Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Summer Cruise Preparations

Here is the good ship Mariner being lifted out so that she can be waterblasted and placed in a safe cradle ready to have antifouling paint applied under the waterline. She will be out of water for the next few days and then its back in and off up the Northland coast to the Bay of Islands, a safe haven for day sailing and holidaying.

There are plenty of safe anchorages at night in the Bay Of Islands and plenty of yachts and boating activity taking place. It's a very busy place over the holiday period. The area caters for not only overseas visitors at this time but also a very big contingent of New Zealanders from Auckland and further afield.

The BOIs is a popular destination for Auckland and Whangarei yachts for the holiday period. There is always a huge fleet that comes up from Auckland every year during this Christmas and New Year period. The trip up the coast has a number of safe anchorages along the way that provide boltholes if the weather turns nasty. So high summer is upon us, the warm winds are blowing, the pohutakawas are in full bloom and my eyes are cast seaward towards the horizon and all that this promises. Bon Voyage Mariner and to all who will sail in her.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Never Underestimate a Bus Driver

Parua Bay Whangarei New Zealand - Photo Alden Smith - Note the new jetty, the old one was destroyed by a number of yachts that either broke free of their moorings or dragged their huge mooring blocks in the last big storm here in Northland NZ.

This nice looking double ended yacht in the foreground of the picture was recently launched here at Parua Bay which is about 15 Kilometres as the crow flies from Whangarei city.

The yacht was built by our school bus driver over a number of years. He is an experienced yachtsman who both designed and built the boat himself. Amateur yacht building is a bit of a tradition in New Zealand - its heyday was in the 1970s before the world went completely barmy, a time when people worked only 40 hours a week for a living wage and had time to indulge their passions and interests in building and creating. These days we are a society that seems to live to work rather than to work to live. More is better in all things is the clarion call to all this madness.

When the yacht was launched she was found to be out of trim - she was floating down at the bow. Unperturbed by this our bus driver took the boat out, took off the four or five tons of outside lead ballast and re - positioned it in the correct position after having the lead recast. " I thought the original calculations were correct" he said with a wry smile - "Was it a bit frustrating having to do all that extra work? " I asked him. "Not as much work as building the boat itself" he replied in a rather matter of fact way - bus drivers are like that, practical and down to earth - I have never been asked directions by a bus driver yet. They know what they're doing.