Thursday, September 17, 2015

Opua: sailed; exploded; charts

        GANNET and I sailed yesterday, but not very long and not very far.  Still everything worked as it should and I didn’t forget how to sail, so we’ll count it a modest success,
        GANNET’s mooring is at the southern tip of the southernmost inlet of the bay.  With the tide coming in, I had to wait until 10:45 for a slight wind to enable us to move against it.  The wind was from the north.  I dropped the mooring under mainsail alone, but was able to unfurl the jib within a couple of boat lengths.  The little sloop heeled a few degrees, and her speed increased to three knots.
        On port tack I steered through the field of moored boats into open water and tacked on the edge of the boats moored on the other side.
        Short tacking up the inlet, giving way to the car ferry, I hand steered, climbing over the thankfully soon to be gone cockpit bridge to handle the jib sheets, then back after the tack was complete.  I can steer from the forward end of the cockpit with the tiller extension, but prefer being farther aft.
        As the inlet widened, our tacks lengthened and I was able to engage the tiller pilot some, though I put it in standby when we tacked.
        Being able to read the wind angle from the TackTick display without having to look up at the masthead Windex was satisfying, but I kept thinking that the wind speed readings were too high.  The unit was displaying 8 and 9 knots when I knew the wind was not more than 5.  Then I realized that of course the readings were high because they are of apparent wind and we were going to windward.  With a full TackTick system on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, including speed, compass and GPS, I always set the wind unit to display true wind, not apparent.
        Against the tide our progress was slow.  It took us two hours to get as far as Russell and by then clouds were pouring over the hills to the northwest and the wind increased to 15 knots, gusting 20.  We still needed to get four or five more miles to windward before we would be in clear enough water to set the new gennaker.  When rain began to fall, I decided this was not the day, turned around, and sailed out of the rain and back to the mooring first wing and wing and then under mainsail alone.  
        The weather stayed to the north.  I picked up the mooring under mainsail in 10 knots of wind and sunshine.
        Steady rain last night and this morning has diminished to passing showers this afternoon.  Between them I’ve taken the first steps in moving the mainsheet traveler to the cockpit sole.  The solid boom vang has been unbolted from the boom.  The outer end of the boom lowered to the deck.  Mainsheet removed.  Stops removed from one end of the traveler track.  
        However there is only so much I can do in wet conditions and more rain is forecast for tomorrow and maybe Sunday.
        Rain is pattering on the deck as I write.


        When I opened a bottle of duty free Laphroaig last evening the contents exploded all over The Great Cabin and me.  This bottle was not carried on the plane but bought at ground level on arrival at Auckland.  I have no idea how it became pressurized.  Not a drop was left in the bottle.  There was a big puddle on the port pipe berth and more in the bilge.  GANNET’s bilge is clean, but unfortunately not clean enough to drink from.
        I wiped up the mess as well as I could, but with hatches closed this morning I was drunk on fumes.  


        An article at the NASA Earth Observatory site discusses changes in how nautical charts are updated and, incidentally, how long it has been since some areas have been physically surveyed.  
        On my early circumnavigations I recall charts of the South Pacific referencing surveys done in the Nineteenth Century.