Johanna and I had an uneventful trip back to Visions of Johanna, Gram, and Zak. It has been a busy five days of unpacking and storing the gear we brought with us, but we were still away from the marina in 24 hours..
Today is January 1, New Years Day in New Zealand, and we are anchored outside Coromandel Town, on the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is a resort area and is replete with charming towns, walking trails, and trendy shops. We spent time in this area last year and thus returned with critical knowledge such as where to bring in the dinghy, how far was town, and where to find a great smoked fish market.
We enjoyed New Years eve with Gram's friend Carmel, and her family - who just happened to be vacationing here. Now, isn't that a coincidence! We had a wonderful time with them and ushered in the new year with Kiwi sparkling wines and a four hour fest of foods. True to Visions of Johanna style of always being prepared, we made sure we would be ready for the new year by "forcing" ourselves to bunk down early - which really was not that hard.
While the sun was shining with cockpit hor's douvres last evening, it is once again cloudy and wet this morning. In fact, and unfortunately, weather has been rather rainy and windy since we arrived. Last year we had an abundance of sunshine, but this year weather is simply raunchy. We have had a couple rough and short sails, and squeezed in a nice dry day on Waihiki Island. We went out for a fine lunch at Mud Brick Vineyard, and wine tasting at Cable Bay. There was a good amount of walking and scenery to enjoy each way.
The only good news about the weather is that 25 knots gusting to 35 upwind and in your face makes for some great shake-down cruising, and we need to test all systems hard before considering departure to Fiordland. So far, three items have caught our attention. There was an amalgamation of halyards as a spinnaker halyard passed through through the staysail furler aloft. This created a bit of excitement as the staysail was raised in a "bit of a breeze" as they say here in NZ, but a problem that is easy to fix. The mainsail provided excitement to accompany the staysail. Previously, as Forespar perfected materials and construction, we had a few episodes of the sail "escaping" from the luff track in the mast. While we crossed the pacific without difficulties, this happened once again as we tightened the halyard at the third reef point. Inspection discovered chafed fabric at the top of the headboard luff tape, which likely folded back on itself and jammed - I do not really know when the chafe occurred - but fortunately we had a spare headboard made to proper specs, and switched it out. The headboard is a leading piece that steers the luff tape up the mast via a stiff covered rod inserting into a mast receptacle. Well, you can imagine the slang term that the sailmakers call it, and you can also imagine Johanna's face when I told her the situation, and that I was not sailing to Fiordland with out a spare one! It got sort of a chuckle. Sort of.
Finally,we needed to charge batteries and turned the genset on, just prior to last night's gathering. True to boatdom, the genset shut down moments later and we spent a feverish and precious 45 pre-party minutes localizing the problem. There was water visible, and it turns out the rubber" boot elbow" that brings cooling sea water into the heat exchanger split and sprayed water all about. Fortunately our stocking clerk procured a spare from the supply room. Another weak point was uncovered. I am not sure however, why this was not replaced in the rebuild. This will be discussed.
Overall, however, we seem to be in great shape. New engine room came together beautifully, and new systems - water-maker, refrigeration, electrical and charging - all flawless, All in all, I foresee great improvements in systems and engineering; we have created.an even leaner and meaner cruising machine(a). Really nice!
And, on that cheery and positive note, the crew of Visions of Johanna, and Carmel, wish all a healthy and happy 2012.
We will stay in touch.