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A Day in the Bay

With bad weather threatened in the afternoon we went ashore in the morning to get a few things done. On the way out we dropped by Emily Grace to say hello. He’d been reading our blog and had a spare irrigation syringe for us and our efforts against the leak. Ashore we dropped off some trash and then checked our the Bursco chandlers. I was able to pick up an off cut piece of hose which I can use as a chaff presenter for our sea anchor. Their prices for a new reefing line was a bit steep.

We then said hello to Phil at Cars for Cruisers before heading onto the customs office to double check procedures for exiting the country. We then visited the marina office to pick up a key for the facilities before going to Catermarine to look around there. Their prices for lines were much cheaper so I bough the replacement line for our 1st reef. Our seal hadn’t arrived yet but nosing around the store we set out eyes upon a good man over board pole which we’ve been looking for for ages. I also had a discussion with one of the staff about trolling rods/reels as I want to lose fewer lures and catch more fish. Before leaving we asked to have the pole set aside. Later Helen acquiesced and allowed me my new fishing rod which I picked up in the afternoon.

As a treat we had a late breakfast/lunch ashore before heading back to the boat. When I returned in the afternoon to pick up the pole/rod I ran into March/Pam from Passages as well as Gary from Pursuit IV. On the way back to the boat I dropped by Imagine as I’d heard they’d had dinghy motor problems but that was now resolved.

The threatened bad weather never arrived but we ended up moving the boat anyway. The boats near where we were were all on submerged moorings which was not obvious until we swung on our anchor/chain and they didn’t. We’re a bit more exposed now but feel safer.

The shaft seal didn’t arrive yesterday but I’ve received confirmation it was signed for by Catermarine this morning. We’ll pick it up today. I need to pick up some fishing line. I could have sworn I had a reel but couldn’t find it when I looked yesterday. I’m looking forward to using that on our next passage.

The long term weather outlook still offers no sign of a passage opportunity. A low is projected to barrel down from the tropics a few days from now but it turns and heads west of New Zealand. If it goes east instead we may have a chance. Slim hopes indeed. The upside is that while we wait for our window it’s inevitable more and more of our friends will show up here in and around Opua.

3rd Tuesday on the hard

With the work list dwindling you’d think we’d be having less to do.  It doesn’t seem to be working out that way :

  • I remove temporary batteries I hooked up sitting over the starboard shaft access ready for the techs planned visit.
  • I made my (hopefully) last trip up the mast to file down the epoxy I’d applied to the oversized countersunk holes.
  • The engine tech arrived and told us the second shaft seal was now not expected to arrive from overseas until late May and suggested we try and order one from the US.  I nearly tore his head off.  We then came up with the idea of using the new one and the best of the old ones which is still pretty good.
  • I cleaned and sanded the prop shafts one more time.
  • The engine tech ran into a new problem as the newly machined couplings had been machined in error and needed some more work.  Despite all this, all is expected to be complete on this front by Wednesday.
  • Replaced a bent clip on the dinghy hauling lines.
  • Inventoried genset oil to determine how much more to buy in.
  • Stored around 14 boxes of wine away from the world.
  • Laid out storm anchor.  This is one of those jobs we should have done a long time ago.  We’ve had a second hand para anchor and a brand new set of bridles/lines for nearly two years and we’ve never taken them out of the bags to inspect them, let alone test them at sea.  We removed both sets of lines from the bags and worked out how we would set them from the boat at sea.  We removed the parachute from it’s bag and found it intact but covered in mould.  We hoisted it up the mast for a couple of hours in the afternoon to dry out.  It will have to go up there again today.  Also spent ages trying to untangle the lines to the parachute.  It’s better but not complete.
  • Collected our finished windows.  I took them round to Leu Cat who are considering doing the same project.  They were quite impressed.  There I picked up our two clamshell scoops which had arrived from the US.  Back at the boat Helen was delighted.  We put them into the window frames and checked them out through the plastic still wrapping the boat.  They looked good but we really need to see them with the plastic off.
  • Bottom painting progressed.  Second primer followed by first coat of anti-foul went on.

During the day it was nice to meet John and Lucy from Tyee who’ve just returned from Canada.  Their boat has been in the yard while they’ve been home.  With envy we saw Emily Grace splash/launch.

In the evening it was a pleasure to eat out with Mike and Anne from Callisto at our preferred curry house in Whangarei.  Like us, they like their curries hot so we were able to share five dishes amongst the four of us.  Delicious.

The weather forecast for the rest of the week remains good and all signs point towards a Friday afternoon launch for us.  Today the second layer of anti-foul goes on as will a third application on all our leading edges.  The engine tech should have our prop shafts reconnected and we may even have the hull clean started.  A lot to do yet but it all looks doable.

Wednesday on the hard

First job of the day was to move the anchor. It has been sitting on the ground since it was lowered to remove the anchor roller a few days ago. I removed the shackle and carried the anchor away to a safe spot then man handled the chain back onto the boat. This cleared the way for the cradle to be placed under the boat.

Then I started on removing nipples from our through hulls. I paused this work when the yard began lifting Dignity off the ground with the cradle. I realize they wanted to drop the rudders there and then so while we things were being set up I removed the quadrants from the rudder posts and stood by to remove the collars which would allow the rudders to drop. When we were all ready the stern was raised further and I removed the pins holding the rudders in place and out they popped. The cradle was lowered to a more manageable height permitting the work on the keels which should happen Thursday/Friday.

I completed removing all the nipples I wanted and thouroughly inspected the through hulls inside and outside. The good news is that all the valves look fine and the through hull fittings bar the genset raw water output look fine too. Some of the nipples look a little pinkish supporting the view that they should all be replaced. I logged my findings as I went to make sure nothing was missed. As the sanding of the bottom was still in progress the outside inspection was tricky and I’ll repeat that element of the inspection when it’s more convenient just to be sure.

We also learned more about the anticipated cost of the work being carried out. If the actuals come in close to the estimates (which the yard is supposed to be good for) we’ll be coming in under our own private guesstimates. That’s good news.

In the middle of my inspection, Helen and I went out and about looking for parts for another project. The one way dots on our hull windows are a mess. We have a good guide on how to remedy it all but we need a few bits and pieces so we went on the prowl. We spent some time in Bunnings, a Home Depot like store, where I decided to buy a good set of screwdrivers and some ratchet spanners. I guess I was feeling flushed with the news from the estimates. The plexiglass we need for the windows project was too thick so we ordered some thinner panes which should arrive today.

Back at the boat Helen spent some time researching a source for another item required for our window project while I finished the inspection. We were all finished by mid afternoon so we called it a day. Things are grinding to a halt due to the mess from the blue dust. The sanders being used have attached vacuums but still the dust gets everywhere. We decided to visit a couple of boats in the area, Emily Grace and Koncierto but first we had to scrub the blue dust from the bottom of our feet. We have been led to believe that the sanding will now be finished Thursday morning and that we will be lend a power spray to wash down the boat. Thankfully, this horrible phase will soon be over.

Slow progress …

We were provided some moments of reprieve between rain showers yesterday which allowed us some progress against our task list on Saturday.

As mentioned I removed the nipple from our genset exhaust through hull fitting and found it brittle. A while back I’d found a brittle nipple on one of the A/C inlets. I decided to remove the other two A/C inlet nipples to examine them. They appeared fine. I took them round to Emily Grace to get Tom’s oppinion. It looks like the material is brass which shouldn’t be used where there is sea water. If this is confirmed I’ll have to check all the fittings to make sure we have no inferior metals in use. That’ll be a drag.

During another break in the rain Helen hauled me up the mast. The stiff seat in my bosun’s chair had crumbled and we’ve yet to replace it. That being missing made the chair quite uncomfortable, particularly on the way down. While up the mast I tightened a loose screw on the furler (something noticed by the sail maker when he was measuring up) and inspected the top of the halyard which we intend to replace.

We removed the main sheet and calculated the length of the main halyard. I popped round to the local chandlery to order new lines only to discover they were only open half day on a Saturday. I’ll have to go there Monday morning.

Finally, Helen and I were able to perform a full inspection of the gel-coat. We’re having the dings on the nacelle (from the anchor) fixed and at the same time we can have the other small dings repaired. There were surprisingly few and none on the outside of the hulls.

Every Saturday is BBQ night for the liveaboards in the yard. We joined in having two very delicious steaks and plenty of good company.

We wake this morning to the sound of more rain. There are not too many more jobs to be done inside the boat. Helen has laid out all my boxes of wires and assorted electrical junk ready for me to sort them out. I don’t think I’ll be able to put it off another day.

Hauled out

Thursday turned out to be a long day. As we were rousing for breakfast we were visited by the sail maker who wanted to take some measurements of the rigging. Once that was complete I made another wine run in the car and to pick up some milk (priorities, priorities). I also paid off our marina fees so we were good to leave. Back at the boat I prepped the lines for leaving the dock and performed some basic checks to make sure we were ok. The wind was up so I turned on the instruments to keep a track of the wind strength. Once this was all done I settled down to rest until we were due to go.

Shortly, though, I received a call from the yard as they were a bit concerned about the wind there and suggested I came over to take a look. At the yard the wind was around 15 knots and gusting up to 20 almost right into the dock. I felt we’d be ok with that but agreed to prepare the stern anchor just in case we ran into difficulties at the entrance. Back at the boat I roused Helen to help prepare the stern anchor, rode and chain.

By then it was time to go. We knocked on Albatross III who’d agreed earlier to help with the lines. I also let the folks know on the neighbouring boats as people usual like to keep an eye on things. Leaving the dock was fine. Motoring down the river was a bit slow due to the head wind and from the drag from all the crud on our hulls (see later pics). We even had a bit of a squall as we approached the yard.

Earlier concerns about approaching the yard proved to be cautionary rather than real. Even though we had a bit of a tail wind coming in the boat handled well. Hull crud doesn’t make a difference during slow maneuvers and so the boat was easy to maneuver in the winds as we approached one side then the other to throw lines ashore. By about 1 we were settled in the dock with six lines ashore holding us steady.

Then it was time to place the cradle beneath the boat. Derek who’s in charge of all this was incredibly careful. He’d been to see the boat in the marina to check out where the bulkheads were and checked and rechecked positioning of the supports. The cradle was driven under the boat and jacked up to touch the boat. Then it was off to lunch for the workers and us providing time for the tide to go out and leave us propped up on the cradle.

After lunch the crew got back to work and dragged us up the ramp and out of the water. Here they scraped and power sprayed all the gunk off the bottom of the boat. It took some time and required a complex three point turn so that the second hull to be washed was positioned near the ramp. During this time we were provided a ladder to get off the boat which we were grateful for. On land we met John from Sea Mist nearby and Tom and Kim from Emily Grace. All are here in the yard with us. I also ran into the owner of Endless who left the marina last week. He had had a hell of a time getting out as he also had crud on his props. I’m glad I cleaned ours (despite how disgusting it was) as we may not have made it against the wind if we had not.

It was past five by the time we were finally placed in position in our assigned place in the yard and the boat chocked up for support.

We ate dinner aboard the boat but I had to lug the washing up to the communal area. When I’d finished that, John, from Sea Mist, gave me a ride into town so I could collect our car.

We have water connected and we have a couple of our wastes connected via hoses to 10 gallon drums but we have to be careful about our usage. We also have to be careful about our electrical usage aboard. The weather is not good so we’re not getting much sunshine for the solar panels. The wind gen is helping but with the fridge running and our using our laptops we’re using more than we can make. We’ve decided to run like this while we can before transferring the contents of our fridge to the communal fridge. Without that running we’ll run a net surplus. If we’re stuck here for a while we’ll alternate back and forth every few days.

This morning the works manager, Peter, has already been around to discuss work to be done to the boat. There’s not a lot that can be done due to the wind and rain. However, they can sand down the hulls under the bridge deck and if they get lucky they may be able to do more. We’re going to go through our work list in a little more detail later today and discuss what Helen and I can accomplish over the weekend when/if the weather improves.

In theory we could do a lot of the work we’re having the yard do. Given that one day I know I’ll go back to work I’d rather pay people to do the grunt work and get us back in the water much sooner than we could ever manage. That may give us a little time in the islands of the north shore before we leave for Fiji.