Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Sunday, June 27, 2021
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
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.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
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.
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.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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.
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
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
Photo Credit: Your Mum
Monday, April 12, 2021
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.
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.
Friday, October 23, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
The link below takes you to a training regime for 49'ners that is used by a couple of members of the Pigeon Bay Boating Club on Banks Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand.
Why the crew is wearing white underpants is anyones guess.
the link below and don't forget to switch the sound on (bottom right)
to get the combined technicolour and stereophonic effect.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Some may think that painting a boat yellow is somewhat counter intuitive and some what un-nautical. Classic white, various shades of blue or grey, and black for work boats is more the traditional norm and with the modern mass production of fiberglass boats, white hulls have become pretty ubiquitous.
One day while I was restoring my Zephyr and toying with the idea of painting the boat yellow I heard on the National NZ concert programme the announcer (when introducing the next piece of music) say that whenever he hears a Bassoon sonata or concerto he is convinced that the Bassoon is smiling!
That's how I feel about yellow - it's a colour that is always smiling.
So now I have a yellow boat. The colour yellow is happy and bright and positive and cheerful and reminds me of the sun and summer. It puts a smile on my face.
To date the colour record of sailing boats I have either built, purchased or restored in both timber and fiberglass has been:
Blue - NZ 'P' Class "Panic"
Red - NZ 'P' Class "Elusive"
Red - OK Dinghy "Okere"
Blue, Grey, White - 30' Yacht "Mariner"s various colour iterations.
White - Restored NZ 'P' Class "Dart"
White - Restored NZ Starling Class (Sold before I could decide on a name).
Black - Restored fiberglass clinker sailing dinghy "Scout"
White - Laser "Echo"
Yellow - Restored NZ Zephyr Class "Slipstream"
Other boats have included various yacht tenders (all white) a blue sea kayak and yellow and white inflatable dinghies.
At the moment I own three sailing dinghies, a 30' yacht and it's dinghy tender - Five boats which is quite enough boats to be going on with. If I had more sense I would get rid of three of these especially as I am close to beginning a new build (watch this space).