Classic Summer







As part of the preparations for our proposed Pacific circuit, our liferaft needed servicing. During of the sea-survival courses we have taken, we have actually clambered into a liferaft in the water clad in full oilies. This is an interesting and instructive experience and one which every offshore sailor should have, as it underlines the importance both of understanding your equipment and of fitness. It is actually quite difficult to get into a liferaft from the water and helping an injured person aboard is even harder and that is after you have righted the raft which has a 50% chance of inflating upside-down. Like most offshore sailors we had never actually seen our own raft and so made sure on this occasion that we were present for its unpacking and inflation. Now we only hope that we never need it.




Rainbow Ranger





We have never been much for classic yacht regattas and festivals. However, having been made very welcome by the Classic Yacht Association of NZ when we spoke at one of their gatherings, we decided to join in the weekend of the Mahurangi Regatta, at the end of January. Several classic yacht events are scheduled and there is traditionally an excellent turn-out, especially when the weather is as benign as that in 2010. We were guided by our friends Geoff and Jane, who have enjoyed many years of Mahurangi Regattas in their own boats.





Young Nick







Thelma Sapphire








To round off our experience of the Classics, we also took part in the breezy Auckland Anniversary Regatta, fortunately picking up extra crew, Steve Cranch (Chairman of the Classic YA), partner Megan, their crew Brett, along with our friend George Backus. We were then fortunate to get a ride on the beautiful old gaffer, Waitangi, where Tom got a rather different experience of foredeck work among the wooden cheeked blocks, heavy tackles and belaying pins.






Now that our long-time friend, David Shepherd has retired, we finally had an opportunity to partially repay some of the wonderful hospitality and kindness which he and Rose gave us during Vicky's hip operation and subsequent recuperation in the UK, back in 2005. Though they had already explored the South Island pretty extensively, we had the chance to show them a few of the sights near Auckland at Piha and the gannet colony at Muriwai Beach.


An amble through Devonport gave a glimpse of that child of Kiwi ingenuity, the 'walking bus'. Children on their way to school are collected along a route by two adults. The 'driver' at the front of the bus and the 'conductor' at the back and walked along the route to school. The children are appropriately supervised by parents on a rota and they get some healthy exercise, instead of being dropped off by car on a congested city street. We did also manage to get David out for a sail on 'Sunstone'.










It had been the best part of a year and half since our last haul-out, so we anticipated having a few things to do. We pulled a couple of keel bolts and as in the past there was a little corrosion on the forward one, though the other was pristine. We soon had a replacement made and packed it with the usual combination of linseed oil putty and heavy grease, which has served us well in the past. As usual a couple of splines required attention, and we refastened the loo inlet seacock. It all seemed very straight-forward until the last day when we checked the gland packing on the shaft and found that our 18 month old shaft was already badly corroded. There was nothing for it but to replace it, at the usual vast expense. We did also decide to have our prop coated with 'Prop Speed', which has since proved to be amazingly effective in keeping marine growth of all kinds at bay.













We had no realistic expectation of learning to speak Japanese properly in preparation for our trip to the country. However, we did want at least a few basic phrases and some familiarity with the sign systems. Our tutor was Maia, who teaches at Mount Albert Grammar. She did an excellent job with us and was both cheerful and patient as our aged brains grappled with the difficulties of the language. To top it off she also taught us how to make sushi and gave us an opportunity to practice eating it as well!






With the Louis Vuitton Cup bringing international sailors to Auckland we had hoped there might be some chance of organising a New Zealand RORC dinner. Eddie Warden Owen gave his blessing from London and we set about trying to raise some interest. Unfortunately there were only two responses, though both were enthusiastic. In the end it was more appropriate to have drinks on 'Sunstone', which gave as a chance to share happy memories of English Channel racing with Neil Spencer and Andrew Beavis.










With the Louis Vuitton in town there was also a chance to see some of the closely fought Americas Cup style racing, especially since the courses were intentionally sited where spectators could watch from nearby North Head. From there Vicky also caught the spectacle of an AC yacht dwarfed not merely by a container ship but by a truly enormous yacht of similar size.










Our summer of preparing for a long cruise our friend Wayne here supervising as Tom replaces the forestay was interspersed with pleasant social interludes. One of these was the long Easter weekend jaunt up to Kawau for tea with the Pardeys and then on to Great Barrier for the first New Zealand meet of the Royal Cruising Club (RCC). This also gave us the chance to give Andy O'Grady a lift to the meet. Andy has done many miles of cruising and contributed extensively to the information available to cruisers through the RCC Pilotage Foundation.





Also at Kawau we had the chance to celebrate with Geoff and Jane their purchase of a new and bigger boat, one in which they hope in due course to make their 'bid for freedom'. 'Renown' is a Lidgard 42 and looks just the right sort of boat for them to explore the world.







The Easter weekend was rounded off by the RCC meet of seven boats. Tim and Ginny LeCouteur pulled us all together, while 'Sea Rover' was the venue for drinks and 'Duet II' managed somehow to accommodate 18 for dinner in palatial splendour.