Monday, May 20, 2024

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> SAILING ON >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 Sailing my OK 563

My OK Dinghy has been repaired for a while now and I am back sailing - but the drama continued - read on ............

.............Not long after getting the boat fixed the tow bar on my car collapsed as I arrived home when towing the boat. If it had collapsed on the highway there could have been a nasty accident. I now have a new and much stronger towbar and the wheels on the trailer have been moved forwards to obtain better weight balance. After the towbar collapsed without any injury to any road users I counted myself pretty lucky, so following tradition I immediately went out and bought a Lotto ticket - alas my luck didn't extend that far. Never mind, I am very grateful for serendipity falling where it did in the first instance!

This photo was taken yesterday at the OYC combined OK / Flying 15 Regatta weekend. Great event.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

>>>>>>>>>>> A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS >>>>>>>>>>>

Albi the Laser sailor insisted he take a photograph of me beside my damaged boat. I was feeling a bit glum at the time which is a polite way of saying I was really, really fucked off. The sense of an historical photographic imperative that overcame him at the time has I guess preserved the moment and made it available for this blog post, so thanks Albi.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< A CERTAIN IRONY >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My OK Dinghy was rammed on the start line by a small keel boat. The collision was an event that (To quote C. S. Lewis)  " came like lightening out of a clear blue sky". 

But first a bit of background before I describe the repair and explain the irony.

This, shipmates is my OK Dinghy on its road trailer showing the first version of the 'stone guard'. The purpose of the stone guard is to protect the hull from stones and general road detritus. 

This is the second version of the stone guard, which is simply the first version with an extension that  gives protection to the whole hull. So far its protective purpose has worked very well and also provides a more stream lined towing experience.

This is a sample picture of a small keelboat called a 'Flying Fifteen' at speed. When a Local Flying 15  hit my OK Dinghy on the start line a few weeks ago it wasn't going much slower than the boat shown in the photograph. This, below, is the result of the collision.........................

The situation was a classic case of barging at the start line. The F15 skipper did have enough time to bail out before the collision, but in the heat of the start line battle chose to risk it. When he realized that his maneuver wasn't going to work, it was too late. There was a loud bang resulting in my boat becoming impaled by the bow of the F15. Suddenly, I was looking at about a metre of his boats bow protruding into my cockpit. As I grabbed the F15s bow and tried to push it back out of the cockpit the race officer on the start boat next to me (I had got a good starboard tack start at the windward side of the line right next to the start boat) said "You're lucky he hit you in the cockpit, any other part of the boat would mean taking the deck off to fix the hole" - - - at this point a very loud and emphatic voice in my head shouted to me, "I don't feel very F*^%#King Lucky!!!!!

Being a good boat builder and restorer myself, I could have repaired the boat. But when my good friend Don, a boat builder and restorer of the Stradivarius Violin quality offered to do the woodwork part of the repair, I accepted. My part of the repair would be the fairing and painting bit.

In the above photograph you can see that a 'picture frame' has been glued on the inside of the cockpit. This provides a rebate effect into which a panel of plywood is inserted and glued.

Before going ahead with the paint job I got the repair looked at by a professional spray painter with the idea that (on second thoughts) I might employ him to do the job. In the end the cost was a bit prohibitive so I decided to do the job myself. Four coats of 'Durapox' later, a first sand with 240 grit, a second with 320, a final with 1200 grit and I was ready to go sailing last weekend at the OYC Champs. 

Job completed and ready for sailing. I am pleased with the colour matching which is a function I guess of the consistent application of the paints formula during the manufacturing process. This is a certainty that cannot always be relied on between different batches of paint of the same colour - Durapox paint (Made by Resene Paints in NZ) seems to be pretty consistent as the original painting was completed in circa 2017.

I am now waiting a couple of weeks for the 'Two Pot' epoxy paint to harden completely. When hard, I will cut the surface with a good quality cutting compound before doing a final polish. I am glad I did the paint myself as I learned a lot about using 'Durapox', about colour matching and painting the tricky transition zone between the old and the new - all things that will no doubt come in useful in the future. 

Durapox is a bit of a wonder paint used by high performance boats including the Americas Cup boats. It's an all in one primer, undercoat and finishing coat. The final cut and polish gives the surface a high quality smooth shiny finish that is hard to distinguish from a fiberglass gel - coat finish.

It is ironic that I went to all the trouble to extend the protection on the road trailer only to be 'T - Boned' on the water!! Shipmates - such is the life of the sailor.

Finally, an enormous thank you to Don - you're a legend.


Sunday, August 27, 2023

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE FULL MONTY >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Even in pre - leaking days, the old work horse was showing signs of wear and tear. At this point I had already glass taped the fore and aft buoyancy tanks to the hull where they were leaking. Later on, being a light weight dinghy the flexing that occurred every time I stepped onto the floor of the dinghy caused a couple of splits in the fiberglass hull and she began to leak a bit - and then to leak badly.

To fix the leaking and strengthen the hull I fibreglassed the outside up to the top two clinker planks and the inside to a slightly less height. This has substantially strengthened and stiffened the hull.

I then painted the dinghy with a two pot paint system and installed a new plastic rubbing strake. I also taped out a large area of the dinghy floor and painted it with non-skid paint.

Two coats of anti-fouling paint completed the job.

Moored back at the floating pontoon she is all ready to continue her job as tender to the good ship 'Mariner' and work mate to this skipper, who is glad that his feet aren't going to get wet, and gear isn't going to get soaked when rowing out to his boat. Job done.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

===================== I HAVE BEEN THINKING =====================

At the present time my exercise regime consists of Sailing (My OK Dinghy) and Cycling (Folding Brompton and my Road/Trail bike). I would like to have another string to my bow for the sake of variety and fun. So I have been thinking about building a row boat. The boat I have in mind is a classic dory design - Phil Bolgers 15 foot 'Gloucester Gull' Dory, a most beautiful example of the type. 

The action of rowing is one of  rhythmic simplicity and long rows have an attractive meditative quality to them. Another attraction is that the rowing is done in the open air and on the water - a place that I like to be. Launching and retrieving a rowboat will be relatively simple compared to the more complex task of rigging and de-rigging my OK Dinghy and this dory will fit easily on my road trailer.

A Winter build of this Gloucester Gull dory will mean an additional form of exercise and a nice rowboat. I think it's going to be a good Summer.

Friday, July 28, 2023

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< CURRENT PROJECTS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well shipmates, I haven't blogged for a while but I have been busy, busy, busy - such is the life of the retired sailor. 

This photo (above) shows one of the projects I have been working on, which is a stone guard for my OK Dinghys' road trailer. The OK Dinghy Association has a 'Traveller Series' which I am going to participate in, which will require towing my OK Dinghy around the country. So it is important that the boat gets protected from the general road detritus and any large projectiles that may get thrown up by passing vehicles. 

I am pleased how this project has turned out. It has added a little bit of weight to the road trailer (the weight of one sheet of plywood, glue, screws and a couple of planks of wood) but any added weight has been offset by the more streamlined profile of the stone guard.

The other project that I have had on the go is on the right of the photo - My yacht 'Mariners' dinghy. This old dinghy, which lives year in and year out moored to a floating pontoon in the Hatea River had developed some splits in the hull and was always full of water whenever I went down to the river to row out to 'Mariner'. 

I have given the dinghy the 'full Monty' - 6oz fiberglass cloth on the floor area of the dinghy on both sides of the hull to strengthen it up - a full, all over, 'two pot' paint system and a new rubbing strake. The dinghy is looking flash and the 'full Monty' should last for many years to come.

'Mariner' is also been having some TLC - A complete clean inside and out, a new toilet, new stove, new running rigging, new spray dodger and other small upgrades and repairs. I am going to install the new spray dodger after I have completed a hull and decks repaint. This will be completed when she is hauled out for the annual antifouling paint when the weather gets a bit warmer - probably Nov - December.

When 'Mariner' has had her refit I will probably put her on the market and sell her. A bit of a wrench for sure but I have come full circle in terms of sailing and are presently enjoying the small boat sailing of my youth - hence the OK Dinghy sitting on a road trailer in my carport, who every time I pass her in the morning on the way to get the newspaper out of the letter box talks to me, saying, "time for a sail, you old bugger ...... don't forget you are in your 70s now and the clock is ticking........ "

Monday, February 13, 2023

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< HAMMERED >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you look just below the eye of the storm and then a little to the left you will see a small green circle which marks the city of Whangarei where I have resided since 1974. I have lived through some big storms since the 1970's here in the north - but this one is the biggest yet. We haven't seen a revolving storm that is half the size of Australia - ever. 

As I type this every rain drop from a torrential sky is bloated to swimming pool size and the howling wind is blowing dogs off chains. We have been enduring this for two days now. 

Worst of all - tomorrows sailing at the Onerahi Yacht Club will no doubt be cancelled because of the storm force winds. (Speaking existentially, this is hard stuff to endure for a skipper with a new OK Dinghy who wears socks festooned with pictures of boats and who wants to strut his sailing stuff ). 

The Australians have a whimsical song, the first line of which is: "Tie me kangaroo down sport, tie me kangaroo down ............." 

In Northland we have a serious song, one that goes like this: Tie me F---ing house down Bro, tie me F---ing house down ............. 

Today the Met office forecast is that the worst is yet to come - a tsunami of water from the sky and 60 - 70 knot winds - yikes!!

The South Island of New Zealand (Te Wai Pounamu) is at the lower left of the photograph. This is one huge Tropical Cyclone.

Monday, October 24, 2022

____________________ THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS _____________________

Well shipmates, if you are familiar with the writings of Francis B Cooke, Albert Strange, George Holmes, Maurice Griffiths and his 'LoneGulls', Charles Stock and his  boat 'Shoal Waters' and that whole pantheon of small boat sailors who sail in thin water then you will be familiar with Erskine Childers and his classic book 'The Riddle of the Sands' published in 1900. My first reading of Childers book must have been 50 years ago, yikes!!

I pulled this book down from my shelf a few days ago and began reading it again for the third time. It's attraction is not simply that it is a very well written, riveting, ripping yarn, it is also because it captures the ambience and flavour of small boat sailing in shoal waters in a compelling and believable way - a fact that is no surprise considering the author Erskine Childers was a small boat sailor of wide experience who had spent some time sailing around the channels and sand banks of the German (East) Frisian Islands which is the setting for the book. 

When I was well into my third reading I remembered that a film had been made based on the book which I had watched many decades ago. Happily I found the film on UTube here: 

In the film some liberties have been taken with the original plot which is often the case when books get dramatised in films. But when coupled with reading the book I found it informative and complementary. 

The yacht 'Dulcibella' is described in the book as a converted double ended life boat conversion with a round counter stern added. A very good authentic life boat conversion reconstruction of the yacht 'Dulcibella' was built for the film. Apparently the only thing inside this reconstruction was a large Mercedes diesel engine (the interior boat filming was done in an off boat studio set). Of course none of this is obvious in the film and I enjoyed the many sailing scenes which helped describe the mood of the sands and channels where the adventure unfolds.

I highly recommend the Book and the Movie - but if I had to choose only one - the book wins outright.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

_______________________ ROLL ON SUMMER _______________________

New Zealand has been having a pretty rugged time with the weather this winter with the blue skies and fair winds of summer being only a distant memory. Having completed the last of the infrequent winter racing series a couple of weekends ago I can't wait for Summer and the new season to begin.

I found these two end of summer 2022 photos of sailing at Parua Bay on the WCC site. This is probably the last time I sailed my Zephyr before she was sold and I purchased an OK Dinghy.

The man in the stripy shirt is Mike. He is standing in front of his blue OK Dinghy, one of four (including my own new boat) OK dinghies that are now racing in Northland.

I am packing up 'Slipstream' my yellow Zephyr for the last time before she goes onto the road trailer on the right. It was a bit of a wrench selling 'Slipstream', especially after spending such a lot of time doing an extensive renovation and rebuild but I am more than happy with my awesome new boat (see the post below).

Roll on Summer, I say.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

_________________________ COMPLETELY OK _________________________

 This internet photo shows an OK Dinghy that is pretty much identical to my new boat in colour and setup.

Well shipmates. This season, I ended up being the only Zephyr sailing dinghy sailor in Northland. One of the two other Zephyrs I have been racing against got sold, the other is on the market. So I had been sailing pretty much all season in a mixed fleet and got fed up with the lack of competition. So I went out and bought myself an OK Dinghy. Four reasons:

1 - There are three other OK Dinghies in Northland to race against. Doesn't sound like a big fleet, but it's much better competition and more fun than racing in a mixed handicap fleet.

2 - The OK Dinghy was the second boat I owned. I graduated from my 7 foot long NZ 'P Class' yacht straight into an OK Dinghy at 16 years of age. My OK was KZ 29 - with a bright red hull, varnished deck and wooden spars. So the OK is a boat I know well.

3 - Despite my delight in owning a beautiful, recently renovated and well sorted Zephyr the OK Dinghy has always been able to turn my head - all that was required was a new context to provide a reason to change.

4 - The OK Dinghy is a bigger, more powerful and challenging boat to sail. It has over 20 square feet more sail area and requires a bit of specialist knowledge and nuanced skills to get the best out the boat. Skills that I will have to relearn. The big bendy rig requires de-powering as the breeze builds and can be a real handful downwind in big winds. 

My new boat - NZL 563 is a Dan Leech hull 'tweak' of the original Knud Olsen* design. (There are various versions of the OK that have been designed over the years, all within the tolerances of the original design measurement parameters). She is built in plywood, is a light boat (with corrector weights to bring the hull up to the minimum class weight), has a carbon fibre mast, rudder and centerboard and is well set up with a couple of good sails - one, a North brand sail well matched to the masts bend characteristics. 

[* The OK gets its name from the reversal of the OKs designer Knud Olsens initials.]

My first foray into battle with my new OK dinghy was a couple of weeks ago in the last of the OYC twilight series. I managed to beat the other two OK dinghies boat for boat and was first boat home in the fleets last race beating all the Lasers home which was particularly pleasing. 

I love competing and learning how to get small boats sailing fast. The OK Dinghy provides a great challenge and will take a lot of practise and learning on my part to get the best out of boat and myself.

Getting the best out of the boat is not executed by belting oneself on the head twice on the very first sail, once when tacking and once when gybing in high winds - a belt from the mainsail boom that required a dozen stitches to the head - but that's another story. Suffice to say, yesterday I became the proud owner of a bright blue well padded sailing helmet.

Opening day 1967 at the Pleasant Point Yacht Club, Christchurch, New Zealand. I am sailing my first OK Dinghy KZ 29.

This excellent publication edited by Robert Deaves is of particular use as the section on technique has advice written by a range of OK Dinghy sailors regarding tuning the rig and sailing the boat in a range of conditions. A similar publication called 'Finnatics' also edited by Robert Deaves focuses on the Olympic Finn. This book is also of great use as the Finn rig is simply a larger edition of the Ok Dinghy rig.

Thursday, January 27, 2022



As the 2022 Zephyr Nationals have been cancelled the consolation prize for us Zephyrites who were rearing to go to Wellington for the Nationals is to watch last years video featuring some of the sailing highlights. I'll watch and see if I can see myself wallowing around in my boat 'Slipstream' 195 (That's the yellow boat with the old bugger still learning how to sail). Roll on next year - as the 2023 Nationals will be held at the same place as this years cancelled sailing - Worser Bay, Wellington.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


  The 2022 Zephyr Nationals at Worser Bay in Wellingon have been cancelled - such is life in a world wide plague.

Hello All,

Unfortunately I am sending this email to all Zephyr contestants to let you all know that we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel the upcoming 2022 Zephyr National Champs planned at Worser Bay 3-6 Feb and that we will be rescheduling the next Zephyr national champs at WBBC for a similar time in 2023 (still TBC).

The key factors driving this decision have been:

  • Our expected event attendance numbers, including sailors, support people and our club volunteers, would likely exceed the maximum 100 person limit for events operating under My Vaccine Pass requirements for the Red level, so this event would be pushing the boundaries of the guidelines in the protection framework, even if overall numbers dropped below 100 for the event.
  • Omicron is the most highly contagious variant of Covid-19 so far and the NZ Government have warned that they expect this variant to infect many more people and spread far more quickly than previous variants, as people infected with Omicron often have low level symptoms or are asymptomatic at the initial infection stages, which can also be difficult to detect through early testing. The Govt has signalled that over the next few weeks we could expect several hundreds or even thousands of new community transmitted infections per day.
  • A number of our key volunteers have also communicated their concerns about being involved in such a large event operating 2 weeks into the Covid Red level, due to the risks and uncertainty about potentially unaware infected participants that may also be attending the event.

I do understand that this must be very disappointing news for those of you who have registered and looking forward to sailing at these championships, as well as for many of our organising committee members who have done a lot of great work towards the planning of this regatta.  But I do strongly feel that managing the impending risks to the health and safety of our sailors and volunteers is the highest priority in this situation. I do hope you understand this too.  It certainly has been a tough decision to make.

I will be meeting with our organising committee this week to further work through the impacts of this cancellation and to also look at how we can refund as much of the registration and dinner fees as possible, so I will be in touch again soon with more information as it becomes available.

Best Regards

John Kliffen

WZOA President and 2022 Organising Committee Chairman


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

_____________________ GOOD ON YA NEW ZEALAND ____________________

I am very disappointed about the cancellation of this years Zephyr Yacht Nationals not only because I will miss the sailing and racing and all that that means, but also because I was all set to stay and have a catch up with an old friend in Wellington. Having said that, broadly speaking I support the actions of the organisers of the event, Wellingtons'  Worser Bay Yacht Club. I support the clubs decision because they in turn are falling in line with government requirements which I also support. Why? :

If you extrapolate the UKs Covid death toll to New Zealands population, we would have had nearly 15,000 deaths from Covid, instead of the 54 deaths that we have had by following strict regulations and protocols.

If you extrapolate NZs death toll to UKs population the UK would have had only 670 deaths not the 176,000 that they have had. In a similar manner the USA would only have had around 5000 deaths instead of their grim toll of 800,000.

The reason for the lower toll in New Zealand are complex including the fact that there has been a delayed pandemic effect due to our distance from the rest of the world which has enabled NZ to learn from the rest of the worlds experience. Lock downs have been effective because of a high level of compliance which has given breathing space to get high vaccination levels established (well over 90%). The key elements in all of this has been common sense health measures - wear a mask, get vaccinated and avoid large gatherings. None of this is draconian - and I support all of this. We are at war.

ALSO - I want to live long enough to win the Zephyr Nationals. I was 60th in 2018 and 46th in 2021. By my calculations, if this trend continues, I will be winning the contest in 2081 when I am 130 years old - reason enough to battle a plague and stay alive for.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

____________ MY OLD MATE SLIPSTREAM AND I HEAD SOUTH ____________

I found this photograph on the Zephyr Instagram site. I (on the left) 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.