Saturday, January 28, 2017


Stunning day - dazzling sunshine - a scorcher of a day - fresh SW wind - The good old classic Kiwi summer has kicked in at last.

Today we drove down from Whangarei and just had a quiet relaxing day on the beach, so I didn't get out on the water and take any close up photos of on the water classic yacht action.

Beach and boats - a good combination.

A large contingent of yachts had raced up from Auckland to watch the classic wooden boats race.

The now ubiquitous John Welsford 'Scamp' design.

Ian Oughtred design.

Interesting little yawl - designer?

Welsford 'Scamp' and to the right a Welsford 'Truant'.

Big, strong, hearty double ended rowing boat.

In the foreground a classic clinker dinghy. In the background a classic raised deck 'Mullet' boat.

A fleet of catamarans demonstrate the advantage of shoal draft.

A 'Captains Gig' design.

Just above the bough of the Pohutakawa tree the big doghouse windows are a dead giveaway for a classic Des Townson 32 footer.

Pohutakawa trees give beautiful shade around Northland beaches.

The Mullety gets ready for a sail.

I think the double ended dark green hulled lugsail rigged boat is yet another Welsford design.

The classic wooden boats start their afternoon race.

An interestingly named boat - of course if 'Pooh' is the skipper, there is plenty of room aboard for Christopher Robin, Kanga, Piglet, Eyore et al.

This gaff cutter in the foreground is very reminiscent of the famous Peter Pyes 'Moonraker'.

A ramble over volcanic rocks baking in the sun - very satisfying.

There are a growing number of  Chinese Junk rigged yachts in New Zealand.

Sand castle competition.

Look closely - the finishing tape is on the right of the picture - the children are running in the backwards running race.

The head of the Mahurangi river. Follow the river to the left and sail up to the small town of Warkworth. Sail to the right back to Auckland. Sail around the headland to the left and head for Whangarei and the North.

Next year I will either compete in the classic centreboard sailing dinghy racing in 'Slipstream' or sail 'Mariner' down from Whangarei and race her.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

____________________________ FIRST SAIL __________________________

''Slipstream' and I went for our first sail together today and I couldn't be more pleased. She is an absolute joy to sail - easy on the helm on all points of sailing and quick and easy to maneuver.

Compared to the Starling, tacking is a lot easier because of the higher boom clearance and as the central sheeting system has no part of the mainsheet aft of my sitting position there is nothing to get tangled around my neck or shoulders when tacking or gybing.

The sense of spaciousness in the cockpit is palpable. I can move around easily and when running flat off downwind I can sit on the side decks as opposed to kneeling on the cockpit floor as I had to do in the Starling as my weight had the tendency to capsize the boat to windward.

Although there wasn't a lot of wind for this trial sail, in the gusts I get the sense that even in a fresh breeze I am not going to have to go through the contortions of an Olympic gymnast to keep the boat upright.

Moving 'Slipstream' and her beach trolley on and off the road trailer was easy enough and because the wheels of the beach trolley are pretty much at the trolleys central balance point the whole outfit is light and easy to wheel around.

Hopefully all these happy signs mean that I am going to be able to sail 'Slipstream' well into my dotage........ and happy is the operative word ...... when I came ashore I had a smile on my face much, much, much bigger than Texas.

.................... Oh, and I nearly forgot, 'Slipstream' and all her many sisterships are in every Zephyr Class owners opinion definitely the best looking small centreboard sailing dinghies ever designed.

Monday, January 23, 2017

________________ YET ANOTHER JIGSAW PUZZLE PIECE ________________

My experience of retirement is far from being a situation of sitting around with time on my hands, rather it is a matter of having the time to choose what I focus my attention on. I have known of Owen Barfield for decades ..... now is the time.

'Saving the Appearances is about the world as we see it and the world as it is; it is about God, human nature, and consciousness. The best known of numerous books by the British sage whom C.S. Lewis called the “wisest and best of my unofficial teachers,” it draws on sources from mythology, philosophy, history, literature, theology, and science to chronicle the evolution of human thought from Moses and Aristotle to Galileo and Keats. Barfield urges his readers to do away with the assumption that the relationship between people and their environment is static. He dares us to end our exploitation of the natural world and to acknowledge, even revel in, our participation in the diurnal creative process.'

Fruit in a blossom
And petals in a seed,
Reeds in a river - bed,
Music in a reed,
Stars in a firmament
Shining in the night,
Sun in a galaxy
And planet in its light,
Bones in the rosy blood
Like land in the sea,
Marrow in a skeleton -
And I in Me. 

------ Owen Barfield

Saving the Appearances - Part 1

Saving the Appearances - Part 2

Saving the Appearances - Part 3

Saving the Appearances - Part 4

Saving the Appearances - Part 5

Saturday, January 14, 2017

_________________________ SORTED __________________________

Today I finally got the boat trailer sorted. I have widened the trailer deck incorporating bridging planks for 'Slipstreams' beach trolley to pass easily over the trailer mudguards. I have also built a couple of ramps so that the beach trolley can be easily loaded onto the road trailer. The ramps are chocked off on the top of the road trailer and a couple of bungy cords fore and aft complete the job.

When deployed the ramps are each a generous 6 feet (1.8 metres) in length. This provides a reasonably easy slope for the old bugger to pull 'Slipstream' on and off the  road trailer.

I sat and visualized all sorts of arrangements for securing the ramps when stowed on the road trailer. Everything from triple dongle back shackles to double slotted fangle toggles - but in the end the KISS principle won the day (Keep It Simple Stupid). If my old arms and shoulders get tired of stretching the bungy cords I will resort to that old sailors standby of good rope and an honest cleat.

Sorted. And it's a good feeling. Now it's time for 'Slipstream' and moi to go for our first sail.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

________________________ WORK CONTINUES _________________________

The weather has been so sweltering over the last couple of days that I have only been able to work on the beach and road trailers by rigging up a sun shade. This has made working conditions tolerable. Northland, New Zealand has one of the highest ultra violet light radiation rates in the world. In summer the burn time is about 7 minutes. A cold beer after a day working in these conditions tastes pretty damn good.

The road trailer now has an iroko cross plank fixed in place incorporating a couple of positioning blocks for the beach trailer wheels. The unpainted timbers behind the beach trolley wheels span the road trailers mud guards and have wheel guiding battens in place. When the unpainted timber has seasoned a bit (it is very wet) I will paint the trailer deck and its new wooden fittings with non skid paint.

I have replaced the old blue foam cushioning on the beach trailer with new material (Cut this foam with a jigsaw Not a 'Stanley' knife for a nice clean edge) and proved yet again the amazing adhering ability of 'Ados' glue.

Tomorrows job is to make a start on building a couple of removable ramps so I can get the beach trolley on and off the road trailer easily. These ramps will stow on the deck of the trailer when not in use.

Paul Mullings  has suggested I take 'Slipstream' down and race her at the Mahurangi Classic Wooden Boat Regatta in January   I am giving the idea serious consideration.

Monday, January 2, 2017

_________________ BUSY TIMES AT SMITHS BOATYARD _________________

Being male, multitasking of course comes naturally, and no more so than at my burgeoning little boatyard.

- I gave 'Mariner' such a good scrub and clean last week that the Hatea River literally bubbulated with detergent bubbles. I then emailed Whiting Power in Auckland regarding re - powering options.

- 'Mariner's fiberglass clinker dinghy restoration / conversion has just been sanded in preparation for a final undercoat and finishing coats of paint.

- The Starling has been polished and readied for me to advertise her for sale on NZTradeMe.

- 'Slipstream' my new Zephyr has just had her central sliding track re-bolted on and awaits a few more modifications as does ......

- ....... the boat trailer.

It was a toss up. Either shorten the wheel base of the beach trolley (Too complicated and would compromise the stability of the beach trailer when rigging 'Slipstream' in high winds) or modify the road trailer; which is what I decided to do today.

Luckily I had a length of strong Iroko timber which I have bolted across the trailer effectively widening the deck of the trailer and enabling the beach trolley wheels to sit securely. I am now fitting timbers to protect the mudguards from the weight of the beach trolley and boat. There will be a slight rise in the centre of gravity of the combined weight of the beach trolley and 'Slipstream' but I figure it will all be well within any safety considerations. I will build a couple of removable ramps for the trolley wheels which will make loading and unloading the Zephyr an easy maneuver.

Another few days should see the job completed and I will be able to get 'Slipstream' down to the tide for a very first sail!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

_________________________ HAPPY NEW YEAR _________________________

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
Above your head no star will flame.
One weary sound will be the same—
the hoarse roar of the gale.
The shadows fall from your tired eyes
as your lone bedside candle dies,
for here the calendar breeds nights
till stores of candles fail.

What prompts this melancholy key?
A long familiar melody.
It sounds again. So let it be.
Let it sound from this night.
Let it sound in my hour of  death—
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for that which sometimes makes us lift
our gaze to the far sky.

You glare in silence at the wall.
Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
It's clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it's too late for miracles.
— But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven's light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift.