Friday, April 27, 2018

__________________ REINSTALLING THE FUEL TANK ____________________

'Mariners' small dinghy has always talked to me soothingly during times of spanner throwing difficulties - today she sang me 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' - Ya gotta love a singing dinghy.

At the point where I was about to go for a sail after all the work I had completed on 'Mariner' last year I found there was a leak in the diesel tank. I wasn't able to deal to the tank right away because we were headed off overseas for the birth of our second grand child.

A couple of days ago I took the tank out. As the tank was installed before fitting the engine the only way to get down into the engine space to take the tank out (and to re-install it) is to remove the engine - and I'm not going to do that. The only solution to get the tank out was to spend a very long time lying on my stomach on the cockpit floor with my head upside down trying to use a socket set and various other tools to unbolt the tank and detach all the hoses and pipes. The tank fits under the cockpit floor to the right in the photo. Re-fitting the tank is going to be just as awkward.

Today I picked up the tank up after it had been repaired. The leaks had been in the top of the tank. It was only a couple of pin hole sized faults in the welding which should have been picked up IF the tank had been tested for leaks after the welding had been completed - don't get me started!

The diesel fuel tank is now back on the boat awaiting my acrobatic head-standing ministrations, but with three days of rain forecast it will be next week before I can get it fitted. I have taped down the access panel, fitted a small cover over the cockpit and hope that will keep the water out.

A sail (albeit an Autumn sail) is on the horizon and I am looking forward very much to that. On that day I am sure I will be serenaded by the dinghy with an appropriate song - she will probably sing 'I Did It My Way' without specifying who the "I" is - certainly not Lady Luck, at this point in the proceedings - possibly the "I" is Mr Karma, although what I have done in my past to deserve all this gymnastic grief is beyond my reckoning! (Actually there is quite a lot, but let's not go there).

Saturday, April 21, 2018

_____________________ A JAPANESE BUCKET LIST ____________________

I spent the best part of today helping my good mate Bernie rig and check that this old time 'X' Class three man sailing dinghy was all shipshape and Bristol fashion. In their heyday the 'X' was one of New Zealands premier racing classes that raced annually for the coveted Moffat Cup.

The boat has been advertised on NZTradeMe for some time with the final price being the princely sum of NZ$1500, which is actually tantamount to simply giving the boat away - which shipmates is a real sign of the sailing times.

The boat has been bought by a group of Japanese who have a bucket list. One of the items on the list  is the desire to sail a New Zealand 'X' class yacht in the notoriously stormy Cook Strait of New Zealand. Ye Gods, wonders never cease, but who am I to make judgements on other peoples Bucket Lists? Negotiations and dates have been finalised through a local interpreter and the boat is to be picked up this coming week. Bernie and I completed a comprehensive pre-sail / sale check this afternoon and she's all good to go.

I wish the Japanese Bucket List crew the very best of luck in their sailing adventure in Cook Strait and only hope they don't try to sail in any weather comparable to the stormy conditions we encountered recently at the 2018 Zephyr Nationals in Wellington. I shall await news of their adventure with keen interest.

POST SCRIPT - The sale fell through (long convoluted story), but they HAVE bought an X Class in Wellington and apparently the plan is to sail across Cook Strait to the South Island which is a change of plan from simply wanting to sail in Cook Strait - Bloody Nora and dearie, dearie, dearie me is all I can say - I await news of this adventure with baited breathe and shall pray hard for a fair wind and calm seas.

Friday, April 20, 2018

______________________________ POEM ______________________________

  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening  

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, April 16, 2018

____________________ JOHN GUZZWELLS 16mm FILM ___________________

Yes shipmates, this is John Guzzwells little circumnavigating yawl 'Trekka' that he built in Victoria, Canada all those years ago. Trekka, Guzzwell and their voyage is significant to sailors for a number of reasons.

- In terms of the history of sailing the Laurent Giles designed 'Trekka' was the next step in proving that small light displacement yachts were sea worthy enough to complete long voyages. Trekka is the bigger sister of the Giles designed 'Sopranino' which completed a transatlantic voyage crewed by Colin Mudie and Patrick Ellam. Both these boats are the legacy of the light displacement possibilities explored by John Illingworth (and others) with boats such as 'Myth of Mallam'.

- At the time of her circumnavigation (1955 - 59) she was the smallest boat (20' 6") ever to have completed such a voyage. After his circumnavigation 'Trekka' was sold to Clifford and Marion Cain who completed another circumnavigation in her during the 1970s. A sister ship to 'Trekka' named 'Thlaloca' built and sailed by Hein and Siggy Zenker also completed a circumnavigation in the 1970s. Their exploits are detailed in Zenkers book 'West! Sail West, Man'. These adventures cemented the fact that small, well found, light displacement yachts could make safe long ocean passages.

- Within the classical period of small yacht circumnavigations (Beginning with Joshua Slocum and 'Spray' and ending when circumnavigations became somewhat ubiquitous) we can read in the associated literature how the paths of various circumnavigators crossed and how they shared experiences along the way. But in the case of John Guzzwell and the celebrated voyagers Miles and Beryl Smeeton the sharing morphed into collaboration and possibly one of the most dramatic of small boat adventures. This adventure took place when John Guzzwell crewed for the Smeetons on their ketch Tzu Hang which while on a voyage from Australia to the UK was pitch poled, capsized and dismasted in huge seas while approaching Cape Horn. The story is captured in Miles Smeetons book 'Once is Enough'.

Film of 'Tzug Hang' and the Smeetons shot by John Guzzwell in the Southern Ocean a few minutes before they were bowled can be viewed here:

I read this first edition of 'Trekka Round the World' when I was 12 years old. The book left a lasting impression on me. I remember completing three back to back readings of the book.
Today I completed my second reading of this (above) the second edition of the  book which was re - published by John Guzzwell in 1999.  It contains an expanded text, a very interesting 'Afterword' and two informative Appendixes.
'Once is Enough' is an enthralling tale of courage and endurance. After the dismasting of Tzu Hang and her repair in Chile, the Smeetons (This time minus Guzzwell) set out for the Horn once again, were caught by a huge sea and were rolled, capsized and dismasted. Many years later they conquered the Horn (this time sailing from East to West), an adventure told in Miles Smeetons book 'Because The Horn Is There'.

What is interesting (and perhaps sobering) is that these ocean passages during the golden age of small sailboat voyaging were all completed without Life rafts, SSB radios, EPIRB, GPS or many of the other compulsory so called modern safety requirements. The safety was inherent in well designed, strong, well built and competently sailed small yachts.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

_______________________ OYC ENDURANCE RACE ______________________

Today I raced in the Onerahi Yacht Club Endurance Race. This race closes the Summer season of racing at the OYC. There were 16 yachts of a wide variety participating in this handicap race - various catamarans, Lasers, Ok, 470, Jolly Boats, Flying Fifteens, and a variety of other sailing dinghies. The race started at 10.30am this morning and finished at 4.30pm this afternoon. I raced without a stop for 6 hours. At around 3pm I lost my concentration and capsized when gybing. I took on a few mouthfuls of salt water and lost my hat - but never mind because I won this 6 hour marathon race on handicap. I am now off to bed. I think I may sleep for a week.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

___________________________ HOT DIGGITY __________________________

Tonight Christine, Lynn, Bernie and I went and had a meal together at our yacht club (Whangarei Cruising Club) and listened to a visiting Blue Grass Band called 'Hot Diggity' - New Zealands only all female Blue Grass band. Of their genre of amateur musical bands they were a very good example. This Utube video is not from tonights performance but it is "as good as" (as the saying goes) as an example of their performance. It displays the ambience and informality of local 'Hot Diggitys' gigs as they make their way around New Zealand entertaining Kiwis and showing off their enthusiasm, virtuosity and musical talent.

Of course the evening was not all about Blue Grass music. Over a beer or six, Bernie and I planned our strategy for tomorrows six hour endurance race at the Onerahi Yacht Club where we will be competing in our Zephyr sailing dinghies.

As the evening progressed and the instruments and voices wove their contrapuntal and harmonic paths and as the lyrics soared to the rafters and the beer flowed it was amazing how our predictions of tomorrows personal sailing performances rose in unison to the driving rhythm. Shipmates, such is the sailors life.

If I purchased a brand spanking new fiberglass Zephyr as a celebration of the sailing life I feel the name 'Hot Diggity' has a rather nice ring to it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

_________________ MORE REPAIRS AND ADJUSTMENTS ________________

I am onto the second round of repairs to the booms goose neck. In the OYC champs I gybed heavily and ripped the goose neck off the mast.

The first fix was to simply rivet the goose neck back onto the mast. This was unsuccessful. After a couple of races the new rivets came loose. I think this happened because the rivet holes had become oversize due to corrosion and damage.

The new fix has involved making and riveting a new aluminum plate over the damaged area. Strengthening this high stress area provides a new base for the rivets. I have also added two more rivets to the goose neck making 6 in total.

 Other adjustment include:

- Adding a long bungy cord attached at the vangs position on the boom through a pulley at the bow and back to the vangs position on the boom again. This arrangement helps hold the boom out hard on the side rigging when running or broad leading before the wind. This arrangement is especially helpful in light weather.

- I have altered the mast step slightly at the base allowing a lot more rake in the mast. Raking the mast helps boat performance to windward. This is especially so in heavy weather when combining mast rake with a flat sail produced from mast bend induced by the boom vang.

- Tightening the rigging screws so that I am not sailing as I have been doing with a lot of slack in the leeward rigging. I will be able to adjust mast rake from the raked position to a vertical position using the fore stay adjustment now without the whole rig rattling around as it has been doing.

This Sunday I will be sailing in the Onerahi Yacht Clubs 6 hour endurance race - plenty of time to see if the repairs and adjustment I have completed will make a difference.

Monday, April 2, 2018

_______________________________ POEM ______________________________

 Henry David Thoreau

Within the circuit of this plodding life
There enter moments of an azure hue,
Untarnished fair as is the violet
Or anemone, when the spring strews them
By some meandering rivulet, which make
The best philosophy untrue that aims
But to console man for his grievances
I have remembered when the winter came,
High in my chamber in the frosty nights,
When in the still light of the cheerful moon,
On every twig and rail and jutting spout,
The icy spears were adding to their length
Against the arrows of the coming sun,
How in the shimmering noon of summer past
Some unrecorded beam slanted across
The upland pastures where the Johnswort grew;
Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind,
The bee's long smothered hum, on the blue flag
Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill,
Which now through all its course stands still and dumb
Its own memorial,—purling at its play
Along the slopes, and through the meadows next,
Until its youthful sound was hushed at last
In the staid current of the lowland stream;
Or seen the furrows shine but late upturned,
And where the fieldfare followed in the rear,
When all the fields around lay bound and hoar
Beneath a thick integument of snow.
So by God's cheap economy made rich
To go upon my winter's task again.