Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I had lunch with Steve yesterday at the Marina Cafe while he was also engaged in the sailor’s post-passage ritual of doing laundry.
First, I want to say that Steve takes understandable exception of my referring to ROVER as slow. Such a term is subjective, not objective, and I apologize.
Steve has no pressures of time, enjoys being at sea and does not want dramas, so he often slows ROVER or heaves-to. I have done the same with GANNET.
His passage was much as I expected.
He left Neiafu the day after I did, had good sailing for the first few days, was becalmed by the high and lowered his sails rather than let them slat until wind returned, and was more than two hundred miles offshore when the storm headed him. He hove-to for a day and a half in winds that he estimates were around fifty knots, not the sixty mentioned in the forecasts I was seeing ashore. After the low moved east, winds were light. He had fine sailing last Sunday, his final day at sea. He arrived in good spirits and good shape after an experience that would have had some immediately putting their boats up for sale.
Although Steve has circumnavigated, he is modest about his sailing accomplishments. He’s done more than enough to impress me; and I wish him and ROVER OF TACOMA continued joy of the sea.
Two days ago I sent the following moderate email to Aurinco:
I have six Aurinco panels mounted on the deck of my Moore 24. Four of those are three years old. The other two less than two years. I installed them while I was in the U.S. and have in the past four months sailed from San Diego to Opua, New Zealand. Along the way two of the six panels failed.
I've attached photos showing all six panels and one of the corrosion inside one of the failed panels.
I like your panels. They are aesthetically pleasing and not toe-stubbers. And they fit well in the available space on my boat. I have installed mine so that I do not have to walk on them. However, a one-third failure rate is distressing.
I am not sure what I am going to do about this. Removing them and sending them back to you from New Zealand is very inconvenient. I only arrived here from Tonga a few days ago and perhaps I will in time.
However, this is something that I think you should know about.
This morning I received this honorable response:
Unfortunately it is an installation issue that we are all too well aware of. It is addressed it in a service bulletin which we include with all our panels. A copy is attached. To prevent that more of your panels will be damaged, do check as soon as possible that all connections are fully waterproof (don't trust heat seal tubing alone) and that the exit wires are protected with caulking to avoid chafe.
While installation problems are not covered by warranty we do try to help our customers. As a courtesy we will offer you to replace the two panels at a 40% discount, basically at our cost. Of course, we realize that shipping to New Zealand will add to your expense.
By the way, your boat is beautiful!
I could not ask for more and am ordering the replacements.
On the subject of warranties, I usually forget about them because often when problems arise I am in another country thousands of miles from where I bought the items and don’t carry receipts around with me.
However, I have done some research and learned that Raymarine tiller pilots come with a two year warranty which can be extended to three years by registering the products with the company.
I expect to be bringing a duffle bag of Raymarine ST1000s back to New Zealand next March. You can be certain that they will be registered and I will have proof of purchase.
My new floorboards are made of iroko, an African wood with some similarities to teak. Ashby’s coated them with International Paint’s Everdure, an epoxy sealer.
The floorboards are decidedly lighter than the other wood in the Great Cabin. I like them, but will probably apply Deks Olje in time.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Above ROVER OF TACOMA and Steve are moving from the Quarantine Dock to a marina slip.
I was pleased to see ROVER when I glanced out this morning, and spoke to Steve briefly when I rowed in. He had not yet been cleared and officials do not like others to get close to vessels on the Q Dock. I did learn that he left Neiafu the day after I did, was caught by the storm about 250 miles offshore, and spent several days hove-to. I’ll know more tomorrow.
What other sailor do you know who can carry his entire cabin sole around in one hand? I did this morning from Ashby’s Boat Yard to the Opua Cruising Club dinghy dock, from where I rowed back to GANNET and installed the new floorboards.
I’m not sure what kind of wood they are or what Graham, who made them, applied to their surface. I’ll try to find out.
They are very pretty.
Bill in southwest England has varied interests: he plays in a band, rescues dogs, sails small boats—sometimes racing, sometimes cruising with his father in a Drascombe Lugger, and takes remarkably atmospheric photos, often I believe with his phone.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
I rewired the solar panels running each separately to bus bars from which a single wire continues to the solar regulator, eliminating many connections that disconnected while underway and making it easy to know which wires run to which panels, as long as I don’t forget my system. Obviously I should have done it this way to begin with and don’t know why I didn’t.
In the process I tested each panel and found that a second one has died. I have seen the corrosion for some time and expected it to.
The panels have a ten year warranty, prorated after the first two years. I’m not sure I’m going to bother. In addition to screws at the corners, I used sealant on them, and removing them without further damage may be difficult, as would packing and shipping them back. We’ll see.
If I just write them off as I have the tiller pilots, I will probably buy Aurinco replacements despite the one-third failure rate. That they are unobtrusive counts for a lot on GANNET. For aesthetic reasons I do not want panels mounted on platforms or rails above the deck.
GANNET is also not going to have a dodger or a self-steering vane.
Yesterday I managed to get a screw back in the port pipe berth pipe that came adrift at sea.
Tomorrow the new floorboards should be ready
And I’ve made my reservation to fly back to the U.S. on November 4, returning to New Zealand on March 17.
Can’t miss a Chicago winter.
GANNET is just outside the marina breakwater dock, the northern end of which is the Quarantine Dock. Every time I stick my head out the companionway I glance over to see if Steve and ROVER OF TACOMA have arrived. They haven’t.
I don’t even know if he left when he planned to or decided to stop at Minerva Reef.
If he did leave later the day I did, his boat is heavy and much slower than GANNET. The storm would have caught him probably two or three hundred miles offshore and pushed him back even farther when he hove to or ran before it, the only real options in fifty to sixty knot headwinds; and after the low moved east, the wind behind it has been light.
Anyway he isn’t here and another low, though not so severe, is moving over us tonight.
I’ll keep glancing at the Q Dock
Yesterday I sent a manual position showing if you zoom in far enough GANNET’s present location on the mooring. You can view that map here.
I thank Jay for advising me that all the dates in the Neiafu to Opua passage log were wrong. I think I’ve got them right now.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Last evening was perfect. The first I’ve sat on deck for my sunset drinks, listening to music. On other nights I’ve sipped standing in the companionway.
Dense fog this morning. I could barely make out the breakwater thirty yards away and the boats on the nearest moorings. But it burned off and I rowed the I thought unbroken floorboard ashore to take to the boat yard to have replacements made. When I unscrewed it, I found that it too is cracked. These might be original equipment in which case they are thirty-five years old. I’ve not only never owned a boat that cost more than a mid-priced car; I’ve never owned one built later than 1979.
The new floorboards will be ready Monday.
I wrote the final entry in the Neiafu to Opua passage log four days after I reached port. I forgot some details.
The complete overcast Saturday morning was low, almost touching the sea, seeming to press down on GANNET and me, and so thick that light was dim, as though we were sailing across a room illuminated by one too small bulb.
Waves were bigger than the two that knocked GANNET down on the passage from Honolulu to Apia which I estimated at ten to twelve feet. Those on Saturday were twelve to fifteen feet, steep, and came with toppling crests. Whitecaps were everywhere, and when the sky darkened even further with the approach of heavy rain, the wind increased by five to ten knots and with the splashes of rain drops frothed the surface of the ocean white.
The Bay of Islands is sparsely populated. Pahia has a population of about two thousand, Russell and Opua both less than a thousand. There are five or six houses on Roberton Island, but none on any of the others.
As you approach from the sea the only man made object is the light house on Cape Brett. The hills are pristine wilderness. This makes it perfect for birds. All of New Zealand was before the coming of our species and the predators we brought with us, intentionally and otherwise. One of the islets near Cape Brett is known as Bird Rock.
I saw more birds the last fourteen miles to Opua than I had seen all the way from San Diego to that point. Two gannets gilded directly across GANNET’s bow.
Unfortunately no gannets are presently frequenting the skies above Opua.
I met a man I know working in one of the two chandleries. As noted above Opua is a small place and he was aware that I had sold THE HAWKE OF TUONELA and asked when I arrived and what kind of boat I have now. When I told him, he exclaimed, “I saw her as I was walking to work this morning and thought: that must belong to some young guy.”
I could not resist, “She does.”
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
SOG 6.6 COG 207°
day’s run 136 (25 hours)
SOG 6.8 COG 204°
day’s run 144
SOG 6.0 COG 204°
day’s run 145
SOG 5.4 COG 223°
day’s run 145
The wind backed to the north, so I gybed the jib to port and changed our course more to the southwest to keep it filled. Waves are rolling GANNET side to side. Sun is shining through a break in the clouds at the moment.
SOG 4.0 COG 171°
Day’s run 61
SOG 4.0 COG 224°
day’s run 66
28°37’S 177°25’E Bay of Islands 425 202°
SOG 4.2 COG 200°
day’s run 71
29°56’S 176°54’E Bay of Islands 341 203°
SOG 5.5 COG 198°
day’s run 84
SOG 6.3 COG 205°
Day’s run 122
33°18’S 175°12’E Bay of Islands 122 miles 203°
SOG 4.6 COG 202°
day’s run 99
neared land, but they remained at strength until we had Cape Wiwiki abeam.