Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Classic Yachting - New Zealand Style

Auckland New Zealand

I headed down to Auckland on Friday night for a bit of a fun weekend in the city. Steve and Trish were kind enough to offer me Curious so I headed down after work and got myself settled in. Toby & Ayla were coming down as well to have dinner with Clive and his wife (can't remember her name) who are about to leave their job aboard Beagle V and move back to Camden Maine for a while. We met Clive in the Tuamotu's and again in Tahiti and they were kind enough to have me over for the BBQ as well.

Saturday morning I met up with Tony Blake, Sir Peter Blake's brother who Sharon had gotten me in touch with. Tony runs Thelma, a 59' 1893 Gaff Rigged Sloop which was restored by a trust a few years ago and is an amazing bit of maritime history. We had a crew of 13 for Saturday and would need every hand as it was quite windy....too windy in fact for the topsail. I got placed on the foredeck crew and effectively became bowman. Steven ran the foredeck crew and was very pleased to have some young strong blood who also knew what he was doing. This is quite the boat to muscle around a course. There are NO Winches so everything is pulled in by hand. Halyards are bad enough, but you only do them once, so no big deal really. The absolute killer is the foresails which have to be pulled in with just 2:1 purchase by hand. It took all 4-5 available men to pull the jib in, then we would move to the staysail, and then to the jib fines to get the jib in all the way after each and every tack. Meanwhile, you are half in the water and soaked to the bone. My hands were on fire and my arms were jello by the end of the day, not to mention my knees, abbs, back, etc. Luckily it was a simple course and we had just one spinnaker set and the douse was after the finish.

Sunday was much calmer but we had just 10 aboard and the course was such that we had 3 sets and 2 douses on the course. We went into the downwind legs in 3rd and 25 minutes/3 sets & 2 douses plus one spinnaker repair later when I finally had 30 seconds free time to look around we were in front. All my time on Rumours really paid off as I was able to show them faster ways to douse the kite and got the lines set up each time for an outside jibe without issue. I was completely knackered at this point, picked up some fresh tuna and salmon for sushi, showered and cleaned up Curious, before driving back to Gulf Harbour to make a quick dinner and crash for the night.

A fabulous, though painful weekend aboard a beautiful classic yacht.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Gram, glad you're having some fun while you're working on the boat. A weekend or two like that, and you'll be plugged right into the racing scene in NZ. *envious*