Undressing A Capella of Belfast

Now we are safely in New Zealand (Whangarei) our plans for A Capella are to stay out of the water for the next few months while we, and the Norsands Boat Yard employees where we are now, undertake the necessary work for the long journey home. We, and all our cruising friends are finding that the wear and tear on the boats while doing this long distance sailing are considerable. We have now travelled over 20,000 miles since leaving Cherbourg in October 2017. New Zealand is well known for having excellent boat yards and workmanship and so we are taking the opportunity to make sure that A Capella will be in the best possible condition before we leave. It will probably take three years to sail home and unplanned repair stops in remote or non yachtie places are not much fun, and so we are doing all we can to avoid this.

We plan to do some visiting and travelling in the North Island before flying home in mid December for six weeks and then we will visit the South Island on our return. We will be in Northern Ireland over Christmas and the New Year, and Herefordshire in the first half of January where we have rented a holiday cottage near Bromyard to stay in from the 6th to the 17th. We do hope to catch up with our Herefordshire friends then. A Capella will be relaunched in March and we will do some sailing in New Zealand before heading north (location to be decided) to the warmth as it will be approaching into winter here, and our six month visitors’ allowance in New Zealand will be up.

We are now land based and the proud hirers of a car for 50 days before we fly home. Having not driven for so long, there was a brief novelty of “popping” to the shops, as opposed to walking, but this wore off quite quickly. Whangarei cannot be called a tourist destination and is quite industrial but for the time being that is just what we want. Julian is thrilled by the quality of the marine and engineering shops. There appears to be every conceivable type of engineering, metal working and widget making facility. Julian has offered that Donovans, just by our boat yard, is the “best ever” tool shop. Given the number of tool shops that Julian has visited he would know, so this is high praise. His only sadness is that Angus is not here to also enjoy. This is not doing so much for me, but I have purchased a very cheap polisher which I am delighted (if one can be delighted by polishing) with, and had my hair cut. Female cruisers are certainly not fashion victims but hair cutting is tricky. My last hair cuts have been in French (Tahiti) and Spanish (Panama.) Google translate is good, but this is a stretch.

Heading up to Norsands and Whangarei
Best ever tool shop!

Favourite marine shop
It seems everything engineering can be found here.

The weather for the first two weeks in Marsden Cove Marina was windy and very cold but since then we have seen the sun and it has been lovely. On the social front we were sad to say good bye to fellow yachts Bruno’s Girl and Zigzag, but had great suppers with them both. We said hello and goodbye to Greyhound who we last saw in Panama, and had an excellent supper on Larus who’s crew Tim and Nancy are staying in Whangarei. We travelled by car up to Opua to see Bill and Moira from Krabat, celebrate my birthday and benefit from Bill’s expertise/essential skill in mending the Torqeedo outboard.

Birthday lunch

We have mainly been hard at work sorting out the jobs that need doing, sourcing various supplies and “undressing” A Capella. Most of the work being done is servicing, rig checking and the like, but we are investing in a new freezer. This will be water cooled and therefore more energy efficient and also more accessible than the old one. We have just learnt that our generator will be replaced under warranty following the exhaust manifold failure and subsequent salt water damage that happened while crossing to the Marquesas.

Three sails packed away
Washing the ropes. Do we really need so many?
Checking the sails. Very different to doing this in the Galapagos

The boat has been hauled out at Norsands Boat Yard which is just up the river from Marsden Cove. This was done using a trailer and waiting for the tide to go out, as opposed to slings and a lift which we are used to, but it all seems to work very well. Since then the rudders, centre board, and propeller have come off in order to check and re do the bearings etc as necessary. I have polished and put on UV protection on the deck and canvass. Living on a boat out of the water is not much fun, and we are just about finished out jobs for now.

The trailer going in
High and dry
Centre Board out
UV protection on the canvass
Rudders off, anodes off, and propeller off

We have really missed some good walking so have been keen to try out the much heralded New Zealand tramps. These have really lived up to expectation and we have enjoyed the magnificent coast around Whangarei and done the Waipahu’s Coastal walkway, Busby to Smugglers Bay and the Whananaki walkway.

Looking towards Whangarei past the oil refinery. This reminds us of Milford Haven
Looking inland on The Whananaki Walkway

The fabulous New Zealand flax on the Waipu Coastal walkway

Whananaki walkway (Julian needs a haircut)