Written by David Townsend

20, April 2008

Position Location:
35 ° 18’746S 174 ° 07’540E

At anchor off the Opua Cruising Club, Opua, North Island, New Zealand, South Pacific Ocean.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update

Dancing with the wind, riding upon a wave, well okay, so we were not dancing more like being blown around the anchorage as 50kn winds blow offshore we have 38.7kn here off the Opua anchorage.

Life Onboard:
The week started off fixing a few laptops for other sailors, two had hardware conflicts to which I added a boot menu to work around the problem, one also had a sticking keyboard. This was stripped down, rebuilt and tested okay. My payment, a tasty a roast pork meal from the cruising club galley, accompanied with a few beers, back onboard relatively early, well before midnight.

As forecasted we had rain, rain, then more rain, in fact it rained for more than 28hrs without a break in the blanket of cloud covering Opua. Unfortunately accompanying this rain was a rather stiff breeze. During this period I maintained an anchor watch, sleeping every ten minutes or so, then check the situation, back to sleep etc. Due to the boats around us swinging rather close we weighed anchor and moved across about hundred metres, all seemed happy until at 04:25hrs I decided to once again re-anchor. This was due to another vessel getting rather too close. This time I decided to move well away from all the other vessels.
The main problem is a rather simple one, upon my arrival in New Zealand I asked a few local sailors what the anchor rode to depth ratio was here, all replied 8:1 or 10-1. Most visitors here do not, using only 4:1 or 6-1 ratio, so there are two problems, first they either drag their anchor or Pinta will have a larger area to pivot around due to the indifference.

The remainder of the week, mainly during the rain I worked on the website, now all past weekly updates since my arrival here in New Zealand are online.

Due to the amount of rain and our location I find it very economical to run the water maker once the rain has stopped, more so after a prolonged spell. The rain runs down from the land to the inlet where the anchorage is located. The fresh water sits above the salt water, if I run my water make during the scenario the water maker requires less energy to convert salt water to fresh water due to the dilution. Like many my water maker uses reverse osmosis; Reverse osmosis desalinisation was developed over two decades ago. The principle is simple; squeeze salt water through a semi-permeable membrane fine enough to remove salt and other minerals and contaminates. Unfortunately, the membrane must be so fine that the filtering process requires enormous pressure (typically 800psi) to push the fresh water through; developing that pressure requires a lot of energy, by running my water maker as I do, then, I am more energy efficient onboard.

Friday evening, we were invited to one of our friend’s home for a very nice meal including a rather tasty lemon meringue pie, for those who know me, I love puddings!. This was carefully accompanied by a Margarita, some wine, and ok a few beers.

The Boat:

A rather quieter week, work wise. A bracket was fitted to the Bimini to hold the Amateur radio H.F. antenna I would use as my emergency antenna until I fit a few insulators on the backstay, the top one, having broken down. A new backstay was purchased but not fitted yet as I am getting a new bridal plate made up, I decided to leave the insulators until another time for they are so expensive out here at $350 each. I will purchase some online and get them shipped out ready for me to fix then in Darwin around August 2008.

The self-steering adjustment arm was removed and an alternative arrangement made onboard, the reason being, the supplied arm requires me to lean over the stern, reach out and so make the adjustment. This I thought was a little dangerous, especially when there was a good sea running, one nice wave and I would be over the side. With the new arrangement I can adjust this from inside the cockpit. Also, the wheel which the self-steering unit attaches too, has been removed, rubbed down and will be repaired, repainted, refitted during the coming week.

During our last little sail I heard a ‘k-plop’ whilst lowering the main sail. This noise is a familiar one to most sailors, that of a rather expensive peace of plastic otherwise known as a batten flying out of its pocket with a few of visiting ‘Davey Jones’. The batten was the second one from the top, I sew my batten is so they cannot do this however this batten was a replacement one purchased in Antigua. I could not find a flat batten, instead a slightly oval one. This over time had taken its toll on the leach end of the pocket and worked its way through the sail. Fifteen minutes later, a replacement batten was in place and sewn in. I also sewed a patch over this end of the pocket to not only fix the damage to the sail but also to cover the batten into the pocket.

You may recall upon my arrival in Auckland I purchased a local LPG bottle for the will not fill UK bottles here. This was painted with a local version of Hammerite so to reduce the chance of it rusting before my return to the UK and the end of this current voyage.

Fair winds, calm seas.