photo taken last season at Parua Bay Yacht Club

There should be two warning signs in this photograph - the warning about the slippery ramp in the foreground and another warning the skipper of the small yacht in the back ground that (s)he has no chance of holding the boat upright in any sort of breeze with a sail that matches the height of that mast! But of course shipmates ............. a mast is not a mast when it is a ? ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 

....... Yes, yes, yes, yes, I know, I know, but New Zealand is in the middle of a full on Level 4 Covid 19 Delta lock down thingie and I felt the need to post something whimsical, to sort of help the cosmic balance - whatever the F___ ___ ___   that means. There, you now have TWO words to guess.  

Posted by moi in my comedic role as head of the nautical branch of the Ministry of Silly Walks. Please send all prize money for guessing the two words to me promptly - thank you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


The Westsail 32 is one of my dreamships. 'Neverland' is a very nice example of this solid cruising yacht class which has its roots in the old Colin Archer double enders. I would love to own and sail one of these boats. This is a particularly well shot video accompanied by a couple of beautiful songs - especially the first one which begins at 2.55 minutes into the video, which is best watched on full screen - magical! 

Light comes down in a shimmering ray
Oh for the yearning in my days
I will stand before you as I pray
Take me up to a higher plane.

Blackened stump bleached by the sun
Oh for the yearning in my days
Reaching up to kingdom come
There will be no brighter day.

Blinding light flash off the sea
Oh god the northern shore
Each bend and curve to beckon me
Shake me to my very core.  (x2)

Pic Island arc in a perfect form
Oh for the yearning in my day
In the arms of the north I am reborn
There will be no brighter day

Give me blacks, give me blues
Oh for the whites and the yellow too
From them I'll blend the subtler hues
There will be no brighter day.

Where the lake goes on beyond my eyes
And the light goes on beyond my dreams
Where the spirit grows, it never dies, Where
the west wind blows and the Jack pine leans

Thursday, August 19, 2021

_________________________ T ' OTHER BIKE _________________________

Recently I posted (Scroll down a couple or seven postings) about my new Brompton folding bike. This (photo above) is my t'other bike which I have had for a number of years. I have recently had wider tyres with a more robust tread fitted. This change from narrow street tyres makes the bike more comfortable and capable on rougher bush tracks and rail trails. Although I use the Brompton early-ish every day for my daily exercise I sometimes like to stretch my legs further and do a longer ride. The above photo was taken on the first ride out on the new wide tyres. The performance was excellent and I was well pleased.

As I type this we (That is New Zealand) have entered a 7 day lock down (Auckland) and a 3 day lock down (The rest of NZ) as we now have an outbreak of the dangerous Delta variety of Covid 19. Biking, sailing etc is now on the back burner as we ride this virus out. Christine and I go for our second jab of the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday - what can I say? - Put on your mask, your common sense and 'Rock on,' is what I say.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

______ The Wind In The Willows And The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn ______

I originally posted this in Oct 2014. I had forgotten how much I like Van Morrison. He does have the propensity towards poor enunciation on occasion which has me scrambling for a google lyric search - but he's a genius and I really like this song.
"The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is the name of an enchanting chapter in the classic book "The Wind In The Willows written by A.A. Milne.

It is in this book from which this classic quote comes from (Ratty is speaking to Mole who he is introducing to the delights of his watery world........

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

But the chapter entitled "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is about a transcendent encounter and quite a proper subject in a book where 'Talking Animals' are proxies for us human beings and our lives.

I read 'The Wind In The Willows' when I was about 12 years of age, and again when I was an adult. I was enchanted by the book on both readings. C.S. Lewis said that he thought that the sign of a good childrens book was a book that both children and adults enjoyed - which would indeed be true for Lewis' 'Narnia Chronicles' and J.R.R. Tolkeins 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'.

This chapter was obviously the inspiration for this song written by Van Morrison.
"Piper At The Gates Of Dawn"

The coolness of the riverbank, and the whispering of the reeds
Daybreak is not so very far away

Enchanted and spellbound, in the silence they lingered
And rowed the boat as the light grew steadily strong
And the birds were silent, as they listened for the heavenly music
And the river played the song

The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn

The song dream happened and the cloven hoofed piper
Played in that holy ground where they felt the awe and wonder
And they all were unafraid of the great god Pan

And the wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn

When the vision vanished they heard a choir of birds singing
In the heavenly silence between the trance and the reeds
And they stood upon the lawn and listened to the silence

Of the wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn

It's the wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn
The wind in the willows and the piper at the gates of dawn

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

___________________________ ROCKING ON ___________________________

 Bedlam at the bottom buoy.
My definition of 'Rocking On' is to simply continue into tomorrow as best as I can, without of course repeating the mistakes of the past! - Some paths will be familiar, others will be a path less traveled. So here is a path well traveled - a screen shot from a video I found online of the heavy weather race during the 2021 Zephyr National Championships. Moi in 195. 
The caveat of course on living all these highways and by ways is having to deal with the impediments of getting older. My aim regarding sailing is to "Swallow the anchor" as the saying goes at about..... hmmmm 90 years old? Nah, bugger that... just keep going until a Viking funeral is in order.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

______________ HOW TERRIBLY STRANGE TO BE SEVENTY ______________

In 1968 Simon and Garfunkel released their 'Bookends' album. One of the songs on the album is a rather bleak little song about a couple of friends sitting like "bookends" on a park bench. The song is called 'Old Friends'. I disagree with the bleak portrait painted by the lyrics except for one line, which states  - "How terribly strange to be seventy". Yes indeed - I know, because yesterday I turned seventy. Bleak? "Rock on!" I say.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

__________________________ WINTER RACING _________________________

I raced my first winter race today - the third race in the 2021 winter series. The first race was called off because of stormy weather and I missed the second race because I had something else on in Auckland. But better late than never and there are still a few more winter races to go.

The main mission today was to try out my new C-Tech Industries produced carbon fibre sail battens - all 6 of them - they worked beautifully and are real keepers. I should have had a set a long time ago. The mains'l with its full length battens is now a whole lot easier to raise and lower. The battens pop back with the sail shape easily when tacking and the mains'l is setting really well. 

Getting the correct individual deflection for each of the six battens is a bit of the dark art and this set seems to have captured the correct incantations. The battens are also half the weight of the fiberglass set. They are worth the expense.

The forecast was for lightening, thunder, a deluge of rain and 8 - 15 knots of wind. What eventuated was enough wind (3 - 5 knots) to get three races in. The moment the racing was over the wind vanished and the rain began.

Treading my way out among the mooring boats on the way to the race course. The wind did pick up after this photo was taken and we had some enjoyable racing. I think I did ok - but are waiting for the mixed fleet handicap results. As always it was nice to be out on the water ------ Shipmates, tell that man in the yellow boat to pull the mains'l outhaul out and fix the set of the sail!!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

______________ COASTAL TRIP - TUTUKAKA TO WHANGAREI _____________

This is my friends David and Alices new yacht. Yesterday I crewed for them on a trip from Tutukaka to Whangarei. Their yacht will be hauled out for a scrub and other work by a Trav - Lift at Ray Roberts Marine.

Heading south in a variable 6 to 10 knot easterly wind with the Hen and Chickens islands in the distance. There was a big ground swell running which had been building for a week. My stomach didn't appreciate the cheeky magnitude of the easterly swells assertions and replied in a rather negative and unsociable way.

Having rounded Bream Head (astern in the distance) we sailed up Whangarei Harbour with the assistance of an incoming tide.

The two skippers enjoying their new boat.

The sun was setting on this cold winters day, but each of us were well wrapped up.

Close to our waiting berth we passed this large super yacht that is owned by some multi billionaire. The masts are so tall that as she passed by Onerahi airport (which borders the Hatea River at the head of Whangarei harbour with the river or harbour at either end of the runway) all flights were delayed as she went past. It is a moot point I guess as to whether the mast heights were a hazard, but they would certainly be a distraction (especially if the pilot was a yachty!).

Our magnificent local lifting bridge obliges as we slip through. I ride over this bridge almost every day on my folding bike in the course of my daily exercise - so I waved to my old friend Mr Bridge as we passed.

Safely moored and job completed - and well timed as well, for as we off loaded onto the pontoon the rain started to fall and chased us to the waiting car - the end of a great day on the water.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Shipmates, this is Kawakawa, Northland, New Zealand - Where the Kawakawa to Opua bicycle rail trail begins. When the trains are operating they can be seen troundling down the middle of the main street.
The skipper of the Brompton folding bike. Some say that he shouldn't be steering a conversation let alone a bicycle - but my lips are sealed.

The rail trail sometimes runs parallel to the old tracks but most often (as in the above photo) follows the old rail way lines. Some times the railway lines are buried underneath the track, sometimes they have been completely removed. Railway embankments are usually built quite high giving good views of the  surrounding country.                                                                                              

 On the right is the only rail tunnel on the trail. It was closed because of falling bricks. There was a detour to the left over the hill.
This long section of bridge crossed wetlands that surrounded the picturesque upper reaches of the Kawakawa river.

A team of amateur locomotive restorers run their train from Kawakawa and back to this small station during the holiday season.

In parts the trail runs alongside the upper reaches of the Kawakawa river. This river  leads to Opua at the head waters of the Bay of Islands. 

The first of the two main folds of the Brompton folding bike is useful as a bike stand.

Moored boats began to appear as the river widened and we (Brompty and me) approached Opua.

After a relaxed ride we arrived at Opua. It took an hour of reasonably easy riding to get there. Total return time including a lunch break was 2 1/2 hours. After lunch I hopped back on Brompty and returned to Kawakawa. A great first ride on my new bike. Looking forward to the next trip.

Bike Suitability Review: Although the Brompton took this rail trail ride in its stride and performed well it was obvious that a ride on a bike with bigger wheels (The Brompton has 16 inch wheels) on this rail trail would have been more comfortable. The small wheel diameter means that when riding on anything other than smooth urban streets and pathways any trail irregularities are transmitted directly to the rider. The laws of physics means that bigger wheel diameters absorb shocks better. Although I intend to use the Brompton again from time to time on selected rougher tracks my overall plan is to use the Brompton more as my dedicated city street and city bike path exploring (So easy to fold and pack when going away on trips in the car) and use my big trail bike for the more rural off road rail trail type rides. This of course means mounting the bike rack on my tow bar when using the full size bike and all the faffing around that this involves but it's the horses for courses solution. When holidaying the choice of two types of bikes to use depending on the terrain makes a lot of sense. Having said all that one of my considerations is that my Brompton is brand new, expensive and at this stage I don't want to risk wrecking the bike. When the shine wears off the bike you may find me boulder hopping and ski jumping Brompty all over the place.

And....  you only need to go on UTube to find many dedicated Brompton fans who have ridden the Brompton almost everywhere on all sorts of different surfaces. Many Brompton owners ride all over the UK and Europe and one guy has a Utube video showing his ride from the African coast to Morocco. 

Anyway I have to go - my long awaited book from the Book Depository has finally arrived from the UK - its title? "BROMPTON BICYCLE by David Henshaw 3rd Edition" and I see on page 157 a photograph of someone towing a sailing dinghy (about the same size as my Zephyr yacht) with a Brompton........ hmmmmm.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

_____________ I COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF _____________

Today I did two good, good things. First I went for a sail, crewing for my good friend Don on his Flying Fifteen yacht. We did a couple of club races and as usual the Flying 15 punched well above it's weight. We won both races on handicap. This included beating over the line boats much bigger, faster and newer than a Flying Fifteen - these are boats that actually give us time on handicap and we beat them boat for boat-  AWESOME! Of course we sail the boat well but the way this little boat can keep up with and on occasion beat larger boats, is a testament to the boats 70 year old design - Thank you Mr Uffa Fox.

The second activity that I have just completed about 30 minutes ago was to go for a night ride (a couple of loops of the road around where I live). I don't usually ride at night, but this ride was to try out a couple of lights I have bought for my Brompton Folding bike (A headlight and a tail light). Both lights have multi light settings (various flashing options etc) and it was these functions that I tested especially the headlight which on full non flashing mode lights my way on the road excellently. 

It's an overused word and a cliche but I'm going to use it again - The Brompton Folding bike is AWESOME. It's so easy to use that it makes my daily cycling exercise very easily accessible and hassle free - and use it every day, I have, since I purchased it.

Above is a Utube Review of the Brompton by Everyday Cycling. There are a large number of reviews and stories of biking adventures on Bromptons but in terms of summing up the virtues of this bike, this review is one of the best - I couldn't have said it better myself.

Friday, April 30, 2021

______________________ EMAIL TO MY DAUGHTER _____________________


 Moi posing with my new 'Flame Red' Brompton folding bike with my feet resplendent in my "Digital Aqua' Crocs.

Photo Credit: Your Mum

Hi Charlotte,

Please find attached a couple of photos of me with my new awesome little Brompton Folding bicycle. I bought it in Auckland a couple of days ago. They are an iconic piece of excellence in British engineering.

Although they are quite expensive, that is VERY expensive, I think they are worth every cent and so easy to use and fold up and put away afterwards.

I have just gone for my first ride, that is my first ZOOM, around the town basin 'loop walk' with a side trip to the Whangarei Yacht Club.

Brompton owners say that owning and riding a Brompton puts a smile on their face - and I can assure you that this is true. In fact I think doctors should write "One Brompton Bike" on the medical prescriptions of all unhappy and depressed individuals - owning and riding this bike would be a sure fire cure.

The colour of the bike is officially 'Flame Red' but it looks to me more of a 'Lacquered Bronze' colour. Anyway with my flame red lacquered bronze Brompton paired with my new (can you believe it?) "Digital Aqua" coloured Crocs, I must say I cut quite a vivid picture of zippy Brompton competence around the environs of the Whangarei Town Basin - (Even if I do say so myself, he said modestly).

Lots of love - Dad XXXX
Photo Credit: Your Mum
 This guy gives a great biased take on making the choice to purchase the iconic Brompton folding bicycle. Among his Brompton musings is a number of claims that are fully affective rather than logical and in doing so rests my case for me (and him).


Monday, April 12, 2021


With two National contests under our belts 'Slipstream' and I are now old mates in all of this.

Here are some screen shots (with unfortunately the lower image quality) from the Zephyr Owners Association website of the 2021 Nationals held at the Manly Sailing Club over the last 4 days. My Zephyr 'Slipstream' 195 can be seen (on the right) in the above photo at the start of one of the 3 races that were held on the first day in heavy wind conditions (18 - 20 knots with gusts up to 30 knots).

This screen shot is taken from a video on the website and shows moi in deep mains'l contemplation mood - not that it helped much. 

The only two yellow boats in the fleet - to leeward of me is Zephyr 200 'Big Bird' from Wellington.

                                        There were always obstacles at the leeward mark.

Photo of the contest. Tony Millar wipes out in the heavy weather race.

Preparing to gybe - always a game of Russian roulette.

On a big wind day racing off downwind is the most exciting point of sailing.

My cunning plan was to slay the fleet with my secret weapon which was a set of home made wooden sail battens. They worked well in the survival conditions of the first days racing but unfortunately were a disaster on the second light air days racing.

Day One - 20 knot north easterly wind, gusting 25 - 30 knots, with a big sea running. I reveled in these conditions and was in overall 34th place out of 70 boats after 3 races. I only capsized once (losing one place as a result). The windward legs were exhausting - the awesome downwind rides were thrilling and slightly unnerving.

Day Two - 25 - 35 knot NE wind - sailing canceled for the day.

Day Three - Light, patchy wind which never got above about 4 knots. Very shifty with big holes in the breeze. My battens and my crap sailing skills let me down. Big shifts meant that if you picked the wrong side of the course in the early windward stages you lost big time. My position dropped to 46th overall.

Day Four - Seafog, no wind. Racing cancelled - prize giving in the afternoon.

I am pleased and positive about a few things:

- I was determined to improve on my last Zephyr Nationals result (60th out of 73 entrants) at Worser Bay in Wellington in 2018. My over all position this time was 46th out of 70 entrants), a reasonable improvement.

- In the Masters section of the competition (Ages 60 - 69years) I was placed 5th out of 12 old buggers - so that was a positive result.

- I learnt a great deal, talked to a lot of interesting and talented sailors about sailing in general and tuning Zephyrs in particular, gaining a lot of new insights to try out over the next 12 months.

- Despite only two race days I enjoyed the sailing immensely (especially the first day) and are determined to do better again next year when the Nationals return to Worser Bay in Wellington - I'll be there.