Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Electrical awesomeness

It's been ages since I've posted anything - I'm sorry! After we got the boat home we were really busy for a while getting lots of work done, mostly on the engine. Then it kind of died down for a while because we got engaged! Which is very exciting.

The obligatory ring picture
Garth took me out to a lovely restaurant for dinner about 2 months ago and then afterwards we went for a walk along the waterfront to look at the lights on the harbour, which are really beautiful. Then the cheeky monkey pulled out a box of chocolates with a ring inside and proposed to me very awkwardly, which is exactly how i'd want him to do it. One thing he said that was really sweet and not at all awkward was in response to me asking him why he didn't take me out sailing and propose on the boat. He said it was because he wanted to propose just to me and not to our trip or to the boat, which was just cheesy enough to be beautiful.

So boat planning has been coming second to wedding planning lately, and it's ski season so we haven't actively been thinking about it much at all. But we have taken her out quite a few times with our friends, and have had a lot of help from friends trying to sort out the wiring, which will probably have to be completely redone (even though when we bought it, it was supposed to have new wiring). It might be new, but it's not very logical. We spent an entire night a while ago trying to figure out which lights were broken and which ones were just labelled wrong - they are now all labelled correctly, if not working correctly.

Dale being amazing with me on the boom
The fabulous Dale and Craig have put a lot of time into doing exciting things with the lights and the batteries and anything else electrical I'd ever be able to fault. If the boat crashes and we sink to a watery grave, it is not going to be because of an electrical fault, and our lights will be shining brightly under the water. They have found way brighter and more economical lights for the cabin, the nav station, the reading lamps and the mast. So we won't be stumbling around in dim lighting any more, and we'll have a better system with red lights for night vision. The compass light is also being replaced and everything onboard is going to be way more pleasant.

Dale doing Titanic in front of our giant dinghy
We're also doing lots of stuff with the rigging, making it easier and more functional. At the moment we've got our giant dinghy at the front of the boat which is making life really difficult. When we need to do anything in a hurry it becomes dangerous - its hard to reach the cleats to tie on when we're mooring, and david went flying across it when he and Mike needed to reef in a hurry.

We can't anchor easily either, making it a giant mission to actually take the boat out for anything but a spin - the dinghy lives over the anchor compartment. It's also in the way of my favourite dolphin viewing area.

So we were going to do something very cool we saw on a boat in Gisborne - make the forestay detachable, put a hole with a closing valve in the dinghy and move it back so the forestay goes through the dinghy. Brilliant!

But it turns out our forestay might not be strong enough to handle being detachable, and we need to replace it to be safe. And if we're replacing it, Garth just wants to move it forward and turn the boat into a cutter with an extra sail, which is what he wanted all along - that was the only thing we wanted in a boat that Heartbeat didn't deliver. I'm not sure how I feel about it, because it will make cruising around harder because tacking becomes more of a mission. But I like the idea of leaving the sail off and having the option of using it if we want to. We haven't made a decision yet, and have been umming and ahhing about it for ages.

Either way the dinghy will be out of the way and I'll be able to anchor and look at dolphins again, so it doesn't really matter.

We've had a few nice sails around the harbour with friends, either stopping for lunch or setting out some food while we were still going. That's been really nice and it's been great sharing the boat with our close friends.

We're doing as much skiing and snow kiting as possible over the next month, then hopefully by summer we'll be all set up for a few trips to the sounds and around New Zealand!

I promise I'll update more when stuff starts happening again.
Love Monique and Garth xxx

Becca and Dale
Becca fixing the lazy jacks

Wellington Harbour

Full moon

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Delivery part 4

 (just realized I never hit publish on this one. Whoops!)

Sunday 7am

The wind died just as we got to the cape near Wellington
Remember how I was worried about being stuck drifting towards rocks with no engine and no wind? That's pretty much what we spent all last night and this morning doing. Except most of the time we've had an offshore wind, blowing us away from the rocks instead of into them. Unfortunately this is the only time I've ever been able to stand outside in Wellington and say there is honestly no wind. There's about 3 knots and we're almost moving backwards from the current. Our engine died again after we left Gisborne, but we've had lots of wind so it hasn't been a problem. Now it's a problem. We had about 6 - 10 knots for some of last night and were moving at about 3 knots until we got to the harbour entrance where we've been sitting ever since.

Floating around after the engine died just before sunset

I was dying to get on land again but it's actually been really pleasant. No rain, no big waves, no seasickness, just sleeping and chilling out with Garth when it was our watch. While we were drifting near the harbour entrance around 4am two dolphins joined us, which was really amazing. We didn't see them at first in the dark, but Garth noticed some irregular splashing so I went to investigate. There was phosphuresence in the water and it was amazing to watch them. They were circling us, darting from one side of the boat to the other. I think they were disappointed at the lack of bow wave to play in.

Every time they went under the water you could see a patch of glowing water darting around with a trail of sparklies following it. I never noticed how fast they move! In the daylight I always watch them playing, but I focus on the dolphin itself. It was brilliant staring into a sea of blackness watching this glowing section of water darting around. Phosphereserence looks different depending on where you are in the water - deeper down it looks like a glowing auora, whereas closer to the surface the water is all sparkly and pretty. Whenever the dolphins surfaced, they were covered in tiny glowing dots and there was a beautiful trail around their tail as it came towards the surface. We started moving a bit faster and they played under the bow for about 10 minutes, swapping sides and twirling around. They were really spectacular and I'm definitely glad we were out here an extra night to see them.

The two nights before that were horrible - I got really seasick after we left Gisborne when I came downstairs to sleep. I've decided downstairs is bad. I stayed in the cockpit the rest of the time curled under a blanket, feeling rotten. I can't believe how long I was knocked around for this time - I was really sick for at least 24 hours. I think stopping at Gisborne for a day might have reset my sea legs.

It rained all night and the sea was rough and there were no stars to steer to so it was harder to stay on course. I was on watch with Garth in the pouring rain for 5 hours before I got sick and it was not pleasant. The waves were 2 - 3 metres and I was soaked to the bone as we passed through a nasty cold front. The next day and night were pretty miserable as well, even after the rain let up. From downstairs it sounded like my poor boat was getting a beating - waves were smashing over the bow onto the cabin, it was violently tipping left and right as we sailed downwind and it kept trying to crash gybe.

I was asleep on the low side of the settee at one stage when we crash gybed - I woke up as I was launched into the air and went crashing down on the table. I didn't just roll out of bed, I was literally hurled into the air. That wasn't ideal.

I honestly thought we were in a crazy storm because the new sails flapping sound like claps of thunder. Then I felt stupid when I stuck my head out, because it was just normal NZ weather and David was having a blast in the waves. Downstairs makes me sick AND it's scary. Partly enclosing the cockpit has moved higher up on my priorities - then we can stay up in bad weather and not be miserable.

Yesterday the wind died and we flew with the kite for a while, which was fun. The sun was out, I was feeling better and it was a lovely way to end our trip. I'm shocked that this leg has been the easiest - cook strait is generally the worst part of Nz, but it was dead calm.

So now we just float here for a while, waiting for the wind...

Sunday 5pm

Sailing into the harbour with Wellington in the background
So we made it home. Just. One good thing about all this is that we got a lot of VHF practice and Garth and I got to do a lot on our own. When we were on watch we were going to sail into the harbour. We called up on the VHF and chatted to Wellington harbour radio, which is a lot less scary at 4am. They couldn't see our lights with their binoculars and the ferry radioed to say they couldn't see us either, so our lights are obviously still wrong. Garth climbed up the mast to find that the green light looks blue and the white light still comes on at the same time as our tricolour, so you can't see anything. We made the decision early on to do circles near the harbour entrance away from the shipping lane until the sun was up and the morning fog cleared. I'm very sure this was the right decision.

So after communicating back and forth with harbour radio I'm much more comfortable talking on the VHF now, though I did screw up a few times. He didn't seem to care.

When we could see and there were no ferries around we put up our giant kite (we had the small one up yesterday) and came into the harbour in style. Slowly, but in style. I didn't get a good picture because I was driving and flying the kite while Garth was lying over the side holding it out, but we looked awesome.

Kite is up!

Our plan was to get the dinghy going and tow Heartbeat into the marina. So we blew up the dinghy, launched it, dug out the engine and dug out the fuel. This took a long time. Then we spent ages hunting for the connecting cable for the fuel only to find it was missing a bit. So onto plan b. We called seaview marina asking for a tow and they were there in 15 minutes, tied up and bringing us in. I was so impressed by how lovely they were, the marina manager seems to be a really friendly guy. So we got tied up and they made us feel at home straight away. I had been dying to get ashore and then I didn't want to leave the boat! But I'm exhausted and looking forward to sleeping in a dry bed tonight, so it's for the best. Also I probably need a shower...

Love Monique

Heartbeat safely tied up at her new home