Friday, October 21, 2016

_____________________________ MARINER ____________________________

 Mariner at speed, full mains'l and No 1 working jib.

A couple of days before the recent delivery trip of Davids yacht 'Chez Nous' I rowed out to Mariner and gathered together some items for an emergency 'Grab Bag'. She looked rather neglected and in need of a good clean. The fast rugged sail from Auckland to Tutukaka bought back a lot of memories and has inspired me to make a start on the required work that she needs earlier than I had planned. So the next few postings will be about the clean up and decisions regarding getting her ship shape for the summer.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

______________________ MARINER'S DINGHY (10) _______________________

The side seats and the rowlock blocks have all been fitted, glued and screwed.
The G - clamps and timbers are the beginnings of the centreboard case.

To do list: 

Centreboard case 
Mast step
Fit floorboards 
Tiller, rudder and centreboard
Mast, boom, gaff, sail

Monday, October 17, 2016

_________________________ Delivery Trip (2) ___________________________

West Haven Marina in Auckland and loading up Davids "Whiting 29" sloop 'Chez Nous' for the delivery trip to Tutukaka, approximately 100 nautical miles north of Auckland NZ.

The three likely lads. From the left - Rama, David and moi. I forget what we were laughing about but the photo is a good symbol of a happy trip.

Even on a grey, rainy late Autumn day there is always something out and about on the Waitamata harbour. This is the Auckland Maritime Museums scow 'Ted Ashby' out on a jaunt.

Hard on the wind heading towards Tiri Passage on the way to our first stop, Kawau Island. It was cold and rainy with poor visibility, the wind Westerly slowly turning during the day to NW at  25 knots.

As we fiddled around trying to get the electronic speedo to work and commenting on the underwater impeller - sender unit etc the speedo suddenly came to life. Rama said something to the effect that ' A dolphin must have fixed it' - a curious thing to say I guess - but, right after the word "it" (I kid you not) a dolphin suddenly surfaced briefly right beside the boat. It was so close you could have reached out and touched it. I wasn't quick enough to get a photo of it, but I did get this photo of the pod of dolphins accompanying our speedometer fixer. I find these kinds of coincidences very intriguing.

First stop, Bon Accord Harbour on Kawau Island. We had a restful night in this quiet little bay and started north the next morning. We were waiting for the predicted SW wind, a favourable wind that  would give us a fast trip north. We left not knowing exactly what the wind direction would be, as it was hard to tell in our sheltered anchorage. The forecast was for a Nor' westerly which might have meant we could lay up the coast, putting in a few tacks as we went. When we poked our noses out into the big blue sea we were met with a 35 knot Northerly right on the nose combined with a big left over swell from the NE. After bashing and banging around for about an hour I suggested to David that we go back to Kawau and wait overnight for the predicted SW winds, which we did.

The camaraderie that night included playing cards, drinking and talking bollocks; pretty familiar, traditional blokey fare - nothing excessive, but somehow, something that is at the heart of things.

The next day we left for the north with the South Westerly filling in with a vengeance. The lesson to be learned is that it is always best to be prudent and wait out bad conditions if you can. In the old great days of sail, coastal sailing vessels could be seen en mass, at anchor, awaiting a fair wind. To do so is common sense and good seamanship.

The SW fair wind that we patiently waited for meant that we could sail most of the day with the sheets eased a bit and that we were able to sail the whole distance without tacking at all.

'Chez Nous' has a fractional rig with a large mains'l. As the wind increased we took in three reefs. This reduced the sail area by about 20 - 30% and moved the centre of effort forwards making her easier on the helm. Taranga Island slips past. This Island is also known as "The Hen" being the biggest Island in this group named 'The Hen and Chickens'.

Bream Head, marking the entrance to Whangarei Harbour comes into view. Our destination Tutukaka on the horizon.

The speedo spent most of its time registering between 7 and 7. 5 knots for the duration of the trip.

If you look carefully in the foreground of the above photo just behind the large tanker you will see one of two small jet skis that passed us going south at a great rate of knots. One of the great constants in life is that no matter where you go you will always run across mad bastards. That's not a condemnation of their behaviour, rather it's an accurate description of it.

This was the only other yacht we saw. She's looked about 50 feet long and was tracking well with a reefed main and a small jib.

The familiar and distinctive ' Three Gables' of the Tutukawa headland.

The entrance to the Tutukawa marina. David lives in the apartment complex in the background, so his new boat is nice and handy.

"Home is the sailor, home from the sea" - 'Chez Nous' safely delivered to her new place of residence - job done.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

_________________________ DELIVERY TRIP _________________________

 Mains'l well reefed as Sail Rock with Taranga Island to port slide past - three quarters of the distance completed.

Today I arrived back from a hair raising (and spray drenched) three day delivery trip from Auckland to Tutukaka in Northland New Zealand. I was crewing for my good mate David who is now the proud owner of a Paul Whiting designed 'Whiting 29' class sloop. It was an interesting and sobering experience (despite a bottle of rum etc that was consumed). More of the trip on my next posting.............................

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

___________________ SORTING THE WORKBENCH (4) ___________________

I thought I had it sorted ............................

I have a couple of comprehensive, beautifully published books about workbenches.  I am aware that to some people books such as these would be as interesting as books about grain silos, but there you are. Compared to my rudimentary construction the benches featured in these books look like Steinway pianos. When I am retired from renovating boats I might build one. In the mean time I am having too much fun.

While working on my workbench I remembered something that was mentioned in one of the books. It was stated that many woodworkers like open free standing workbenches without any shelves, because shelves inevitably are places that get covered in wood shavings and dust. I have found this to be true.

So the other day after yet again sweeping away the detritus that covered the shelves I decided to knock up a couple of doors - and this is the result. Rough and ready to be sure but they should do an excellent job of keeping the shelves free of the by-products of wood work. The doors are slightly ajar as I have just applied the first of two finishing coats of paint.

It's always been a tradition in my family that boat builders benches should be christened in a similar manner to a newly launched yacht. That is, a little alcohol is poured over the bow and the rest of the bottle finished off by the builder (Actually that's not true, I just made it up - but it sounds like a good tradition to start) - now where's that  'Good on yah mate, Speights Pride of the South NZ beer.'

Monday, October 3, 2016

_________________ FINDING BEAUTY IN THE ORDINARY _________________

Last night I watched a TV programme called "I Know This To Be True". It was a "Local documentary special in which 30 New Zealanders discuss their beliefs, who they are, what they learned growing up, and what they have done".

Something that NZ artist Dick Frizell (above) said resonated with me. It resonated with me because it is something I have known for a long, long time. It is something that is true. It is something that is part of my everyday experience. I think many people would agree with this way of seeing.

I cannot quote him exactly but the general thread of what Dick Frizell was saying goes like this:  Beauty is not exclusively contained in grand vistas, exotic locations and magnificent sunsets. It is, as he explained contained ' In a picture of a letterbox and its night time moon shadows on an ordinary suburban street. Everything is beautiful.'

This is what I was trying to get at with my recent post "In Praise of Weeds." Who makes the rules? Who says some plants are weeds and other plants are valuable flowers to be oohed and ahhed over? The green of my Oxalis weeds are not just green, they are a beautiful emerald green.

The plant police with their personal projections of plant devilry will claim that left to their own sly inclinations (i.e. successful, healthy, vibrant growth) Oxalis will take over the world in the same way that  other devil plants such as Kikuyu grass are plotting to do (And plotting incidentally in the same way as forests of Oak and Kauri, oceans of Tulips and Iris's and meadows of daffodils and buttercups).

Well, I humbly beg to differ. In my way of looking at the world...... Oxalis, Kikuyu and other varieties of Devilish Greenis Vegetais Weedus are just as interesting and beautiful as anything else that grows on this planet.

As evidence for the proposition that beauty is everywhere in everyday things, let me present to you some of the objects that I have been working on in my own leisurely way as I restore a rather ordinary and common fiberglass dinghy.

The symmetry of a clinker planked hull, (even in its imitation fiberglass form) - the well proportioned tapering of the planks from its midsection to both bow and stern.

The agricultural carpentry (mine) of a simple workbench with all its rough, rude, uneven symmetry.

Simple honest hand tools that with good intentions become tools of transformation.

The fruits of manual boat building labour - the rudimentary shaping of the dinghies new rowlock blocks and the by product of the shaping - a carpet of lovely curled shavings from the wood plane.

Four chunky wooden rowlock blocks with their dense hardwood grain emerging transformed into new shapes from the crucible of my little wooden forge, complete with its serendipitous sawhorse - the sitting height is just right for the old buggers butt.

I spend a lot of time just standing at the side of this old dinghy, just looking and thinking about the next step in this project. I never tire of looking at the beauty of it all. It's a privilege to have the time, the inclination and the rudimentary skills to be able to be involved in something that is .... well .... without wanting to put too finer point on it ...... pure joy.........

.......... so I guess I am giving thanks here, not just for being able to engage with this work and finding joy in the immediacy of something worthwhile, but also (As Dick Frizell points out ) in the beauty that is to be found in its ordinariness ....... and using a bit of good old fashioned mindfulness helps here.

I also give thanks for wonderful, modern, gap filling epoxy glue LOL.